I was listening to this sermon this morning and I had one of those moments when you realise how big something really is. It’s like looking at a picture of the Earth in comparison to the biggest celestial object and thinking, there’s nothing I can do to control what happens to the earth. If we were to be swallowed by a black hole, I’d be helpless to stop it.
It’s almost like the approach we have to death. We pretend that we have some sort of control over it, that we have plans for when it comes and when it doesn’t. But the reality of it is. We don’t. It’s not just heaven or nothing on the line here. Hell is not just a tap on the hand and a shake of the head. It’s an eternal physical, mental, spiritual torment. Eternal. Hell is everything God is not. Think of everything good in the world and now imagine it gone. Someone once described it to me like being in a pitch black room. You know that tension you get of not knowing where things are, what’s going on. It’s eternal darkness, plus pain.
The only reason any of us is here, is because of God’s sovereign mercy. The thing is, we don’t deserve it. We live in his world, indulging in ourselves, ignoring him, destroying his creation, seeking after meaningless and fleeting things when really he deserves our attention. We have no right to think that when we get to the end, we can just smile at Him sweetly and say please, and lay out all that we’ve collected and expect Him to be impressed.
If we don’t acknowledge or show interest in the mediator, Jesus, God has no obligation to let us in. Doesn’t that frighten you. Maybe not, think about it this way.
We don’t deserve heaven. We are already under the sentence of eternal death. Damnation doesn’t sleep, it’s real and waiting. Corruption is at the heart of man. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean we should feel far from it. Just because we think we can get ourselves out of it when the time comes doesn’t mean we preserve ourselves, even for a moment. All your efforts to escape it are useless. God has no obligation to do anything about it. Any chance that you are given is out of God’s mere pleasure.
In the end, your ‘safety’ measures amount to nothing. When you stand in front of the creator, when your life has ended, it doesn’t matter if you donated to charity. It doesn’t matter if you provided for your family. Were faithful to your spouse. Always apologised. Were successful in your field. Were generous, and loving, or attending church regularly. If you always prayed before eating. If you don’t acknowledge Jesus, God’s merciful and completely undeserved offer of forgiveness, God will let go of that sovereign thread and without mercy let you fall into the depths of eternal suffering.
Think about it. Seriously.
What struck me about this was: if this is such a massive deal, I need to live like it is. I can’t keep living like this eternal judgement is non-existent just because I can’t see it. I need to use my youth to the best of my ability, to live out the implications that come from such a situation.