Death is certain regardless of how you live
Published 2:58 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022
In Genesis 5, God records for us the genealogy from Adam to Noah. It is amazing how long each of the people listed lived. For example, Adam the first man, lived 930 years. Lamech, according to verse 31, lived 777 years. There are many other people listed in that chapter, and each lived long lives. What would it be like to live that span of years, what could we accomplish with so much time to live? Many of those that lived in those days accomplished much throughout the years of their lives. Some lived those years serving God and others serving themselves. But one thing is certain they all eventually died. In every case mentioned, the Bible states that, “He or She died.”
The same is true of all men, regardless of the years we have on Earth, it will one day be said of us, and then he or she died. While living a long life may be desirable to many, when we die it will not really matter how long we lived. The number of years we live are not as important as the quality of life we lived.
When we die what will really matter is not how we have lived in the past but how we were living when we died. We learn in Ezekiel 18:20-32, that each of us will be judged according to the lives we lived. Many have lived wicked lives in the past but have repented and came to God in true repentance while others once lived according to God’s Word and then turned again to sin. But in each case men still die and then the number of years we lived will not be important but rather how we lived in those years.
So many people live for the riches of life; that was the case for the rich man found in Luke 16:19-31. Even with all his riches, he died and lifted up his eyes in torment because he trusted more in his riches than he trusted God. On the other hand, the poor man, Lazarus, with no physical wealth, died and found himself in the bosom of Abraham. For each of these men, the important thing was what they trusted in life. When we die will it be said that we trusted in riches or in God.
When it is said that we have died what will be of importance is whether we have kept the commands of God. According to Jesus in Mark 10:21, we must be willing to take up our cross in obedience and follow Jesus. James reminds us that if we offend in one point we are as guilty as if we have broken all the laws of God. Many Jews, like the Pharisees, did many right things, but lacked some essentials according to Jesus in Matt. 23:23, And for that they were condemned.
Today as in all times throughout mankind’s history, some have been poorly treated. Often, we hear the complaints of Christians concerning how they are being mistreated. While it is sad that people of God are often mistreated, what is of real importance is how we as people of God treat others. Paul in Romans 12:17-21 teaches that we must not repay evil with evil and that we should make every effort possible to live with all men in peace. Perhaps it would be best to remember the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5:44. There, Jesus taught that we must love our enemies and those that mistreat us and then He reminds us that we must pray for them as well. Instead of going through life feeling sorry for ourselves we should follow the advice of Jesus.
Many men are concerned with how much they have been troubled in the world. Perhaps our lives would be better spent focusing on how much we have troubled the world. Regardless of the trouble we may encounter in our short lives, Jesus still requires us to be obedient and follow him (Matt. 18:7).
Many live only to impress their fellow man. But when it is said of us that we have died, what will be of importance is how we have impressed God. According to Matthew 6:1-4, God knows everything about our lives. He knew about the Sadducees, and Pharisees, He knew about Herod and his mistreatment of others, and He knew about Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5). All these were concerned with how the world looked on them rather than how God saw them.
When we have died it will not matter how much good we have done if we have not repented of the evil in our lives (Rev. 2:1-5). Though Cornelius was a good man, when he learned the truth concerning Christ and His gospel, he like all men had to come to God in obedience (Acts 10). Many have the false conception that they can make up for sin toward God and others by their good works. God demands repentance to be followed by good works. For this reason alone, many will find themselves in torment in the day of judgment.
If you are not a Christian why not repent of sin, confess the name of Jesus, and be baptized? If you are an erring Christian, then follow the advice given to Simon the sorcerer, repent and pray (Acts 8:22). One day it will be said of us, “and he/she died.” On that day it will be too late to make any change. On that day what will really matter?
(Tony Hoss is minister of Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton)