“It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day.” --Matthew Henry
“Die before you die. There is no chance after.”
The world death rate still holds steady at 100% (Hebrews 9:27). Dying isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. Dying after you die is infinitely worse (Matt. 10:28)
Why do we fear death? Because every human soul is imprinted with the assurance that "it is appointed for man to die once and then comes judgment" (Heb. 9:27). We know judgment is coming. Yet, Jesus was judged for us and rose from the dead to free us from this fear (Heb. 2:15). The baby in the manger was destined to give life—and because he is—he was destined to die.
Today, as I (Darin) ponder Hebrews 9:27 (quoted above), here are some reflections on this staggering verse. May God be glorified.
# 1 - What you do today is shaped by what you believe about tomorrow.
In other words, what you think will happen after death affects how you live now. Don’t take lightly your time on earth to love God and others and tell the Gospel story.
#2 - Everyone will face the judgment of Jesus Christ.
In him alone there is grace, love, and forgiveness for every sin. “An hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear the voice of Jesus and come out.” (John 5:28-29). To face final judgment. Every single human being who has ever died will obey that voice. And teachers will be judged with greater strictness (James 3:1). Good thing Christ's righteousness is perfect!
#3 - If you are only born once, you will die twice. But if you are born twice, you will only die once.
Jesus said: “Unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Two givens: 1) we are in sin. 2) dying in our sin is a dreadful prospect. One hope: Believing in Jesus. “I am he.” = The only Son from the Father, sinless, saving, supremely valuable. The gospel is good news, the best news you will ever hear. But to die rejecting it, it is bad news, the worst news you ever heard.
#4 - When you die, Jesus will look into your eyes, and you will know beyond doubt a hundred things that you pretended were unsure.
The Lord knows my soul, and how I will die. Therefore, he knows how to get me ready. So, nothing wiser than to submit to him, right?
#5 - Judgment Day is gonna be crazy, friends.
Every thought. Every motive. Every word. Every action. Every neglected action. Everything public and private. Everything known and hidden. Everything examined by Jesus who sees all things perfectly and without partiality.
#6 - Many consider warnings about sin to be hateful now, but on Judgment Day they will prove to be some of the most loving words ever uttered.
Graciously warning someone that their sin will eternally separate them from God is one of the truest forms of love imaginable (see Luke 16:19 and following). "Christians" who have an "only God can judge me" theology reveal two misunderstandings. 1. One way God judges His people is through the church (1 Cor. 5:9-13). 2. God uses the church's loving judgment now to help us prepare for God's final judgment on the Last Day (1 Cor. 5:5). Of course, the church can become arrogant, hurtful, abusive, manipulative, and legalistic in its judgment of one another. But that doesn't mean we should dismiss God's design. Rather, the church must repent of those things where present & humbly love one another as God commands. And we must continue lovingly, boldly, and intentionally preaching Christ risen from the dead and the judgment to come (just as Paul did in Acts 17!).
#7 - On Judgment Day, we will be surprised how differently God evaluates things than we do.
Heaven will be filled with many so-called "no-name" Christians who humbly served behind the scenes. They neither wrote books nor had books written about them, but God's Book of Life is full of their faithful deeds.
#8 - It sure seems true that on that last day many will regret using their influence to promote and defend earthly politicians.
Labor for Jesus' eternal Kingdom, not fleeting ones (2 Cor. 5:1-11). Let the Gospel be your offense, not your politics. Help people trust in Jesus, not faulty saviors.
#9 - When we stand before God on the Day of Judgment, no doubt we'll wish we would have shown more severity with our sin and more charity toward the sins of others and more mercy to our fellow sinners.
"Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).
#10 - If we are unconvinced of hell, we won't be compelled to call people to heaven.
Theology that erases judgment empties the heart of a reason to repent. Remember, it was Satan who said, “you will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). Love warns people of the coming judgment.
#11 - The devil’s great tool is distraction.
Texts, Tweets, screens, songs, emails, sports, shows, temptations, past failures, present plans, future fears... Anything but eternity! What a tragedy that many will enter the Last Day without even giving it a thought in this life.
#12 - Let us never take comfort that our sins different than another person's
Compare yourself only to Jesus. He is the One you will be compared to on the Last Day. Before Him, no one is guiltless, yet in Him, anyone can be forgiven.
Job 14:5 “Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass…”
Ecclesiastes 3:20 “All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.”