By Paul Smithson
Appointments, there are some we can make or break. There are, however, two appointments that each and every one of us will keep; for these appointments have been set by the Lord. “…It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment…” (Heb. 9:27).
All of us are going to die, and one day be judged by the Lord. The fate of every man is that, “The dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7). Those who refuse to contemplate death are fools. “The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, while the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure” (Eccl. 7:4). This is not saying that we cannot enjoy life and are to go around moping and mourning all the time. Yet, it is teaching that those whose only interest is in the here and now, who has no concern for their soul, are fools.
A truly wise person takes time to reflect upon the brevity of his life and strives to prepare himself for the inevitable. As the psalmist cried out in Ps. 39:4, “Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the extent of my days, Let me know how transient (frail) I am.” The Lord does make known our frailty reminding us, “…You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (Jas. 4:14).
Yet, to most people, death is something that seems to be only a remote possibility. If we are young we feel like we don’t have to think about dying just yet. As we grow older it is still something that we want to put out of our minds till later. But the fact of the matter is, death comes to all, to young and old. Life is short, fleeting, vanishing, and for some it’s shorter than for others– we don’t know how long we will live. Therefore, it is wise to think about the brevity of our life, no matter what our age, and be prepared for death whenever it comes.
Many people fear death and do not want to contemplate it because they are not prepared for it. The only way to be prepared for death is to be in a right relationship with God. Such a relationship comes only by obedience to the gospel of Christ, repenting of sin and being baptized for the forgiveness of sin (Acts 2:38). If there is sin in our life we cannot think of death without fear; for to die in sin is to be lost eternally. But Heb. 2:14-16 tells us that Jesus came to deliver us from the slavery of the fear of death. If one has had their sin and guilt removed by the blood of Christ there is no fear of death; for death to the Christian is simply the ticket home– simply a means to leave this realm for a better one (1Cor. 15:55-57). Thus, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones” (Ps. 116:15). Like God, death is a precious thing to the Christian, something even to be looked forward to as they will leave a world of sin and grief to be comforted by their Lord for an eternity. As the voice John heard from heaven “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from now on!” (Rev. 13:14).
However, speaking of the day of judgment, the Scriptures warn of what will become of those “who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” 2Thess. 1:8-9).
Death and the Judgment are appointments you’ll keep. Are you prepared?