Golfers call it a “mulligan.” Kids call it a “do-over.”
Whenever we make a mistake, we want the opportunity to make it right. Sometimes, in this life, we get second and even third chances.
But one day—and no one knows when that day will be—the opportunity for “do-overs” will be gone. One day, it will be too late to make things right.
Jesus makes this point in Luke chapter 19 in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Both men die and go to Hades to await final Judgment. Lazarus had been a beggar living a miserable life. The rich man lived as the rich often do, in comfort and luxury.
But when they die, their roles are reversed. The rich man is in agony, “tormented in this flame” (v. 24). Lazarus the beggar is now comforted, resting at last in Abraham’s bosom.
The rich man sees Abraham in the distance and asks him to send Lazarus over with a drop of water to relieve his suffering. Abraham says no. “Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence” (v. 26).
It’s not that Abraham, the father of the Jews, doesn’t want to help relieve the rich man’s suffering. He can’t. When death comes and our spirits travel to Hades, it’s too late for us to change our condition.
Here’s a wake-up call: The one suffering in flames in Luke 19 isn’t an atheist or a cultist. He’s one of the Israelites God had separated to be His special people.
Are you religious? Do you think that you are right with God? The Bible is full of religious people who think they are living, worshiping and serving God acceptably, yet they aren’t.
Study your New Testament with an open mind. Preachers, relatives and friends might counsel you, but the words of Christ are the only road map to heaven (John 8:31-32). They are the standard by which our lives will be judged (John 12:48).
Once you die, that’s it—no “mulligans,” no “do-overs,” no second chances. It won’t do any good for your relatives to pray for your sins to be purged. And no one can obey the Gospel for you. Death seals your fate. Like the rich man in Luke 19, whatever spiritual condition you are in when you die is the condition you will be in forever. Are you ready?