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Four Final Things
Theme of the week: A Matter of Life and Death
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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Key Bible Verses: And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Mark 8:36-37) Dig Deeper: Mark 8:31-38

The great question of life is really a question about death: How then should one live, knowing that life will end? If death means nothing more than extinction then what we do in life doesn't mean anything. It's just, "Let's feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!" (1 Cor. 15:32). But if there is a reckoning after death—a tribunal to stand before, a judge to answer to—then everything changes. The Holy Scriptures assert that this is precisely the case—that in the end there are four final things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. The first two are inevitable, unavoidable. We cannot choose whether to face death and judgment, for we are all "destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Heb. 9:27, NIV).

But we do have a choice about the second two, heaven and hell. All eternity hinges on the choices we make in this life. Martin Luther said there were only two days on his calendar: "today" and "that day." Each second that passes brings us closer to Judgment Day, to "that day." So Jonathan Edwards resolved "never to do anything I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life."

—Ben Patterson in Muscular Faith

My Response: Since Christians believe salvation is a free gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9), why does it matter how I live my life? If I'm not sure, I will take this question to my pastor, small group leader, or Sunday school teacher.

Thought to Apply: It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day.—Matthew Henry (British Presbyterian minister)

Adapted from Muscular Faith (Tyndale, 2011) by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced.

Prayer for the Week
Dear heavenly Father, help me to keep focused on what really matters—on what will last long after my life on earth is finished.

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