24 Question 4

These are two totally different things.  Euthanasia involves ending the life of someone who is terminally ill or possibly incapacitated to an extreme state.  A living will usually involves a medical procedure that will sustain life, or the refusal to use such a medical procedure.  As I said, these are very different.

Let me say that I can certainly sympathize with someone who has a terminal disease or condition.  When loved ones suffer with no chance of a recovery, it is very hard to see them in this state and not want to help them end their sufferings.  While I can sympathize, I cannot find any scriptural authority to end someone’s life.  To do so would be murder.  Exodus 20:13 is very emphatic.  It says, “Thou shalt not kill.”  In the NIV translation, Exodus 20:13 is more properly translated, “You shall not murder.”  Taking a life is the Lord’s prerogative.  He creates life and only he can justly take it away.  In learning of the death of his sons and daughters, Job said this in Job 1:21, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”  Job realized the authority the Lord has to end a life, since he had given the life in the first place.  No one else, no matter the situation, has that authority.

On the other hand, there is nothing in the Word of God to prohibit the natural end of life.  To remove someone from a life-support machine does not end his life, it simply allows life to end.  In my work as a Hospice patient volunteer, most of the patients have signed a DNR.  That stands for Do Not Resuscitate.  In other words, if the patient loses consciousness and death is imminent, then no lifesaving procedures are performed.  Death is allowed to naturally take the patient.  Even this decision can be very difficult to make.  To allow a loved one to die without trying to prolong their life can be heart wrenching.  For this, we need the leading of the Lord to show us what should be done.

Of course, if one is dying but has not accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior, death can never be a good thing.  If you have a loved one that is facing death, please take the time to share the good news of salvation with them.  I have known men and women that have accepted the Lord at the last stages of their lives, so don’t give up and think that the Gospel will do them no good.  However, I met with a man on his death bed who knew he would die at any time.  As I went over his need of salvation with him, he would weep and say that he knew he needed to be saved.  Then he told me that he was just not ready yet.  As far as I know, he passed away in that lost condition.  That’s why it is so important to speak to your loved one about the Lord Jesus Christ today.  Tomorrow may indeed be too late.  Listen to the words of Joshua in Joshua 24:15, “…choose you this day whom ye will serve…”  (24.4)