Even if there was an exception to the rule, why does everyone assume they’re the exception? You’d have better odds of winning the lottery than being that one out of seven billion people that God shows exceptional mercy to, and given that you knew better and much was given to you, it’s not that you didn’t have the time or opportunity to repent, you’re likely in rebellion.
It’s always the thief on the cross, isn’t it? What about him? Given that he’d have likely been dead by the next sunrise, exigent circumstances came into play. It wasn’t as though he could have revisited the topic of eternity at a later date. When you’ve been hanging on a cross in the midday sun, finding it harder to breathe each time you inhale, everything becomes crystal clear.
We can infer from his words that the thief on the cross had never met Jesus until that time. It’s not as though he’d run into Him by the sea of Galilee, heard Him speak, saw Him do miracles, and decided to pass on the whole salvation thing. This was his first opportunity to be in the presence of Christ, and he believed Him to be who He claimed to be. “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” is not something one says if one doubts the veracity of Christ’s lordship. From his brief interaction with Jesus, the man had faith and believed, and as such, Christ promised him Paradise.
Many people are banking on being the exception to the rule and not treating the prospect of eternity and where they will spend it with the requisite seriousness. True, you only live once and can only die once, but after this, the judgment. It’s that last part nobody wants to consider because it puts a damper on the whole life in the fast lane mindset.
This morning has nothing to do with Jude. Consider this a public service announcement, and whoever this was meant to be for, whoever will run across it either today or a year from now, though you may not acknowledge it, your time on earth is as finite as the thief’s was as he hung on that cross. You may not be enduring the horrors of crucifixion, but will it take that to come to terms with your mortality? I hope not.
It is estimated that some 330,000 people die every day in the world. Thankfully, if you’re reading this, you were not among them today. Can you guarantee you won’t be tomorrow? That’s the crux of it, the factor the devil is hoping you won’t consider until it’s too late: The reality that tomorrow is guaranteed to no man, myself included.
Contrary to the myths you may have heard, you’re gone, and there’s no workaround once you're gone. It may comfort those left behind to light candles or pray for the souls of the dearly departed, but while you lived, you made choices, and your choices will have eternal consequences. There’s no changing one’s trajectory after they’ve breathed their last, no matter how many candles you light on their behalf. You can burn the world in the hope of lighting someone’s way out of the pit, to no avail.
Who you were here, what you accomplished in the world, the status you achieved, or the renown you amassed hold no weight on the other side. The great leveler comes for us all sooner or later. Rich men and poor share the same dirt once they are no more; the only difference is that one likely gets a nicer box than the other. Beyond that, eternity. Heady prospect, I know, but not as heady as the two destinations available to man, as well as the itinerary for each.
Call it Heaven, Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom; it is markedly different from the other destination afforded to man. In case you were wondering, it’s a binary choice. There are no alternatives, and there is no third destination. While Heaven is a place of rest, where those who believe that Jesus Christ is Lord will be in the presence of God for all eternity, Hades is a place of torment where fire is the predominant theme. But you’re thinking; I like the heat; it’s why I moved to Arizona. Nobody likes it that hot, and it’s not a dry heat.
Contrary to the devil’s propaganda, hell is not a place where you rock out with long-dead musicians; it’s a place where the fire burns, the worm never sleeps, and the last thing on anyone’s mind is a jam session. As Jesus tells it, a man in the torments of Hades begged Father Abraham for nothing more than for Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool his tongue.
You’ll always get the short end making deals with the devil. You will always be underwhelmed when it comes to collecting, no matter what he promised you. No matter how much he might try to pretty up the notion of hell, the reality of it is still undeniable and bleak enough to make any sane person want to stay out. There’s only one way of staying out of hell: Jesus. If you’re reading this and you don’t yet know Him, don’t delay; all you may have is today.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.
Posted on 6 May 2023 | 11:28 am
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