Let me ask you a question. Are you ready? “Am I ready for what?” you may ask. Am I ready to graduate from school? Am I ready for that new job, or promotion at work? Am I ready to get married? Am I ready to hit the lottery? Am I ready to retire?
These are all fine questions, but they are not THE question. The biggest, most important question you will ever face is this: Are you ready to stand in front of God on judgement day and give an account for your life?
Some will answer no, and not care at all.
Some will answer no, and be concerned about it.
Some will answer yes, based on being a good person.
Some will answer yes, based on their good works or religious activity.
Some will answer yes and profess the name of Christ.
But don’t be mistaken. We will all stand in front of God one day and be judged by Him according to His perfect moral standard. We will have to give an account to Him for each and every lie we have told, because God is truth and we know it. We will have to give an account for each and every time we have stolen anything, regardless of value. We will have to give an account for each and every time we dishonored and disobeyed our parents. We will have to give an account for each and every time we have used God’s holy name in vain. We will have to give an account each and every time we have had anger in our hearts towards other people, because God is love, and we know it. We will have to give an account for each and every time we have been sexually immoral, whether it be pornography, fornication (sex outside of marriage), adultery, or homosexuality, because God is pure, and we know it.
Are you ready? The bible tells us that none of us are ready to be held accountable to God’s perfect standard in keeping His moral law. “There is none righteous, no, not one.” “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” No one will be able to profess innocence on that day. Some will argue with the Judge, saying that their offense was small, not understanding the magnitude of sinning against the Creator of all, who is “holy, holy, holy.” Some will attempt to bargain with the Judge, offering up good deeds, as if the Judge is not perfectly just and is willing to overlook heinous crimes, and not knowing that “There is none who does good, no, not one,” and not knowing that “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” Some will plead with the Judge, saying “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” as if their religious activity can satisfy the Divine judgement. He will declare to them, “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
So, are you ready?
If you are not, the judgement of God will be eternal damnation in hell, suffering in fire and darkness, completely separated from any goodness of God, where there will not be any of God’s goodness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
There is one way, and only one way, to be ready.
Because God is not only just, but also merciful and compassionate and loving, He has provided a solution for those who stand before Him in judgement.
He sent His eternally begotten Son, Jesus, to live as a man in His creation. Jesus, born of a virgin, fully God and fully man, lived a perfect, sinless life on this earth for 33 years, the life we’ve never lived for one day. He never once broke the law of God we break every day. He never once lied, stole, dishonored His parents, swore, was angry, or sexually immoral. And because it pleased God to crush His Son, Jesus was arrested, mocked, spit upon, beaten, whipped, and ultimately hung on a cross to die. In doing so, He faced and took the fierce wrath of God, the wrath that we all deserve, and in doing so atoned for sin. He paid the price, paid the ransom, paid the fine, in our stead.
On the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead, forever defeating sin and death.
Whoever repents (has a change on mind, going from loving their sin to hating their sin like God hates it, and forsaking it) and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ will be forgiven of their sin. When one repents and believes, their sin is placed on (imputed to) Christ and Christ’s righteousness is placed on (imputed to) them. God then justifies them (declares them righteous) and adopts them into His family, and they go from being children of the devil and children of wrath, subject to eternal hell, to being children of God with the promise of everlasting life.
Have you ever heard of such a kind, loving thing? That God himself would pay the fine of guilty criminals?
Are you ready? There is one way, and only one way, to be ready: by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Outside of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, there is no other way to be ready. The Lord God commands everyone everywhere to repent and believe the good news.
Some who read this may be professing Christians. The bible says to “examine yourselves, to see if you are in the faith.” Why do you consider yourself a Christian? Is it because you were “born a Christian” or “went to church all your life?” Is it because you prayed the “sinner’s prayer” or walked an aisle or filled out a card, or raised your hand at church? Is it because you were baptized as a baby and have partaken of sacraments? None of these things makes one a Christian. To be a Christian you must be born again, entering through the narrow gate of repentance and faith in Christ. You must have been poor in spirit, mourning over your sin, and hungering and thirsting for righteousness. A Christian will continually repent of sin, keep the commandments, love their brothers and sisters in Christ, forsake the things of this world, and desire the pure milk of the word of God.