My last post, which was also the last post of 2013, was about TV shows which had been cancelled or shows which had been brought to a conclusion and so were finished. As things developed, though I was wrong, I thought that post might also be the concluding post for this blog. I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of views which the blog has continued to receive, even though there has been no new post for about six weeks. Also, I have been amazed at the number of views a particular post has received. My post on the daughters of Zelophedad has received 50 views just this week.
That last post of 2013 mentioned three shows, not by name, that were ending, or so I thought. We’ll still never know what happened to “A” and “B” and the show that concluded satisfactorily has still concluded satisfactorily. However, the third show, I was surprised to discover today, has a new season on Netflix.
Thinking about all this, I decided that these shows are a little like life, not that TV ever shows anything truly life-like, especially “reality shows.” But some things turn out satisfactorily, some things don’t, and there are “surprises” quite often, like we recently had here at home when the furnace and the hot water heater both went on the fritz at the same time. 😦
We live in an age of increasing skepticism. Traditional, that is, Christian, beliefs and morals have largely been jettisoned. The Bible is illegal in schools and government [at least here in the US], and we’re pretty much just circling the drain. Even many churches don’t really believe the Bible to be the Word of God. They’re quite willing to “dialogue” with other religions which deny or contradict Biblical teaching.
Many people deny any such thing as an “afterlife”: “Once you’re dead, you’re dead. There’s nothing beyond the grave.” Believing that, many people spend their lives trying to find some “meaning” to their otherwise drab lives.
In contrast to this view, the Bible clearly teaches that “…it is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment,” Hebrews 9:27. In other words, there is something beyond death and the grave.
There is some discussion among Biblical teachers about what the Bible says about judgment. That discussion isn’t important here. The point is, there IS judgment coming! Revelation 20:11-15 graphically portrays it:
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face earth and heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great [that is, whether famous or unknown], standing before God, and books were opened. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead which were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them. And they were judged, each one according to their works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
This is not a favorite portion of Scripture. Many people simply cannot agree with the idea that a “God of love” would do such a thing. However, the God of Scripture isn’t the God of popular thought. He is a God of righteousness, justice and holiness – as well as “love.” Sin must be punished. Sin will be punished.
One of the local TV stations has a news segment on “cold cases,” that is, crimes which have never been solved. There are several TV shows with this as their theme – the solving of “cold cases.” There will be no “cold cases” in eternity. Every murder, every rape, ever crime, will finally be “solved.” Those who have “gotten away with it” in this life, whether because they were never found or because of some legal maneuvering, will discover that they didn’t really get away with it. Those who are guilty of gross or multiple crimes – like a Hitler or Stalin – which human justice really can’t adequately deal with, will discover that there is One who can.
We will finally find out, so to speak, what happened to “A” and “B”.
Yes, but not everybody is guilty of some crime or other. That is true, however, we are all guilty of sin. We may not have broken man’s law – we always drive the speed limit – but we have broken God’s law. I doubt there’s a single person alive who would say that they have ALWAYS lived as they think they should. If that’s true of us in our own sight, how much more is it true of us in God’s sight?
The issue in Revelation 20 isn’t whether or not one is “good” enough to make it into heaven, but whether or not one’s name is in the “Book of Life.” Those whose names are there have repented of their sins and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. They haven’t joined the church or been baptized or done a hundred of the other things men say must be done in order to be saved; they have simply rested on who the Lord Jesus was and what He did for sinners. In short, they have “believed.” They, and they alone, will enter heaven.
Hebrews 9:27, which we quoted above, also says, Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. In other words, He endured the punishment sinners ought to endure. He paid the price for their sins, though He had none of His own. Indeed, if He would have had sins of His own, He could never have paid for the sins of others. But He lived a perfect and sinless life. That perfect life is credited to those who believe, because we have no such perfection of our own and can never achieve it. That is the only way we will ever “make it” into heaven. His is the only goodness, or righteousness, that God will accept. His is the only payment that can ever be made for sins. We could never pay for even one of our own sins, let alone the myriad of them of which we are guilty.
Though there is much more I could say about all this, I’ll close with this. There is a “new season” beyond the grave. Are you ready for it?