An appointment you will keep

Tips for Life

by Alan Bailey

Though this column is headed ‘Tips for Life’, we are faced by the fact that every day people die in the 100’s of thousands. It is strange that we can obtain so much help to live our lives but little help on how to die.

Many people take a fatalistic view of the solemn subject and brush it aside with comments like “You can only die once”, or, “When your time is up, then, too bad, it’s up.” This is meant to make us feel brave for the present with no deep thought required for the future. But what a trap this is! A trap always succeeds with the thoughtless.

If death itself holds little fear for some, what about the appointment that follows it? God’s word says, “It is appointed to man once to die and after this, the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Some folk think they have an appointment with an undertaker whom they will not be able to see. Instead they have an appointment with God whom they will be able to see. He will see us of course and will gaze right into us and see the way we have treated Him throughout our lifetime.

God will see our sins as if we committed them the day before.

One thing that really grieves me in life is to hear people reassuring themselves when they have no basis for it. I mean people saying that beyond the grave there is nothing, nothing at all. How they know this they cannot tell you. They are in fact saying they know more than Jesus Christ who says there is conscious existence after death. He rose to prove it.

Then there are those who feel they should be OK in God’s judgment because they have lived fairly well. As if the standard of judgment was something they set themselves. As if God might even be a bit soft toward them because they feel they have been honest triers.

The truth is that the majority of people are going to be sorely disappointed. Jesus said that the crowd is going the wrong way—they are heading toward ruin. They are not all criminals, they are people who live what are thought to be normal lives. However, they are criminals in God’s way of seeing things.

What we really are in our hearts will be brought to the surface. Our greed, our denial of God’s authority in our lives, our choice to go our own way.

In contrast, we will see in an overpowering way, God’s utter purity and His hatred for all evil. He has no alternative but to punish the guilty. I would hate to be there.

There are many people who will never be judged like this at all. You can be among them. The Bible makes it quite clear that those who have turned from their own way and genuinely trust in Christ alone to save them will not be judged. Why? Because someone has already stood in their place, taken their condemnation and their penalty.

That was what the cross was all about. Jesus, the sinless one, taking the place of the sinful. Suffering and dying to make a way for those who will reach out to God through him. “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him” (Hebrews chapter, verse 35). Come now; tomorrow may not be there for you.

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