TIME FOR A REALITY CHECK?
Our culture is one which tries its best to deny, defy or ignore a reality which has been with mankind ever since his expulsion from the garden of Eden. I refer to that reality which we call "death." Horace (B.C. 65-8) wrote of the universal nature of death saying, "Pale death, with impartial step, knocks at the hut of the poor and the towers of kings." The inspired writer of Hebrews spoke of death as being an appointment which all men will keep. In Heb. 9:27, he wrote: "..it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."
When one considers the universal nature of death and the fact that following it our next appointment will be to stand before the Lord in judgment, does it not seem strange that so many people choose not to prepare themselves for death itself or the judgment which will follow? Death is absolutely unavoidable and we are all moving relentlessly toward it. After our Lord pronounces judgment upon us, we will either be privileged to spend eternity with Him in heaven or we will be consigned to spend it in hell with the Devil and his angels. Contrary to doctrines taught by men, where we go (our eternal destiny) depends upon us and what we do here and now! God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit have made every possible provision for our salvation. Then by our own volition we choose the course we are going to follow--the one laid out in the holy scriptures that leads to heaven, or the way laid out by Satan which leads to destruction.
In comparison to the millions of people who have lived and who do live on this earth, relatively few make any real preparation for death and eternity. Jesus spoke of this saying, "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matt. 7:14). Equally sad is the fact that among the few who do obey the gospel, thereby entering into the narrow way that leads to life, some of these do not take the words of Jesus recorded in Matt. 6:33 seriously. There he tells us how to stay in the narrow way, "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness." Doing this demands self-denial and a life of Christian service.
Now lest some should misunderstand, let me quickly say we are not suggesting that anyone can earn their salvation! Jesus taught very plainly, that when we have done those things that are commanded us of God, we still have to say “We are unprofitable servants!” How can this be? Why is this the case? Well, since no one other than Christ has ever lived or ever will live a sinless, perfect life—our salvation is then “by grace…through faith” (Eph. 2:8). This marvelous grace of God does indeed bring salvation, but not to those who are indolent! We close then with these inspired words from Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Dear reader, are you trusting in the grace of God for your salvation, as you prepare for death and judgment? Yes! If you have faith that works by love.
Carl E. Goad