There is only one true reality – judgment
Published 7:45 am Friday, December 2, 2005
The rage is, "make it real, edgy, true life, and tell it like it is." Enough of make-believe.
Where is the true reality? The writer of the New Testament epistle to the Hebrews summed it up when he said in chapter 9, verse 27, "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."
We know about death; we see or hear of it every day. In every community, we pass funeral parlors and cemeteries daily. Even when death closes in, we feel somehow insulated, but it will come.
The judgment of God is something most of us are not prepared for. We are accustomed to long trials, loopholes, clever attorneys, appeals, and leniency. We have stacked our extenuating circumstances against the exact demands of God and assume we will get a pass.
The reality is that we are accumulating the evidence for that final judgment.
There are two phrases, one just before Hebrews 9:27 and one just after, that give the basis for this final judgment: Hebrews 9:26b, "He [Jesus Christ] has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" and in Hebrews 9:28a, "so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many."
The context of that final judgment is, "What have you done with Jesus Christ?"
There are books in heaven and God is the ultimate bookkeeper.
There is the "book of remembrance" mentioned in Malachi 3:16. In Revelation, chapter 20, verse 12, we read of the great white throne judgment "and books were opened." The description of that scene continues in verse 12, "And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life."
The ultimate reality is revealed in Revelation, chapter 20, verse 15, "Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." There is nothing more real than that. In our quest for the ultimate reality, how could we pass that by and not order our lives to be prepared for that day?
The words of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah, chapter 55, verses 6-7, thunder through history, "Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon."
One day the curtain will close on salvation. It will be as described in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 1-13. There were 10 virgins: five wise and five foolish. The wise virgins had oil in their lamps and were admitted to the wedding, but the foolish virgins had no oil, and when they finally completed their preparations, they found the door shut (Matthew 25:10). They cried out, "Open to us!" The response was, "I do not know you."
Reality is harsh. It is somehow appealing to look at the reality of others, but it is excruciating in personal experience. There is nothing harsher than to be told that life is short, we will die, we will be judged, and we will spend eternity in one of two places.
We see a preview of this reality in the gospel of Luke, chapter 16, verses 19-31. There was a rich man who died and went to Hades. There was a beggar named Lazarus who died and went to Abraham's bosom. They could see each other: Lazarus in comfort with Abraham, and the rich man tormented in the agony of flames.
There was no passage from one place to the next (Luke 16:26). The reality was that their station was fixed.
As we pass rather quickly through this life, we must pay attention to our ultimate destination and the final reality. We cannot change the fact that we will die; however, we can determine our destiny.
What are we doing with Jesus Christ?