WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN ETERNITY, WILL YOU BE SURPRISED AT YOUR DESTINATION?
"And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire;" Jude 1:22-23
"Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;" 2 Cor. 5:11
WHERE YOU SPEND ETERNITY, IN HEAVEN OR HELL...
is determined by a choice, "your choice," according to what you "personally" do with Jesus Christ. "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." John 5:40. Here, Jesus says that your destiny is determined by your choice.
To illustrate, before you do business with a bank, you are expected to open an account. To open that account you must agree to and follow certain procedures. In like manner, to open your account with God or the Devil, you must agree to and follow their procedures. With the first sin you commit, the Devil opens your account. But why give yourself to the Devil? (Whoever you yield yourself to obey, his servant you are.) He did not create you, nor will he do what is best for you. He will only deceive you into thinking that good is evil and evil is good.
BEFORE YOU CAN DO BUSINESS WITH GOD, CERTAIN PROCEDURES MUST ALSO BE AGREED UPON AND FOLLOWED. The situation is that, at your first sin, you (1) have opened your account with the devil and (2) You have broken a law of God's Government. Therefore, as a person guilty of sin (a lawbreaker) you are (at this first sin) sentenced by God's court to eternal separation from God in hell (His penitentiary). Yet God loves you and desires that you be saved. John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." In His LOVE and mercy, God has provided a way of pardon. A way to make you acceptable to Himself, providing you will make the choice to accept it. NOTICE... He has done all He can 'justly' do to give you eternal life. He cannot make you accept it. You must by choice receive it. To procure your salvation He has done the following.
(1) He sent his Son to die on the cross of Calvary (God the Son, dying for you), as your personal substitute. Jesus suffered the penalty and sentence (the wages of sin is death) for your personal sins. (In other words, while you were/are under the sentence to die, Jesus died in your stead.) His death was necessary, as demanded by God's righteous government, that sin be punished. Isa. 53:5: "But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities:" Vs. 10: "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin," Vs. 11: "He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied:"
(2) God the Holy Spirit does His best to make you realize your condition, position, and destiny.
(3) He influences you to recognize the rights of God's Lordship over your life that was originated at creation.
(4) He convicts you, pricking your conscience, making you feel guilty because of your sins, in order that you might repent of them and trust Jesus Christ for your salvation.
God can do no more. He created you a free moral agent. He will not force you to obey Him. But, upon your acceptance of these conditions and their being met, God the Father will give you eternal spiritual life and a home in Heaven. You either voluntarily agree to and follow His conditions of repentance and faith, or you reject them.
WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN ETERNITY, WILL YOU BE SURPRISED AT YOUR DESTINATION?
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"...Matt. 16:26
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the Judgment," Heb. 9:27.
AT THE JUDGMENT (or court of God) EVERY MAN WILL BE JUDGED ACCORDING TO HIS WORKS and will receive rewards or degrees of punishment accordingly.
Which Judgment you attend will be determined by what you do with Jesus Christ during this life of probation while on earth.
THERE WILL BE A JUDGMENT FOR THE SAVED. It is called the Judgment Seat of Christ. This judgment will be for believers who have given themselves up to God, through repentance of their sins and trusting in what Jesus did for them on the cross of Calvary as the payment for their sins. These believers have committed themselves to Jesus Christ, taking Him at His word when He said, "He that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37. Out of gratefulness for their salvation, these faithfully serve Him. They will NOT be judged to see if they get into Heaven.!!That was decided upon earth when they committed themselves to obedience to The Lord Jesus Christ. At this judgment believers will receive rewards for their faithfulness and service to Him.
THERE WILL ALSO BE A JUDGMENT FOR THE UNSAVED. This judgment is solely for unbelievers. It is called the Great White Throne Judgment. Unbelievers have chosen to reject Jesus Christ, while doing their own thing. This Judgment will include those who (1) neglected to be saved, (2) postpone being saved, or (3) deliberately rejected Jesus, during their life of probation on earth. "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them." "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [ the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Rev. 20:11-15.
