Everyone Has a Future
Anyone who has ever lived on planet earth has a future; a future that is certain. How do we know that? Acts 17:31 says, For He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. Who is this person He has appointed? It is our Lord Jesus. He raised Him from the dead and all apart from Christ will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:5)
God created this dimension of time for us but He does not live in it. Eternity cannot be measured and we all will have a place in it based on our acceptance or rejection of Christ’ sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. He came for no other reason but to save us from our sin.
In the previous verse Acts 17:30 it says, In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He calls all men everywhere to repent. What ignorance? The ignorance of their sin. God so loved the world but had not yet given His only begotten Son. He had instituted a system for the forgiveness of sins for His chosen people the Jews but sacrifice for sin would have to continually be adhered to, but the rest of the world, outside the middle east, had no knowledge of God or of a coming Messiah.
Jesus declared on the cross, “It is finished.” Only then was His sacrifice for sin acceptable to God the Father. As it says in the Scripture, “He overlooked their time of ignorance.” but now we no longer have any excuse for the message of the cross has been proclaimed and is being proclaimed.
Never Heard the Gospel
I know what your thinking. “what about those who have never heard the gospel message. Yes, that age old question. It is a poor justification for those who are looking for a reason to reject Christ. It is an objection that might seem believable but is not. Interestingly, more often than not, this objection comes from those who have heard the gospel but reject it. The Bible addresses this with a strong rebuke.
20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:20-24)
11 Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. 12 And when you go into a household, greet it. 13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city! (Matthew 10:11-15)
Our Lord is speaking of judgement in the above Scriptures and it certainly applies to us in our day. This objection used by anyone to deny Christ is a self righteous facade. Our world is getting smaller all the time. More and more people are are hearing the gospel message proclaimed now more than in anytime in our history. Those that have heard the gospel and reject it will have no excuse, for those that haven’t will be judged accordingly based on their knowledge of the gospel. As it says, it will be more tolerable for them.
We live in a country where there is no persecution, a myriad of Bibles, and where the gospel is preached day and night. We will be held to a much higher standard. There is absolutely no possibility for ignorance from anyone in our country. To whom much has been given much will be required. (Luke 12:48)
Judging the World in Righteousness
What will judgement look like? Revelation 20:11-15 gives us a picture of the end of time and final judgement. Experience this vision by putting yourself in it. If you have rejected Christ and your sins have not been forgiven put yourself there. If you do belong to Christ put someone you know their, a loved one, a friend or a co-worker who have has in their sin, for this will be their experience.
Revelation 20:11-15 (NKJV) 11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
For those who inhabit the earth at this time fear will consume them. They will be laid bare for they will have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. The fear they will experience will be so immense that it will seem almost tangible. It is type of fear we cannot fathom. Rather than face the wrath of God they would desire mountains and rocks crush them. Hebrews 10:31 says, It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Lord.
Revelation 6:14-17 (NKJV) 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Verse 12 speaks of “the dead great and small standing before the throne of God.” John Phillips gives us a picture of this in his commentary.
There is a terrible fellowship there…The dead, small and great, stand before God. Dead souls are united to dead bodies in a fellowship of horror and despair. Little men and paltry women whose lives were filled with pettiness, selfishness, and nasty little sins will be there. Those whose lives amounted to nothing will be there, whose very sins were drab and dowdy.. mean, spiteful, peevish, groveling, vulgar, common, and cheap.
The great will be there, men who sinned with a high hand, with dash and courage and flair. Men like Alexander and Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin will be present, men who went in for wickedness on a grand scale with the world for their stage and who died unrepentant at last. Now one and all are arraigned on their way to be damned: a horrible fellowship congregated together for the last time. (Exploring Revelation ,rev,ed. [Chicago: Moody, 1987; reprint, Neptune, N.J.:Loizeaux, 1991],242-43
All will be on a level playing field for God is no respecter of persons. The privilege some experienced in life will be gone and forgotten. All they will be left with is the stain of sin that covers them from head to toe and cannot be removed from them. From the least to the greatest all stand together with the same fear and conviction.
