Life is short. Eternity is a very, very long time. The wise man remembers this. I am 46 years of age. Just in the past couple of years, my 44 year old cousin Mike died, one of my closest childhood friends Tony died at 46, my father-in-law died, and my own Dad died after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Life is short.
My own wife has recently battled thyroid cancer and I experience various aches and pains in my body now that never used to be while my vision weakens. Frankly, these are “the hoofbeats of death.”
The Bible says, “The minds of the wise think about funerals, but the minds of fools think about banquets” (Eccl. 7:4). Death forces us to put aside issues like, Who won American Idol, the Biggest Loser or the NBA championship? Rather, death presses us to ask questions that truly matter like, What is life for? What lasting significance does life have? Are my relationships with others right? But especially, is my relationship with God right? Eternity is a very, very long time.
The Bible says, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb. 9:27-28).
Note that the day of our own funeral has been “appointed” by God. We will “die once.”
God reminds us that after our death “comes judgment” when the risen Lord Jesus Christ will usher the righteous into glory and cast the wicked into hell, forever.
God also tells us that Jesus Christ “died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.” On the Cross, Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath, the punishment of Hell itself, in the place of, on behalf of, as a substitute for, God’s people—that we might be reconciled to God our Father as His adopted children forever.
Having been risen from the dead, God promises that the Lord Jesus “will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him” through faith. In that Day our bodies will be raised and put on immortality. Since Jesus already dealt with the punishment for sins on the Cross, the believer no longer has to fear God’s judgment in terror but can look forward to that Day with peace, joy and confident hope, knowing God himself “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more” (Rev. 21:4).
The basic message of the Bible is: Jesus Christ came to save the sinners, the ungodly. There is an old saying, “When a man knows he is going to be hanged soon, it wonderfully focuses the mind.” The day Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross, a criminal hanging on a cross next to Him put his faith in Christ. Christ said to him, “This day you shall be with Me in Paradise.” That proves that the good news of the gospel is that we are not saved by our good works but through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
Life is short. Eternity is a very, very long time. The wise man remembers this.