None of us is upon the earth for very long: "For all our days are passed away in Thy wrath: We bring our years to an end as a sigh. The days of our years are threescore and ten, Or even by reason of strength fourscore years; Yet is their pride but labor and sorrow; For it is soon gone, and we fly away" (Psa. 90:9,10). In comparison to the centuries that have come and gone we should echo these words: "Oh remember how short my time is" (Psa. 89:47). As God's servant, Moses, stood on that mountain viewing the "Promised Land," and realized that he would soon be with God in that verdant land, it must have seemed just a fleeting moment since he had left Midian.
An unknown author, speaking of meeting the Lord face to face one day, pondered what to say: If I really trust Him, Shall I ever fret? If I do expect Him, Can I ever regret? If by faith I see Him, Shall I doubt His aid? If I really love Him, Can I be afraid? What shall I say?
Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes of the vanity of worldly gain and glory, and of the necessity of spiritual emphasis, lest we have deep regrets. Paul made it clear to the Ephesian elders as the bade them farewell that God's word must be honored in life, if we would meet Him favorably in death (Acts 20:32). To the church in Corinth, he wrote, "Your labor is not vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58). In the first and last chapters of Phillipians, the apostle let it be known that the purpose of life is to glorify Christ, therefore think on purity, justice, nobility and truth. In order for the "henceforth" of 2 Tim. 4:8 to be of any value for us, we must faithfully fight in the Lord's army and persevere. Tennyson shared these brilliant lines: Sunset and evening star And one clear call for me, And may there be no sadness of farewell When I put out to sea.
The prophet Jeremiah once told a false prophet that he would die that very year, and Daniel also warned Belshazzar of his sudden departure from this world. The door was forever shut to those unprepared folk in Matt. 25:10, as it shall be for millions on that final Judgment Day! There is a "sin unto death" (1 Jno. 5:16), and some are living in danger of eternal separation from God (Mk. 3:29). What a contrast for those who live and die in Christ (Rev. 14:13; 1 Jno. 3:1-3). Infidels may cry on that occasion, as did Robert Ingersoll: "Oh God (if there be a God), save my soul (if I have a soul), from hell (if there be a hell)." But devoted saints of the Almighty will "meet the Lord in the air" for a grand and eternal reunion (1 Thes. 4).
Why Some Will Miss Heaven:
The power of sinful pride: Sin is deceitful (Heb. 3:13) and deadly (Rom. 6:23). It causes many to refuse to come to Christ (Jno. 5:4), rather than to seek truth ardently (Ezra 7:10). Stubborn refusal to let the Lord rule our lives (Jno. 1:11) will make the anguish of hell even greater (Mk. 9: 43).
The Shame Of Bad Attitudes: Presumptuous behavior (Psa. 19:13) and arrogant disregard for God's commands (Lk. 6:46) result in flagrant rebellion (Zech. 7:11,12) against the Creator Who made us for His glory (Isa. 43:7).
Living And Dying Outside Of Christ: Poor decisions in life that cause men to pursue ungodly lusts, rather than spiritual integ- rity (Rom. 13:14) will cause multitudes to be lost. Shallow preach- ing and softness toward error will doom and damn myriads who knew better, but just would not muster the courage to stand up for Jesus and His truth (Rom. 1:16; 2:16).
However, there are loyal hearts and true who intend to go to heaven, and daily press on in that glorious direction -- no matter the cost. In the final crescendo of the brilliant epistle of Jude we have one of the Bible's most eloquent farewells. Let us rejoice in this noble reminder: "Now unto Him that is able to guard you from stumbling, and to set you before the presence of His glory without blemish in exceeding joy, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and power, before all time, and now, and for evermore. Amen" (Jude 24,25).
By Johnny Ramsey in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 52, No. 39, Sept. 26, 2003.
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