Marvin L. Weir
People live their lives every day as if they will not die and this world will not end. The Bible addresses these matters, but most people either ignore or do not believe the Holy Scriptures. The Holy Spirit does not mince words in stating, “And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment” (Heb. 9:27). It is also made clear that “the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10).
The unchanging Word of God will judge every person. The Lord desires that this truth be understood, so He states, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). God promises to “render to every man according to his works” (Rom. 2:6). One cannot, however, do the work of the Lord after he dies or after this world ends. This is why Jesus says, “We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Let us consider some soul-searching questions in view of the reality that after death cometh judgment.
What will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel when they die or when this world ends? Many today act as if time is on their side. They diligently work to lay up treasures in this world as if these treasures will benefit them forever. They make whatever sacrifices are necessary to be successful in this life. What are they thinking as they refuse opportunity after opportunity to obey the gospel while time quickly slips away? The Holy Spirit declares that when the Lord comes “from heaven with the angels of his power in flaming fire,” [that He] will be “rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus: who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord…” (2 Thess. 1:7-9). In view of this warning, why would one delay in obeying the precious gospel? No matter what one intends to do one day, the somber truth is that after death cometh judgment!
What will be the eternal destiny of those who travel the way of the world and “follow a multitude to do evil” (Exo. 23:2)? The Bible states, “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Those of worldly persuasion choose to reject the “narrow” and “straitened” way that leads to Heaven and instead follow the “wide” and “broad” way to eternal “destruction” (Matt. 7:13-14). Jesus pleads with all to build on a foundation that will not crumble but will stand the test of time. The Lord declares that He is “the way, and the truth, and the life,” and that “no one [comes] unto the Father, but by [him]” (John 14:6). This is why the inspired Word says, “For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). All who love the Lord and wisely obey His commands will build on the “rock” that will stand the blows of the world. Those who are infatuated with the world will foolishly build on the sinking “sand” and lose their souls (cf. Matt. 7:24-27). All should remember that there is life after death (cf. 1 Tim. 6:19, ASV)!
What will be the fate of those who are ashamed of the Lord and unwilling to put Him first in their lives? Even many of those today who claim to be elders and preachers carefully sniff the wind before taking a Biblical stand lest they be “politically incorrect.” Such action is a disgrace! Neither will a neutral position or the cop-out of “we are still studying the matter” please the Lord. The Savior always confronted His enemies with the truth and was loyal to do the will of His Father (John 4:34). One cannot conveniently “duck” the Lord’s commands and be rewarded with a home in Heaven. The Master reminds all that “he that is not with me is against me…” (Matt. 12:30).
The Lord instructs His followers to “seek… first his kingdom, and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Some are planning to follow these instructions after they have reared their family. Children today have a busy schedule, and thus recreation and worldly wisdom are vigorously pursued. Others will think of putting the Lord and His church first when they have concluded their successful careers. It requires time and a tremendous amount of diligent work to have a rewarding retirement. Not a few intend to do more for the Lord tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. It is just that most do not count on dying when they do. Neither are the majority of Christians convinced that the Lord could return at any moment. If so, they would make a drastic change in the life they are now living.