Realities that Must be Faced
“When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.” (Job 16:22)
At most, it will be but a few more years. It may be but a few more days, or hours, or minutes. At God’s appointed time you and I must cease to exist in this world. These bodies must soon go to the grave. But that will not be the end of our existence. Knowing that we must soon die, I urge you to soberly and honestly face some realities, things about which you are aware, but may wish to ignore.
Guilt and Sin
You and I are sinners. We were born sinners. We live as sinners. Everything we are and everything we do is marred by sin. We are corrupt at heart, vile in thought, loathsome in act and altogether evil. So vile, so base, so sinful we are that there is never a moment when we are not perverse. Because we are sinners, we are condemned. The wrath of God is upon us (Romans 5:12; John 3:36). Not only does the Word of God declare us guilty, our consciences (unless purged from guilt by the blood of Christ) fully agree with the law, screaming, “Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!” every time we dare think about meeting God.
Death and Judgment
Though these bodies, like the bodies of all animals must die and rot in the earth, we will not die like animals. When the animal dies, it forever ceases to exist. When we die, we will exist forever. We will meet God in judgment. Again, though the Scriptures assert this repeatedly (2 Corinthians 5:10-11; Revelation 20:11-15), it does not need to be proved to anyone. This, too, is inscribed upon the hearts of all by our Creator (Romans 1:18).
Man tries his best to suppress, to hold down in unrighteousness, that which God has written upon his heart; but that which God has written upon the heart cannot be suppressed. — “I am a dying sinful man, who must soon meet the holy Lord God in judgment!” — “God demands that I be as He is, righteous, sinless, holy, perfect!” — “Sin must be punished. Justice must be satisfied!”
Heaven and Hell
As the Lord God has stamped upon the heart of man a God consciousness, from which none can escape, so, too, he has stamped upon us all an awareness of eternity, a consciousness that we will exist forever, either in the bliss of heavenly glory, or in the torments of everlasting hell, either in the City of God, the New Jerusalem, or in a place called “hell,” “the place of torment” and “the lake of fire.” Heaven is that place of immortality and life where God’s elect shall forever dwell in life, righteousness and peace. Read about it in Revelation 21 and 22. Hell is the place of the damned where rebel sinners exist in a state of endless dying called “the second death,” a place of indescribable darkness, isolation and torment. In hell the worm of a gnawing conscience never dies and the fires of guilt are never quenched.
I have no idea what hell is, or where hell is. All I do know is that hell is! And that you know as well. What the fires of hell are, I cannot tell. How a body can burn forever, I do not know. But I have no doubt whatever that our God, in His holy, unbending justice, will forever damn the wicked to be banished from Him, His holy angels and His holy people into a place of “everlasting fire!”
Justice and Mercy
Though we pray for mercy and desire mercy, though we may beg for mercy, we know that the holy Lord God cannot and will not be merciful at the expense of His justice. The only way the holy God can be merciful to sinners is if He finds a way for justice and mercy to meet, some ground upon which righteousness and peace may kiss each other. Justice can be satisfied only when every demand of God’s law and character are fully met and guilt is taken away. Righteousness must be brought in and sin must be punished, so thoroughly punished that God Himself says, “Enough!”
Blessed be His name, Christ is that Way! The Lord God, looking on His darling Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is completely satisfied with His obedience unto death as the sinner’s Substitute. The crucified God-man, the Mediator between God and men, is set forth by the Triune God in the Gospel “to declare God’s righteousness for the remission of sins…that He might be just and the Justifier” of all who trust His Son (Romans 3:24-26).
What does all of this mean? It means that if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, God has been gracious to you. It means that the justice of God and the mercy of God, the truth of God and the grace of God have declared with regard to you — “Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom” (Job 33:24). O may God grant you grace to trust His Son!
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