Some will spew the same disdain and hatred towards the lamb they spewed in life of their rejection of Him. With no remorse they will become a part of the unfathomable evil that will permeate hell. Sadly, some will be greatly distraught realizing that their false belief of a glorious second life is erroneous, They now know now their fate is the same as the one who deceived them. Others will be those who put have their faith in religion and its traditions instead of being born of God. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:22-23) He is the father of lies who will lead the way to a place they will all spend eternity called the lake of fire, where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched, (Mark 9:44)
Verse 12 also says, …books were opened. Another book was opened , which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.This is a very ominous thought is it not? Every thought ever thought, every word ever spoken, and every action or deed ever done will be taken into account.
Therefore, you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) How is this humanely possible? It is not. Jesus our Lord was the only one to live a sinless life. As the Scripture says He was perfect. He is compared to a perfect lamb without spot or wrinkle; a lamb with no blemish. The Passover lamb was sacrificed for the forgiveness of sin.
The Passover lamb was to be a male of the first year (first fruit) without blemish or spot, sacrificed according to God’s specific instructions. Obedience to the instructions of the Lord regarding the sacrificial blood of the Passover lamb brought deliverance from the wages of sin and death for those within the house (Exodus 12). The lamb died in their place that they might be saved. At the time of God’s choosing (Deuteronomy 16:7), Jesus, who was without spot or blemish (1 Peter 1:19), became the perfect Passover lamb sacrifice; meeting all the requirements set forth by God for a Passover lamb to fulfill the blood sacrifice requirement for the remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22). His blood sacrifice was made so that when we believe and obey; accept the substitutionary shedding of blood for our sins, we might be saved from the wages of sin and death. God made a way for mankind to enjoy Him forever, establishing a new covenant with man for the remission of sin, by giving us His son (Luke 22:19-20), the perfect Passover lamb sacrifice. (From an unknown author)
John 14:6 says, I am the way, the truth, and the life no one comes to the Father by Me. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for our debt of sin. If a person has not received this wonderful gift and their debt forgiven then it will be taken with them into eternity. By their rejection of Christ they will be judged by sinless perfection. As Jesus was perfect so also must they be perfect in judgement of their sin. If Jesus does not pay your debt of sin then you do!
The Book of Life
Verse 12 also speaks of another; the Book of Life. This speaks of another future. All those whose names have been written in the Book of Life are citizens of heaven. Here the opposite is true. We have been made perfect by the blood of the Lamb. Hebrews 12:22-24 says, But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. This future is also certain
If your name is not recorded in this book your future is also certain. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of Life. (Rev 21:27) Because you rejected Christ in life He will honor your request and send you to a place where evil reigns. Hell is not a fantasy but a very real place.
Jesus spoke of hell many times in the Gospel’s. In Luke 16, a great chasm, Matthew 25, “banished to eternal fire,” Luke 16:23 “a place of eternal torment,” Mark 9:43 of unquenchable fire, Mark 9:48 where the worm does not die, Matthew 13:42 where people will gnash their teeth in anger, Luke 16:19-31 from which there is no return, even to warn loved ones. He calls hell a place of “outer darkness” (Matt. 25:30), comparing it to “Gehenna” (Matt. 10:28), which was a trash dump outside the walls of Jerusalem where rubbish was burned and maggots abounded. Jesus talks about hell more than he talks about heaven, and describes it more vividly. There’s no denying that Jesus knew, believed, and warned against the absolute reality of hell. (The Reality of Hell, Leslie Schmucker)
Your future is sure but which one?
The Bible is clear. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1) Those who have been born again belong to Christ will not face final judgement for their debt of sin has been paid, but will be held accountable with what they did after the received Christ. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what we have done whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Each will receive a reward or rewards, the Bible calls them crowns, based on what was done in Christ’ name or not done in His name. Did we live for Christ or did we live for ourselves? Not His will but my will. Were we faithful to use the ministry gifts we were given. Was it your ministry or His? All will come to light in that day. Each will experience shame or joy, but none lose their salvation. If anyone’s work is burned, they will suffer loss; but they themselves will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:15.)
If you don’t belong to Him don’t wait any longer. He has been waiting patiently for you. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not desiring that anyone should perish but for all to come to repentance.(2 Peter 3:9) That is the heart of God. He does not desire to see you standing before Him in final judgement. He loves you and has always had a plan for your life and that plan is Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but it must start with the realization your sin is impeding His plan for you. You cannot pay this debt; you are buried in sin debt. Let Him remove your blindness that you may look upon it and cry out for a Savior. He has paid your debt and desires to pardon you. Will you ask Him? Your future is the Book of Life.