By Alan Bailey
Almost every new day brings us a reminder that our hold on life is very tenuous. The newspapers usually have more names in the death notices than in the births column. We hear of friends or relatives battling with disease and people being killed in accidents, wars and natural disasters.
An appointment in the book
We won't have it written in our diary, but we can be sure that one day our life here will end. As God's Word says, "It is appointed to man once 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."
All this is made 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.
What comes next
If death itself holds little fear for some, what about the appointment that follows it? You see, the sentence quoted above says something else. "It is appointed to man once to die and after this the judgement" (Hebrews 9:27).
Some folk mistakenly 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 see. He will know all about them, nothing hidden. For so many, a life lived defying the rule of God.
It is sad to hear people reassuring themselves when they have no basis for it. I mean people saying that they should be OK in God's view because they have lived fairly well. But it is God's standard that matters and He says our goodness is not enough. Our sin is a stark reality.
The majority of people are going to be sorely disappointed. Jesus said that the crowd is heading the wrong way. They are not all criminals, just people from suburbia who wash their cars and mow their lawns on Saturday.
A great revelation
We will see God's utter purity and hatred for all evil. In contrast, we will see our denial of His authority and the way we have insisted on having our own way. This is great guilt.
There will be others who will never be judged like this. You can be among them. These people have turned from their own way and trusted Christ alone to save them. He stood in their place, took their judgement and condemnation.
That is what the cross was all about. The Sinless One took the place of the guilty. Alive again, He is "able to save completely those who come to God through Him." Come now.•