By Dr. Mark Creech, executive director
Christian Action League
After listening to well-known Bible teacher, Chuck Swindoll on the radio, eight-year-old Debbie asked six-year-old David, “Do you know about Jesus?”
Expecting a new slant on the old story, David replied, “No.”
Sister continued, “Sit because this is really scary.” After explaining the gospel as only an 8-year-old could, she popped the question.
“Now David, when you die, do you want to go to heaven to be with Jesus, God, your Mommy and Daddy and big sister, or do you want to go to the lake of fire to be with the Devil and bank robbers?”
David thought a moment, and then replied, “I want to stay right here.”
I believe a lot of adults think like David. Their feet are so firmly planted in this world; they would prefer not to take up any considerations of death or the hereafter. They like things just the way they are.
But the Bible warns, “It is appointed for people to die once – and after this, judgment” (Heb.9:27). In other words, a wise person lives in the light of the inevitability of their demise and a day appointed when God will call for an accounting. Few considerations have such a powerful way of bringing clarity to life.
D.L. Moody once said that if he could succeed in getting a man to think about his soul and his eternal destiny for just five minutes, he was certain he could lead him to Christ. But that’s the point, isn’t it? People have a natural aversion to the question – some even to the point of extremes.
Still, the fact remains – death is coming for each of us and after death comes judgment.
The good news, however, is that God’s judgment is preceded by his mercy. And, in Jesus Christ, both God’s judgment and mercy meet. This is to say that in Christ, God reconciled the world to himself by placing his judgment for sin on Christ at the cross. Christ’s suffering and shed blood atoned for every sin – no matter how heinous. Now God reaches out to everyone in loving mercy.
Have you been saved? Have you trusted Christ and had your sins forgiven? If not, then you will be judged for them. You can either believe in Christ, knowing that all your sins were judged on him at Calvary. Or, you can reject him and suffer your own judgment.
But be forewarned, you cannot atone for your sins yourself. Neither can you do enough good works to make up for them. Titus 3:4-5 read, “But when the goodness and love for man appeared from God our Savior, He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” It’s a difficult concept for many. Nevertheless, the Bible teaches that to a Holy God any attempts to save ourselves by our own good works are like the filthy bandages lepers used in biblical times to cover their rancid sores (Isaiah 64:6). It’s just a band aid solution that doesn’t deal with the real problem – the disease of sin and the consequential wounds of the spirit. Therefore, our only hope is God’s grace, his kindness, his sympathy, his clemency, his spiritual healing, which is offered in Christ.
Abraham Kuyper once wrote, “In the valley of the shadow of death, the great highway divides itself. One road leads upward into eternal life and the other downward into eternal death, and Jesus Christ makes the difference.” Indeed he does. Because Christ died for our sins, because his suffering and death at the cross was in the place of our judgment, “no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
No person who has trusted in Christ and his work of redemption need fear death or judgment.
What about you? Isn’t it time to stop and think about your eternal destiny? What possible good reason would you delay settling the matter with God?
Like little David, you may “want to stay right here.” You may not want to consider the question. You may like things just the way they are. Yet, a decision must be made. And, even the decision not to make any decision is a decision that God will interpret as a, “No.”
Say “Yes” to Jesus.