For a number of years the Rolling Stones sang “Time Is On My Side,” but as they creak around the stage, they can no longer sing that song with a straight face. The reality is that time is not on anyone’s side.
Many things are of great value because they are so rare. If you could collect diamonds like sand on a seashore, they would be almost worthless, because they would be so plentiful. Diamonds are of incredible value because they are so rare. The same is true with time. Your time is of great value because your lifespan on earth is relatively short compared to an unending eternity. If you think about it, a month blows by like the wind! The passing of just 120 months means that 10 years of your life has already passed you by!
Our time on earth is truly very short! Our experience of time is also very subjective and seems to speed up with age. When we were children, that final week before Christmas seemed to take an eternity. When we are older, that same week before Christmas seems to speed right by threatening to leave us unready for the festivities.
We cannot cheat time, the death rate is still at 100 percent, and over a whopping 55 million people die each and every year. Like milk, we have an expiration date. Tragically, most people take their time on earth for granted and live under the illusion that they are promised tomorrow. God’s Word soberly warns us that we are not promised tomorrow and that even the length of our days is like a mere breath or vapor that appears for a moment and is gone:
“Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.” (Proverbs 27:1)
“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)
In fact, if you examine the width of your hand and measure it against eternity, you will see that it is nothing by way of comparison. This is the exact analogy that God gives to warn us that our lives are very short:
“You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.” (Psalm 39:5)
Sadly, most people only value their time on earth when they are on their deathbeds and their life is next to gone. Millions more die suddenly, unprepared to stand before God; clueless that the days of their lives were numbered. We attend funerals regretting that we failed to take time to tell others we loved them. God’s Word actually tells us that going to a funeral is far better than going to a party, because a funeral provides a vital reality check that forces us to consider if we are prepared to face God and eternity. God’s Word declares:
“Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies—so the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time … Remember Him [God] before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it … That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2-4; 12:6, 7, 13-14)
The problem? Most people live for today, giving little thought about eternity and getting right with God until it‘s too late. Most people are involved in a rat race, seeking to accumulate material things that they can’t afford just to impress people they don’t even like, and that they can’t take with them into eternity. Jesus warned, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)
Jesus illustrated this point in a parable about a rich man who foolishly boasted that he would build barns to contain all his wealth with no thought of God and his future beyond the grave:
“And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:19-21)
No one has to die a fool. We can learn to take our time seriously and make wise decisions based on facing the reality that our days are short and by gaining an eternal perspective before it is too late:
“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
God states in his Word that the fool gives no thought to his future, but the wisest people in the world consider their end and make decisions based upon insuring a bright, eternal future beyond the grave. The Psalmist said:
“Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.” (Psalm 39:4)
Since our lives are almost over and eternity is forever, where we spend eternity is the most important question we will ever face. But remember, we only have a short time to render a decision. All of us are accountable to our Creator and there are no second chances after we die:
“And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)
“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12)
God’s Word warns, “Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12). Dear reader, are you prepared to stand before God in judgment? Are you right with God? Have your sins truly been forgiven? Our guilty consciences should bare witness to God’s Word regarding the fact that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 6:23). God defines sin as transgression of His moral law, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; indeed, sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). Everyone, including you and me, has committed serious soul-damming crimes against God by breaking His moral law.
Have you ever told a lie, hated someone in your heart, or taken something that belongs to someone else, no matter how small? These are called transgressions against God’s moral law, making us lying, thieving murderers at heart! Have you ever put anyone or anything before God? This would make you an idolater and God’s Word states that all idolaters go to the lake of fire (Revelation 21:7-8).
We will never be able to get to heaven based on our own good works. Why? Because our crimes against God and others bar heaven’s gates and God’s Word declares, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). One of the tragedies of sin is that sin causes spiritual death by separating us from God and His spiritual life:
“The soul who sins shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20)
“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
Not being ready to meet God entails horrific, eternal and irreversible consequences. We end up going into a Christless eternity, separated from God in eternal judgment:
“And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth … Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’ … these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” (Matthew 25:30,41; 2 Thessalonians 1:9)
Thankfully, because God made us and loves us, He is willing to forgive us and does not want you to perish for eternity in the flames of hell:
“Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)
“[God] desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
The Good News is that even though God hates sin and rebellion, He loves you so much that in His great love, He gave His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to pay the huge fine of your sin debt on the cross:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)
Before leaving earth, the first thing you need to do to prepare for eternity and meet God is to humbly admit that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness and salvation. God declares that the one who claims to be without sin is self-deluded and makes God a liar, compounding his problem forever:
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us … If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that His word has no place in our hearts.” (1 John 1:8, 10)
After acknowledging that we have a sin problem we must then embrace God’s sole provision for our forgiveness in the free gift He has given in His Son. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the only way to be saved because He alone had the infinite value as the God-man to pay for the sins of the whole world (Hebrews 3:1-3).
Jesus not only died for our sins on the cross, but He rose from the dead on the third day, conquering the grave and death. While Jesus died for the world, His blood is only efficacious for those who repent and place their trust in Him. This is why God calls everyone to repent before they die, including you:
“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)
To repent means to have a change of mind and a new attitude in your heart toward your sin and toward God, which leads to a change of actions. It means we turn from the broad road that Jesus said leads to destruction and we embrace the narrow road that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14). To receive the free gift of life in Christ, we must place our faith in Him as our Savior and confess Him as Lord of our lives:
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
The term “Lord” means master and owner. Jesus, as our Creator and Savior, is the rightful owner of our eternal souls. If you have not yet turned to Jesus Christ for salvation, the bible says, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2). Simply surrender your heart and life to God and receive the free gift of eternal life today and become part of the family of God. Jesus said that the angels of God rejoice when just one sinner comes to repentance (Luke 15:7)!
Dear reader, do not make the worst mistake of your life by putting off today that which you may not be able to do tomorrow, because tomorrow for you may never come. Choose life by choosing Christ today, as the odds of playing with time are too great, life is too short, the stakes are too high, and eternity without Christ is far too long!
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