We know that to everything there is a season, and that there is an appointed time for every purpose under the sun. There are things you can’t do when you’re seventy that you could do when you were twenty; there are things that you can’t do tomorrow that you could have done today. Time is fluid, it is like a river, and if we let a moment pass us by, we will never again in our lifetime encounter that particular moment ever again.
Today I wanted to discuss things that we can’t do after we die, and the importance of doing them today, right now, while we still have breath, while we are still animated, while we are still able. The enemy loves the notion of ‘tomorrow’ he loves the idea that the young think they are immortal and they have many years ahead of them, and so he attempts to influence those who are easily influenced not to turn to God, not to repent, not to seek His face today, because there will always be a tomorrow. For some, tomorrow will never come, and dying in their sins they stand before the judgment seat of God with no excuse except that they thought they had more time to receive the grace of Christ, and be made clean by the power of His blood.
It’s not just the young, even those in the twilight of their existence put off until tomorrow what they ought to do today, because confronting the reality of our mortality is one of the most difficult things that we as human beings have to do. We don’t want to think about it, we don’t want to acknowledge it, because we think that if we ignore it, then death will never come knocking. You are mortal, I am mortal, these husks of flesh have an expiration date that only God knows, and as such there are things that we must do now, today, because they are the things that we will not be able to do after we have gone from this earth.
The first thing we can do while we are alive, and we cannot do after we have died is repent.
We know the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, it is a frightening portrait of being separated from God, it is a frightening portrait of the great gulf that is fixed, across which no one can pass though they might want to.
In the midst of his torments, the rich man experienced a moment of selflessness wherein he remembered his brothers, five in number, and asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment. Abraham then explained that they had Moses and the prophets and it was them they ought to hear, then the rich man said something that ought to stir to wakefulness every soul that thinks they can make amends, and get right with God after their passing from this earth.
Luke 16:30, “And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead they will repent.”’
If there was any chance of repentance or reconciliation with God after death, why would the rich man be so passionate about someone warning his brothers to repent, that they might not also come to the place of torment?
If the possibility of affecting our eternity existed after death, then the rich man would have simply said, ‘let my brothers live their lives, let them revel in their sin, let them enjoy all there is to enjoy, because once they get here, they’ll sort it out, repent, and be reconciled unto God.’
There is a great gulf; the gulf is fixed, so that those who want to pass from the torments of Hades to Abraham’s bosom cannot.
The second thing we can do while we are alive, and we cannot do after we have died is love our neighbor as ourselves.
There will come a day when many will wish that they had testified of Christ while they had the opportunity, there will come a day when many will wish they had been bolder in their convictions, and more loving in regards to their neighbors, so much so that they’d told them the truth. It is not love to watch someone headed for destruction yet do nothing and say nothing. It is not love lending someone a cup of sugar, but not telling them that their eternity hinges on their decisions while they still have breath. While he was alive the rich man was only concerned about himself, he fared sumptuously every day, and was clothed in purple and fine linen, now when it was too late he wanted to warn his brothers and testify to them that they might repent, but it was no longer an option. Love your neighbor as yourself today, while you can, and if you don’t want to be cast out of the kingdom of God and from before His holy face, then you should desire the same thing for your neighbor as well.
The third thing we can do while we are still alive and not after we have died is have our prayers answered.
Once more we return to the parable of the rich man who died, and was presently in the torments of Hades, and we are told repeatedly that he cried, and he begged, but to no avail. God hears you now! God answers you now! He will not hear our pleas and our cries after we have passed from this life, He will not answer us when we beg Him for forgiveness, it is now, while we have breath that we must come before a loving Father and learn to fellowship with Him. If there is anything you need to repent of, do it today; if you desire to grow your relationship with God, do it today; if you desire to know more of Him and speak to Him, and have Him speak to you, don’t put it off until tomorrow because today is all you and I are guaranteed. This moment is all that we can be certain of as far as these vessels are concerned, and once this moment has passed, only God knows what the next moment will bring.
The fourth thing we can do while we are still alive and not after we have died is choose to pursue the things of the kingdom of God and not the things of this world.
We cannot perceive this present life as the world perceives it, we cannot chase after the things that the world deems as ‘good things’ but rather we must see this life through spiritual eyes and pursue the riches of the kingdom of God with all diligence. The consequence of choice hangs heavy, and if we choose the things of this earth rather than the things of God, if we pursue the things of this world rather than the things of the kingdom, one day we will be called to account.
Life is a gift, it is precious, and while we have life may we repent, may we love our neighbors as ourselves, may we pray for the grace of God to overflow in us, and may we choose the things of the kingdom rather than the things of this earth.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.