Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
The most important preparation you can make for the day of your death is to trust in Christ as your Savior. But just because you are a Christian does not mean you are exempt from God’s judgment. In 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul was talking to Christians when he wrote, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” The Greek word translated as “bad” actually means “worthless.” We are going to be judged for what we do here on earth.
Paul talked more about this judgment in 1 Corinthians 3:12-13: “If any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.” One day, our lives are going to be evaluated by God. And God is going to determine whether our lives have been built around the eternal or the temporal. Paul continued, “If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (vv. 14-15). If God says our lives have been worthless, we will experience loss. There will be rewards in heaven that could have been ours.
I am often asked, “Do you think other people are going to be there for that judgment? Is my grandmother going to see all the stuff I have done?” I do not know the answer to that. But it really does not matter whether anyone is there to see it, because God is going to be there. He is the one who is judging and rewarding. And the Bible says in light of that coming judgment, the time to make God first in our lives is now, before it is too late.
You might say, “I am afraid it is already too late for me.” Perhaps like Solomon, when you were younger, your heart was on fire for God. But then something happened–a divorce, an affair, an addiction, or just some bitter disappointment–that caused you to turn away from God. Or maybe it was not a sudden event but a gradual process, until one day you awakened far from the God you once loved with all your heart. If that is true of you, I have an encouraging word for you: the message of Solomon tells us it is not how you start in your relationship with God that matters; it is how you finish. Solomon, too, spent decades wandering away from God. But in the end, he came back–and so can you. Make God first in your life while there is still time.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Graduation from Hebrew High” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.