Summary: We need to be prepared for life after death. We must endeavor to live our lives in such a way that when we stand before God and give an account of how we have lived our lives, God will say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
A man walked home one evening after having some drinks at a local bar. He decided to take a shortcut through a cemetery. Unfortunately, he fell into an open grave and could not get out. He fell asleep and woke up the next morning when the whistle at the local factory blew. He was still suffering the effects of the previous evening, but he managed to get out of the grave, look around and exclaim, “Well what do you know? It’s Judgment Day, and I’m the first one up!”
What kind of legacy do you want to leave when you die? If you knew that today was the last day of your life, what would you do? Are you prepared to spend eternity with God? There are times when we need to stop and look at our lives, what we are doing and whether or not it’s worth the time and effort. We need to decide if our lives have any sense of accomplishment or purpose.
A police officer stopped a driver for going 25 kilometres over the speed limit. After he received the ticket, the driver asked the officer “Don’t you give out warnings?” “Yes, sir,” the officer replied. “They’re all up and down the road. They say, ’Speed Limit 100.’
There are some people who have rejected God all of their lives and refused to accept his forgiveness for their sins. When they stand before God when they die, they will have to give an account of their lives just like the rest of us. When they receive their judgment, they will probably say the same thing as the driver did: “Don’t you give out warnings?”
God will probably reply, “Yes I do. The Bible is full of warnings to prepare for eternity. Every year you were reminded of my offer of forgiveness and eternal life at both Christmas and Easter. I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” Because they refused God’s offer of forgiveness and salvation, they will have to pay the penalty for their own sins.
Those who believe in God and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour have their names written in God’s Book of Life. They will still have to stand before God in judgment, but instead of being judged for their sins they will be judged on the basis on how they served God here on earth and be rewarded accordingly.
One way we can serve God is to meet the spiritual needs of other people. For example, Rev. Billy Graham’s father-in-law, Dr. Nelson Bell, was a medical missionary to China. He built a 300 bed hospital in the community where he lived. Because of his skill many of his patients were cured, but eventually they died. He knew that it wasn’t enough to meet their physical needs, so every patient who was mobile was required to attend chapel every day in the hospital where they were given a Bible lesson and presented with the Gospel. Those who weren’t mobile were visited by someone who would share Christ with them. Consequently, thousands of Chinese men and women received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour at that hospital.
There is nothing we as humans can do to win our salvation. Not even church membership can win our salvation for us. Only Christ can save us, and our hope and trust must be in him alone. He became the sacrifice we need for our sins, and only he can give us hope for eternal life because of his resurrection. Just has humans die only once and after that they are judged, Christ sacrificed himself once to bear all of our sins and will return to save those who are waiting on him for salvation.
The eternal heavens are realities because they are God’s dwelling place. They are truer than earthly copies. In a similar way, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross because of the single offering of himself is sufficient for all his followers for all time. It was superior to the Old Testament sacrifices because the Old Testament sacrifices had to be repeated, and the high priest had to atone for his own sins as well as the sins of the people. Christ was sinless, so he did not have to atone for his own sins. He died once as an offering for all our sins, and he will return to judge the world and save his followers. Each of us has a single life before eternal judgment, so there will be no “second chances” after death.
The copies of the things in heaven were the tabernacle, the laws and the Old Testament rituals. They were only pictures of Christ’s sacrifice. That the heavenly things needed to be purified doesn’t suggest any defilement in heaven, but they represent the complete cleansing brought about by Jesus’ death. This inaugurated heaven itself as the new holy place and Christ as the new and final high priest.