I often ponder why we do not think about our only two choices once we leave this earthly vessel.
- Is it we are too busy?
- We just don’t care?
- Is it too frightening?
- We simply think I live a “good” life surely that counts for something?
I can only speak for myself as to why I never thought of my eternal destination and it was because I was “living my best life now” and didn’t care about what would happen once I died. I would just figure it out when I got closer to it all. Or perhaps I would just implode into “nothing” and that is a very comforting delusion to tell ourselves, as is the delusion of some place in between for a second chance or “working” it off before heaven somehow. I can say now, as I continue on this pilgrimage through the world, that God is much less concerned about us “living our best life now, or being the best versions of ourselves” things I hear both from the secular world and those saying such in the Name of Christ, or under the guise of Christianity.
The above very popular clichés are just that, clichés, they still focus on self, (me, me, me, me) which is the very antithesis of the message of the Cross of Jesus. In Luke 9:23 Jesus says “If anyone desires to follow Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
This putting off coming to the Lord is not unique to me. Jesus spoke of this very issue explicitly and quite clearly in The Gospel of Matthew chapter 8-9 (including many other places and examples in the Word of God). In Matthew chapter 8 we see our human condition of wanting what we want, how we want it, and at the same time wanting the “benefits” of heaven. In this chapter and leading up to it Jesus had already healed people and people were marveled at His teaching and the multitudes followed Him.
Only a handful were actually following Him in THE Way He is to be followed. Most were simply following Him for “what they could get out of it” versus truly understanding their spiritual condition and the need to know Him. Jesus says something in Matthew 8:22 that seems so cruel at first glance. (But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”) Jesus responded to a man who seemed to want to follow Him, BUT…the man had things to do first. We all make excuses, plan our lives and when we are ready then we might choose Him.
Most of the time, we choose a version of “jesus” that fits our life, our way, our traditions, our culture, a version that is comfortable. “A jesus” on our own terms, in which we can still control how we do things; but these different versions of Jesus Christ sadly will not save your soul. The Scriptures tell us this very thing that we will (and do) happily accept another jesus, another spirit and another gospel. 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” If a false christ, a false gospel were not possible, scripture wouldn’t warn over and over and over again that it is in fact so. Jesus wouldn’t emphatically warn to take care you are not deceived if deception were not so.
As a nurse working in an emergency room I see people die every day. At one time I would find some odd coping mechanism to deal with seeing death on a regular basis. Now, when I see a dead body rolling to the hospital morgue I am overwhelmed with utter despair and grief. That despair and grief is not for the family of the loved one they just lost, rather for the one that is dead, and I ruminate and cry to the Lord in tears with only one cry…Lord did they KNOW You? Did they know Jesus Christ of Nazareth or did they follow another jesus, another spirit, another gospel?
That question that takes my breath away in my spirit is overwhelming. It is overwhelming because of the reality of such a question. We will spend more time picking out what we are going to wear for the day, what meal we are going to cook one evening, what things need to be done around the house, or when we need our hair done next than we do our very real eternities.
“But I am a good person”
According to whom?
Perhaps you think that God is good, and will therefore overlook your sins. But it is His goodness, that will make sure that murderers, rapists, adulterers, thieves, blasphemers, liars, etc. receive justice. He would be a corrupt Judge if He turned a blind eye to injustice.
If a convicted murderer were standing in a courtroom before a judge, and the judge just simply let him go free, no jail time, no probation, no fines…. just free, we would have a meltdown because “justice wasn’t served” ….The reality is… we are all murderers, rapists, thieves, adulterers, liars, blasphemers etc. Nothing but Christs sacrifice can acquit us of our guilty verdict before a holy God.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Our lives are but a vapor that appears for a short time and then vanishes away.
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–So we are made right (justified) with God through faith and not by obeying the law. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.
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