Let’s look at the ‘dying words’ of some well-known people who were not saved.

  • Aristotle, the great philosopher, in the face of death proclaimed, “I was born in sin. I have lived unhappily. I die in doubt. Cause of causes pity me.”
  • Jay Gould, a millionaire, when dying he is reported to have said, “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”
  • Thomas Hobbes, a notable English atheist said, “I am taking a fearful leap into the dark!”

Now let us look at the ‘dying words’ of some well-known people who were known to be saved.

  • Dwight L. Moody said, “This is glorious! Earth recedes; heaven is opening; God is calling me!”
  • Augustus Toplady, author of the hymn “Rock of Ages” said, “I enjoy heaven already in my soul. My prayers are all converted into praises.”
  • John Knox, the noted Scottish theologian said, “”Live in Christ, die in Christ, and the flesh need not fear death.”

Although the term, ‘dying grace’ is not found in the Bible, it is certainly exhibited in the words of these famous believers, and in the many believers who pass into glory every day.  There is an uncanny calmness that can be see in believers as they face the eminent reality of death.  King David wrote in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  David lived with the reality that death could be just moments away.  Yet, he was not afraid.  He realized the constant presence of the Lord to sustain and comfort him.

In Acts 6:8-7:60, we have the final sermon and martyrdom of Stephen, the first martyr of the church age.  As he faithfully preached the truth of God’s Word, it provoked the anger of the unbelievers who heard him.  We are told that, “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.” (Acts 7:54).  Stephen then was allowed to see inside Heaven and to see the Lord.  When he told those around him of this, “Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. (Verses 57-58).  This tremendous act of ‘dying grace’ from the Lord to Stephen allowed him to die praising the Lord and praying for his enemies.  We read in verses 59-60, “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

Is Stephen’s experience unique to him?  I don’t think so.  The Lord has promised his continuing presence to us in Hebrews 13:5 where we read, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” He said to His disciples in Matthew 28:20, “…lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Psalm 116:15 tells us, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”  A 19th century writer once wrote concerning this verse, “The Lord watches over their dying beds, smooths their pillows, sustains their heart, and receives their souls.”  This is dying grace!  Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord gives us the grace to live…and He gives us the grace to die!  (452.2)