Standing Before God on Judgment Day Who will make it into heaven and Who won’t – you may be surprised.
Four men stood before God on Judgment Day. One was confident, one was afraid, one didn’t care, and one was worried.
One had gone to Church every Sunday his entire life. One had gone to Church only on every Christmas and every Easter during his later years. One had never seen the inside of a Church. One believed in the Church.
One read the Bible, cover to cover, at least one time through, every year. One read the best-selling Christian books of the day, but didn’t understand much of the Bible when he read it, so he didn’t. One had taken a look at the Bible only 3 times in his life. One loved the feeling of what the words of the Bible did inside his head and heart.
One feared. One hated. One loved. One loathed.
One was a Catholic. Made it to the important Church services, Christmas and Easter. He did his religious duty with the Bible, making sure to read it through at least once every year, even the very boring parts. He didn’t get much out of it, but dang it, he was doing his duty! Very conscious of his sin, and sick of standing approved before a priest his whole life, he loathed the judgment of God.
One was a heathen. Money, alcohol and sex are what tripped his trigger. He thought Church was a joke. He cussed and swore whenever anyone brought up the subject of God. He’d never seen the inside of a Bible…..well, he had peeked inside three times. He hated the very idea of judgment.
One went to a an independent, charismatic Church. He wouldn’t dream of missing a Sunday going to Church. He had a hard time reading the Bible, because of all the apparent contradictions between a loving God and the one who killed and was filled with wrath half the time. But he loved his Christian bookstore. Yet, always feeling quite inadequate when it came to the things of God, he dreaded His judgment.
One liked to think of himself as simply a believer. He believed that the Church was all the people in whom the spirit of Christ dwelt, and though he’d been to Sunday Church a few times, actually preferred the fellowship and intimacy of smaller, home-based groups. He didn’t read the Bible every day, not even every week. But he had a most endearing relationship with it, and could spend an hour dwelling on a single verse. When the day of Judgment came, He loved it.
After Judgment Day had come and gone, the four happened to come together in a lovely wooded park by the side of a lake. The Heathen, the Catholic, the Charismatic and the Believer. “Why, I can’t believe I’m actually here,” exclaimed the Heathen. The Catholic was also ecstatic. “Thank God it had nothing to do with my sins,” he rejoiced. The Charismatic gloried, “I don’t even want to think of all the times I spent thinking about how far short of God I lived my life,” he said. And then all three looked at the Believer, put their arms on his shoulders, and thanked him for having taken the time to share the truth of Jesus Christ with them during their lives.
For the heathen had believed….once. And that foundation of Christ having been laid, he had built nothing upon it. The Catholic had believed, but built only religious liturgy and rote prayer in guilt and shame upon his righteous foundation. The Charismatic had believed, but had chosen to build sanctification of his flesh upon the foundation of the incorruptible seed of Christ within him, thus bearing little to no spiritual fruit. But the Believer, imperfect as he was, had gloried in the ongoing work of his Lord Jesus Christ in his life. And so his life had borne much spiritual fruit.
And the four men stood there, enjoying the beauty of the day and of their surroundings. And they rejoiced together in the gift of God of eternal life which had been given to them through the work of Jesus the Christ, their lord, brother and savior. And in the heart and mind of each man, a course was being enjoyably charted and plotted, a spiritual journey that would bring each man into overflowingly fulfilled lives of indescribably glorious adventure; lives filled with rejoicing, thankfulness, peace and spiritual gifts of all kinds…..lives that would be perfect exhibits of the kindness of God.
For standing beside God on that Judgment Day had been Jesus Christ Himself, the firstborn from the dead. And as each one of those four men had approached the judgment seat, Jesus had leaned over and whispered three simple words into the ear of his Father….”I know him.”
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.