One of the greatest realities which bears upon each of our situations is the fact that we are not going to be in this world forever. Evidence of this fact surrounds us whether it be in our families, in the news or in the graveyard. And yet, notwithstanding the continual reminders of our own mortality,so many people pay no attention to making preparations for the day when they pass out off this scene. So let us seek to rectify this by looking at some ways in which we should prepare for the day of our departure.
Where will I go after I die?
Here is the point where all the issues of religion focus. We can discuss so many things and yet when all is said and done we return to this very basic issue of what is going to happen to each individual upon passing beyond the grave. In this context point-scoring about various religious matters is an utter irrelevance. Rather, we need to know the truth pure and simple; we want no deceptions at all.
Let us look at the truth of God in the Bible and see what He says. Very straight-forwardly, God says that Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgement (Heb 9:27). We learn therefore straight away that there is a something after death for a man to face; death is not the end; there is judgment to face!
But what after this judgment? The Bible makes it clear that the judgment is followed by either a life in heaven for some or and eternity in hell for some. Those who die in their sins without ever repenting of their sinful condition will be in a similar state to the rich man in Luke 16 of whom it is recorded in vv 23-24 that In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
However, what a contrast there is for those who repent of their sins and trust the Saviour, the LORD Jesus. Those who have turned to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21a) will enjoy the fulfilment of the Psalmist’s desires in Psalm 16 that you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (v11b). And above all they will be, as the hymn says, “Praising their Saviour all the day long” and proclaiming with the heavenly host “praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!”.
How marvellous it is to be a Christian and to know of these wonderful things which are ahead! In fact for the believer death has lost its power and so with the apostle Paul we can cry: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor.15:55-57). We have the victory in Him and so for the Christian there is nothing to fear from death or Hades. The contest is over the Victor who is our Saviour has triumphed through His death, burial and resurrection and through that we are blessed.
Judgment for the Christian.
However there is a judgment for the Christian to face. 2 Cor.5:10 refers to this when Paul says “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due to us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Believers have had their sins all forgiven in the cross of the LORD Jesus and they will never have to face judgment for these. However, they will have to face judgment for how they have lived as Christians.
Four passages deal with this judgment:-
- Rom.14:10-12 teaches us that each will stand before the LORD as an individual.
- 1 Cor.3:10-15 indicates that we will be judged for what we have built into the local church.
- 1 Cor.4:1-5 shows that we will be judged by the LORD for how faithful we have been to the stewardship He has committed to us.
- 2 Cor.5:9-11 Indicates we will be judged for how much pleasure we have brought to the LORD.
So let us as Christians prepare for that day now so that we will hear our Master say “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge over many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
Moreover, we should remember that our LORD may return at any time to take His people home to heaven and death will be swallowed up in His victory (see 1 Cor.15:54). What marvellous prospects there are in store for the believer in Christ!
(Taken from Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter February 2004)