Tomorrow you will carry out the plans
you made today. Or will you? You make plans as if there will be a
tomorrow to accomplish them, but one day tomorrow will not come. You will
die. You will leave behind an unfinished “to do” list. As the Psalmist
wrote, “What man can live and not see death?” (Ps 89:48) A cemetery spot
awaits you and I as all who have gone before us.
James spoke of the folly of
making certain plans for an uncertain life. He wrote, “Come now, you who
say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city and spend a
year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know
what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears
for a little while and then vanishes away. Indeed, you ought to say, ‘If
the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” (Js 4:13-15)
You plan for life, which is uncertain.
But, do you plan for death, which is certain? After you die, what then?
YOUR LIFE WILL GO ON
Job, thousands of years
ago, asked a question relevant to you in the 21st century, “If
a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14) Jesus answered the question
of Job, “Yes!”
Jesus debated the Sadducees, a Jewish sect
who did not believe
in life beyond the grave. The Lord quoted from the Scripture that
recounts God speaking to Moses at the burning bush. God said to Moses, “I
am the God of Abraham, and the God
of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” At
the time that God spoke to Moses; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been dead
for many years. Yet, God said “I am their God”, not “I was
their God”. So, Jesus stated the obvious implication of the passage, “He
is not the God of the dead but of the living.” Though Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob were not living on the earth, they were still living. (Mt 22:23-33)
According to Jesus, man is
made up of both body and soul. After the body dies, the soul lives on.
He warned His disciples not to be afraid of men who could only kill the
body, but to be afraid of God, “who is able to destroy both soul and body
in hell” Mt 10:28). After your body dies, where will your soul live?
In His story of the rich
man and Lazarus, Jesus gave us a glimpse of precisely what life is like
immediately after death (Lk 16:19-31). He called the name of the place
where both men went “Hades” (vs. 23). Hades, according to Jesus, is
divided into two sections, a place where the righteous are comforted and a
place where the wicked are tormented. A great gulf is fixed so that the
wicked cannot go to the place of comfort and the righteous cannot go to
the place of torment (vs. 26). When a man dies, his destiny is fixed.
are you living? If you died today, in what section of Hades would you
YOU WILL BE RAISED AND JUDGED
Jesus is coming to judge
“the living and the dead” (2 Tim 4:1). If you die before His return, you
and all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and will come out (Jn 5:28). In this resurrection, you and all the souls of those in Hades will
be given new, changed, imperishable bodies. (1 Cor 15:52). In the same
twinkling of an eye, the bodies of the living will become imperishable as
well (1 Cor 15:51-53). You, along with all men, will stand before the
judgment seat of Christ. He will judge you by comparing what you have
done in your earthly body with His gospel (2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:12-13; Rom
Those who have been raised
from the dead (as well as those living at Jesus’ return) will be given
either the sentence of eternal life or eternal condemnation (Jn 5:29; Mt
25:46). For the righteous who died, the comfort they received in Hades
will have been the appetizer before the main course of heaven (1 Pet
1:3-4). But, for the wicked who died, the torment they received in Hades
will have been like the punishment in the county jail before sentencing,
now to be continued at the state prison of hell. But, the sentence of
hell will never be suspended by clemency or parole, nor can it ever be
served, for it is described as “the unquenchable fire” (Mk 9:43-48).
Which sentence do you expect to receive?
LIVING IN VIEW OF THE BOTTOM LINE?
Imagine yourself stretched
out in a casket at the funeral home, as you will be, unless the Lord comes
first. What will those who grieve be talking about?
Perhaps your family will be
telling how wonderful you were as a grandfather/grandmother,
father/mother, son/daughter, brother/sister, etc. Perhaps your
fellow-workers will be praising your work and the kindnesses you show to
them over the years. Perhaps your neighbors will be reminiscing about all
the good works you did for them and others. Perhaps your friends will be
speaking about why you were so special to them. Perhaps all will be
marveling at the material prosperity you had or will be discussing the
long life you were fortunate to live.
But, at your death, only
one topic of conversation really matters, “How did you live in respect to
the gospel of Christ?” and therefore, “Where will you live on?” and
“Following judg-ment, where will you live for eternity?”. These questions
will be decided not by those who attend your funeral- not even by the
preacher- but by Jesus Himself.
Are you living in view of
life’s bottom line? You plan for life, which is uncertain. But, do you
plan for death, which is certain? Are you getting ready for life after