These will be at the Great White Throne Judgment, NOT because of the magnitude of their sins, but because their sins have not been pardoned. These, (1) by their own free will, chose to "do," or "believe" something else, instead of believing and accepting the truth. (2) They chose to continue their course of action instead of stopping their rebellion and controversy against God's person, will, and laws. God cannot save one in sin,
but from sin. Therefore, God could not forgive them while they continued in their willful sin. This willful state is revealed by their refusing to turn from their sins and opposition to him, to obedience to Him. (3) They chose to NOT give themselves up to Jesus, or to surrender their lives to Him. "He that believeth on him is not condemned: (sentenced) but he that believeth not is condemned (sentenced) already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Matt. 3:18. They received their sentence (condemned) because they refused to accept God's provision for their sins.
Though the unbeliever will be judged at this great court, their destination for eternity was already determined, by their own choice, before their death. Jer. 21:8: "And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death." After death, there is no second chance. Degrees of punishment will be assessed according to their works. There will be no mistakes.
(1) The omniscient God, who hears and sees all, from whom nothing can be hidden, who knows the heart and keeps accurate records, will be the Judge.
(2) Jesus, who loved each sinner so much that He permitted Himself to be executed to pay their sin debt, who became their personal substitute, but was rejected, will be the prosecuting Attorney.
(3) Friends and loved ones who were saved, will attend this judgment as eye witnesses for the prosecution, to testify against the unbeliever, if necessary.
EVERY PERSON PASSING THROUGH THIS LIFE is headed to an eternal destination whether they like it or not, or believe it or not. Belief or unbelief does not change the facts. This life is a probationary period during which God determines whether an individual is a friend or foe. This probationary period determines those on His side and those siding with the enemy. It reveals to whom each individual is committed and the price he/she is willing to pay for that commitment. What will it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul? What will a man give in exchange for his soul? The only exchange is Jesus.
YOU SEE, WHAT YOU DEPEND UPON TO TAKE YOU TO HEAVEN MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. YOU CANNOT FIND YOUR WAY THERE--YOU DO NOT KNOW WHERE HEAVEN IS; THERE ARE NO VEHICLES TO TAKE YOU THERE--YOU MUST BE "TAKEN" (transported) BY THE POWER OF GOD. YOUR ETERNAL TRIP WILL BE MADE GOD'S WAY, OR YOUR TRANSPOR-TATION WILL BE PROVIDED BY GOD'S ARCH RIVAL, THE DEVIL, to his eternal home, Hell. To illustrate again, before you can use a bank you must open a personal account. In Like manner, before you can go to heaven, you must open your personal account. What will it be? You are in charge, you make the choice.
Consider Heb. 10:26_31, "For if we sin willfully (reject the truth) after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins," "But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath (rejected Jesus) trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of Grace?" "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God".
John 3:16, "For God so loved the world (you), that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever (you) believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world (you) through him might be saved."
Acts 20:20, "[And] how I kept back nothing that was profitable [unto you], but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, 21, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." The way of salvation.
Rom. 10:9: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10: For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Remember, even having opened an account with the devil and regardless of what sins you have committed, YOU CAN BE SAVED. (1.) In total sincerity, repent of your sins to God, and plead the death of Christ and His blood as the payment for your sins. (2.) Commit yourself and your eternal abode to Jesus. Upon doing this, God will give you eternal spiritual life. Only repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will open your personal account in Heaven.
YOU KNOW WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE SAVED: "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life," I John 5:13. If you were totally honest in your commitment to Christ, You may rest assured that Jesus will do what He says. Jesus said in John 6:37, "He that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." If you come to Jesus, committing yourself to Him in true repentance and faith, you may rest assured that He gives you eternal life and you shall not be cast out. You know, because He said it, that settles it. Read carefully the book of First John.
To realize the fullness of your new relationship and position with God, you need teaching from those who are knowledgeable. Just as with a new born baby, time is required for growth and development of knowledge, so you will not understand everything immediately. God intends that you learn a little at a time in order to grow in faith. The growing in faith is the reason He established His church. His commission to the church was, Matt. 28:19-20, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world." So, find a Bible-believing and teaching church. Become involved and learn. The writer recommends a Baptist church, because Baptists affirms for their teaching, the Bible as the only and final authority from God. Baptists are the most thorough in Biblical research and interpretation. Historically, Baptists are the only church group that can trace its lineage back to the first century.
As a new Christian, pray and read the Bible, God's Word, daily, thus keeping yourself in close contact with God, so that you may grow in the grace and knowledge of God.
Grady E. Lee, B.A., M.A.,Th.B.