What kind of legacy do you want to leave when you die? If you knew that today was the last day of your life, what would you do? Are you prepared to spend eternity with God? There are times when we need to stop and look at our lives, what we are doing and whether or not it’s worth the time and effort. We need to decide if our lives have any sense of accomplishment or purpose.
A police officer stopped a driver for going 25 kilometres over the speed limit. After he received the ticket, the driver asked the officer “Don’t you give out warnings?” “Yes, sir,” the officer replied. “They’re all up and down the road. They say, ’Speed Limit 100.’
There are some people who have rejected God all of their lives and refused to accept his forgiveness for their sins. When they stand before God when they die, they will have to give an account of their lives just like the rest of us. When they receive their judgment, they will probably say the same thing as the driver did: “Don’t you give out warnings?”
God will probably reply, “Yes I do. The Bible is full of warnings to prepare for eternity. Every year you were reminded of my offer of forgiveness and eternal life at both Christmas and Easter. I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” Because they refused God’s offer of forgiveness and salvation, they will have to pay the penalty for their own sins.
Those who believe in God and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour have their names written in God’s Book of Life. They will still have to stand before God in judgment, but instead of being judged for their sins they will be judged on the basis on how they served God here on earth and be rewarded accordingly.
One way we can serve God is to meet the spiritual needs of other people. For example, Rev. Billy Graham’s father-in-law, Dr. Nelson Bell, was a medical missionary to China. He built a 300 bed hospital in the community where he lived. Because of his skill many of his patients were cured, but eventually they died. He knew that it wasn’t enough to meet their physical needs, so every patient who was mobile was required to attend chapel every day in the hospital where they were given a Bible lesson and presented with the Gospel. Those who weren’t mobile were visited by someone who would share Christ with them. Consequently, thousands of Chinese men and women received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour at that hospital.
There is nothing we as humans can do to win our salvation. Not even church membership can win our salvation for us. Only Christ can save us, and our hope and trust must be in him alone. He became the sacrifice we need for our sins, and only he can give us hope for eternal life because of his resurrection. Just has humans die only once and after that they are judged, Christ sacrificed himself once to bear all of our sins and will return to save those who are waiting on him for salvation.
The eternal heavens are realities because they are God’s dwelling place. They are truer than earthly copies. In a similar way, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross because of the single offering of himself is sufficient for all his followers for all time. It was superior to the Old Testament sacrifices because the Old Testament sacrifices had to be repeated, and the high priest had to atone for his own sins as well as the sins of the people. Christ was sinless, so he did not have to atone for his own sins. He died once as an offering for all our sins, and he will return to judge the world and save his followers. Each of us has a single life before eternal judgment, so there will be no “second chances” after death.
The copies of the things in heaven were the tabernacle, the laws and the Old Testament rituals. They were only pictures of Christ’s sacrifice. That the heavenly things needed to be purified doesn’t suggest any defilement in heaven, but they represent the complete cleansing brought about by Jesus’ death. This inaugurated heaven itself as the new holy place and Christ as the new and final high priest.
“Presence” actually means “face.” Jesus has entered into the holy places on our behalf and represents us as our mediator, advocate and attorney before God. Because Christ’s sacrifice to put away sin once was sufficient, it doesn’t have to be repeated, unlike Old Testament sacrifices. For this reason, Communion services today do not repeat Christ’s death but celebrate his once-for-all sacrifice.
Christ’s ministry has three tenses:
- Past: His First Advent to save us from the penalty of sin.
- Present: He is in heaven to save us from the power of sin.
- Future: His Second Advent to deliver us from the presence of sin. It will be confirmation that God has been fully satisfied with Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. At that point salvation will be consummated.
God is a God of infinite holiness who can’t stand sin. No sinner can survive in his presence. He is also a God of infinite justice, so all sin must be punished according to his standard of holiness and perfection. His justice calls for death, and if we don’t accept Christ as our Saviour that death will be spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God in hell. God is also a God of love. That’s why he sent Jesus to die on the cross 2,000 years ago in our place to meet the demands of God’s justice so that we can be forgiven of our sins and receive his gift of eternal life.
When Christ first came, he came because of humanity’s sin. When he returns, he won’t atone for sin. Instead, he will complete salvation for his people. We need to be prepared for life after death. We must endeavor to live our lives in such a way that when we stand before God and give an account of how we have lived our lives, God will say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we have the evidence to stand boldly before God in prayer, and we can go boldly into the world to serve others and be witnesses to God’s love.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013)
- ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.
- Evans, L.F. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 33: Hebrews (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1985)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, NASV (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Lucado, M: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2010)
- Ricard Inness, “Know God.” Retrieved from www.actsweb.org
- Ricard Inness, “How to be Sure you’re going to Heaven.” Retrieved from www.actsweb.org
- Ricard Inness, “Ignoring the Warnings.” Retrieved from www.actsweb.org
- Ricard Inness, “God’s Judgment Throne.” Retrieved from www.actsweb.org
- Anne Graham Lotz, ”Physical & Spiritual Needs.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Billy Graham, “If I’m Not a Church Member, Will I Be Kept Out of Heaven?” Retrieved from www.arcamax.com
- Dr. Harold Sala, “If Only You Knew.” Retrieved from www.guidelines.org
- Lee Ann Dunlap, “Dots on a Screen.” Retrieved from www.esermons.com