The Heart of the Matter
The ultimate statistic is that one out of one will die. Death is the only certainty of life. As Christians, while we may fear the event, we need not fear the outcome.
We need not fear for this reason: Jesus did not come merely to add to the sum total of our happiness or to offer us a leg up in life or worldly riches, but to save sinners and to rescue us from judgment.
The Bible teaches that God’s judgment and eternal punishment will fall on those whose names are not included in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:11-15). How, then, can we be sure that our names will be found in its pages? There is only one way: by believing in the Lord Jesus. We must look to Christ, who will freely pardon and justify those who come to Him in repentance and faith. And to come to Jesus is about more than mere intellectual assent, necessary though that is. It is not enough to be cerebrally tuned in to Christian doctrine. We must recognize our failure to treat God properly. We have denied and defied Him. We must surrender our lives to His loving authority and rely entirely on what Christ accomplished on the cross that we might find acceptance before God.
The heart of the matter is not whether we believe certain facts about Jesus or the Bible, or whether we’ve cleaned up our lifestyle. The question is, have we ever gotten so spiritually thirsty that we have said, “Lord Jesus Christ, give me Your living water so I may thirst no more”?
But what if Jesus turns us away? What if we’re not supposed to be in the Book of Life? Jesus addressed this fear Himself with a promise, saying, “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37).
Do you realize the kindness of God’s invitation to you? Have you heard God’s call to take refuge in Jesus? Do you hear it afresh each day and take refuge in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 57:1)? May we say with the hymn writer:
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place,
And He has made me glad.
For if we have taken refuge in the Son, we can know with certainty that He has borne our sins in His own death, and that when He returns, we will face not a fearful condemnation but a glorious welcome. And then we can hear the truth that “it is appointed for man to die” and find our hearts still at rest.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
Why Should I Fear in Times of Trouble?
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.
1Hear this, all peoples!
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
2both low and high,
rich and poor together!
3My mouth shall speak wisdom;
the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
4I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.
5Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me,
6those who trust in their wealth
and boast of the abundance of their riches?
7Truly no man can ransom another,
or give to God the price of his life,
8for the ransom of their life is costly
and can never suffice,
9that he should live on forever
and never see the pit.
10For he sees that even the wise die;
the fool and the stupid alike must perish
and leave their wealth to others.
11Their graves are their homes forever,1
their dwelling places to all generations,
though they called lands by their own names.
12Man in his pomp will not remain;
he is like the beasts that perish.
13This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
yet after them people approve of their boasts.2 Selah
14Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
death shall be their shepherd,
and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.
Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.
15But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
for he will receive me. Selah
16Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,
when the glory of his house increases.
17For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
his glory will not go down after him.
18For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed
—and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—
19his soul will go to the generation of his fathers,
who will never again see light.
20Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.
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