Have you ever had an appointment with a physician to discuss the results of a biopsy? Have you ever been summoned to the boss’ office, not knowing what to anticipate? Waiting for the moment of truth at such appointments can create a great deal of anxiety.
Regardless of your hectic schedule or age, God has scheduled you for two specific appointments with Him. What you are now, what you do now, and what you believe now will directly affect the outcome of these divine meetings.
Your predestined appointments with God are summarized in one succinct verse of Scripture: “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Death and judgment: You cannot avoid them!
Are you ready for these two appointments? If you died today, are you ready to meet your Maker? Are you prepared to be judged by Him for eternity?
The certainty of a final day of judgment for every human being is one of the central teachings of the Bible. Consider these verses:
“He [God] has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31).
“All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from his goats” (Matthew 25:32).
I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened . . . and the dead were judged according to their works, by the things that were written in the books (Revelation 20:12).
We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).
So then each of us will give account of himself to God (Romans 14:12).
The certainty of coming before a holy God to be judged should cause all of us to give serious thought, because we all have sinned and deserve to be condemned (Romans 3:23; 6:23). We may successfully hide many of our sins from others in this life, but we cannot hide them from God; and the ultimate wages of sin is eternal death. Scripture calls this the second death — destruction in a lake of fire (Revelation 20:14, 15).
Whether we think about it or not, we all face the certainty of physical death at the end of this life, followed by God’s judgment, which will determine our eternal destiny. No one escapes the first death, but God provides a way for all human beings to stand guiltless in the judgment and escape the second eternal death. But someone must pay the wages of sin.
One way out
The only way to face certain death and coming judgment is to have our sins forgiven through Jesus Christ. This good news stems from God’s great love for all human beings, created in His image:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
We are all sinners destined to eternal death, but Jesus Christ came to make a way for us to live forever. How do we obtain this gift of eternal life? The Bible’s answer is clear: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Or, as the apostle Peter put it to the crowd of Jews gathered in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
To repent means to turn away from our sins, even as we turn to Jesus for the hope He has promised. It means that we find a new way of life — a way of obedience to the will of God as revealed in His Word. It means that we trust Christ, receive Him as Savior, and submit to Him as the Lord of our lives.
At this very moment, you have one of the greatest of human privileges: the power of choice. You can either choose the way of faith in Christ, of repentance from sins, and of eternity with God or . . .
You can choose to continue living your own way apart from God, trying to enjoy your sins and moral irresponsibility, moving onward toward certain physical death and judgment — with eternal death to follow.
The choice is fully up to you, but we can tell you what God wants: He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus loves you so much that He paid the penalty for your sins by dying on the cross. Though He was completely sinless, He offered Himself as your substitute. He died so you would not have to die (Hebrews 2:9). Only by accepting His death in your place can you receive forgiveness of your sins (Ephesians 1:7). There is no other way to escape eternal death, because there is salvation in no one else (Acts 4:12). Today you have the opportunity of erasing your sinful past, in the eyes of God, and beginning all over again as though you had never sinned (Colossians 1:21, 22).
Sure things, sure faith
You have probably heard someone say there are only two sure things: death and taxes. That is only half right. The whole truth is that there are two things for certain: death and God’s judgment to follow.
These two appointments will surely take place, and all of us will be there when they do. The only escape from the second death is to repent of your sins and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of your life: “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12).
Where do you stand?
It’s a mistake to think we have no need for repentance from sins or no need for Jesus in our lives. To deny sin and the need for forgiveness is to assume we know more about life and death than the God who created us.
Why not approach the Judge and get things straightened out today? His bench is easily approached, and He listens sympathetically to those who throw themselves on the mercy of His court. His loving invitation is clear:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Keeping in mind your two unavoidable appointments with God — death and judgment — what more important business could you possibly have than to accept this offer Jesus extends to you now?
Carefully consider your decision. This prayer can help you get started toward your two appointments with God: “Dear Lord, I need You. I know that I am a sinner in need of Your forgiveness. I ask You to forgive me of my sins. I ask Jesus to come into my life right now and cleanse me. I trust Jesus as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
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Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are taken from The New King James Version, copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982, by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee. Used by permission. All rights reserved.