Charles A. Holt
In this age of change and changing things there seems to be nothing that is definite and certain. People are going to and fro feeling that there is nothing upon which they can depend. All seems so lacking in dependence. As a result people are forgetting the things that really count. They are laying aside those things that are of eternal value and turning to things earthly in search of happiness. We need today to find some certainties upon which we can depend—certainties that will awaken and sober us to things that are real and valuable. These things will give one a sure footing in this fleeting world.
There is the certainty of exposure—one’s sins will find him out (Num. 32:23). While this may not be done in this life, be assured there is a time coming when it will—in the judgment. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Eccl. 12:13). We may succeed in fooling our friends and relatives, but we cannot fool God. He knows our lives and hearts—“all things are open before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). We can depend on this. The certainty of exposure is as certain as God. (See also, Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:10; 14:12).
There is the certainty of leaving our earthly possessions. One thing that experience should teach us is that “we can’t take it with us.” We say this jokingly many times but it is also as certain as God Himself. Regardless of how much of this world’s goods we accumulate we will leave it all here. One man asked another as they looked on the remains of a rich man, “How much did he leave?” The solemn reply was, “He left it all.” Well does Paul say, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:7). Job knew this and said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither…” (Job 1:21). What we possess is given us of God to use faithfully while here for His glory and the benefit of men. By faithfully using this we can expect to enjoy the results in the world to come—“Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” This is a certainty that should sober us all.
Then there is the certainty of harvest time. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 5:7). Not only shall we reap (harvest) as we sow, but the reaping is inevitable and certain. “He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.” This is God’s law in both the natural and spiritual realms. It is unchanging and certain. We can depend upon it. It should sober us and make us more careful of the sowing we do, that it is done so we will be glad to reap accordingly.
The certainty of death is too certain to be even questioned. Experience teaches us this to say nothing of God’s word. We know this is true and yet it seems to fail to have the sobering effect on us that it should. We must all die. “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death… (Eccl. 8:8). “…it is appointed unto men once to die… (Heb. 9:27). Knowing that we shall die and not knowing when, it should cause us to give more concern to being prepared for it. How foolish indeed is he who, knowing of such certainty, fails to prepare for it.
As certain as death is the certainty of the judgment. “Because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness…” (Acts 17:31). “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). This day is set—it is appointed. It is coming to you and it is coming to me—that day is coming to all. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the deeds done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). We can depend on this certainty. We shall be judged, and this judgment will be according to what we have done in the body—in this life. A sobering certainty indeed. Are you ready for that day to come?
Then there is the certainty of the separation of the wicked from the righteous. This will be finally done at the judgment:
When the son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from the other, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left (Matt. 25:31-33).
This is sure and certain. In which group will I be is a question of paramount importance. We determine this now in this life. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life…” (John 10:27-28). His sheep hear His voice and they follow Him. They follow Him all the way.
This brings us to the certainty of final reward. What our reward will be depends upon how we have lived here. For His sheep Jesus says their reward will be, “Come ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). These—the righteous—shall go into “life eternal.” On the other hand, just as sure and certain is the fate of those on His left hand: “Depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment…” (Matt. 25:46). The “everlasting fire” is “everlasting punishment” that shall last as long as the righteous enjoy “life eternal.” What a sobering certainty! An endless suffering—all because one failed to obey the Lord’s will, spurned His mercy and grace, and lived a life of lust and pleasure and enjoyed “the pleasures of sin for a season.” How foolish!