It doesn’t seem right somehow, that an opportunity lost might well be lost for good. That is just not how things ought to be and would surely not be the order of things were it up to us. But of course, we live in a world that is not of our making and cannot be changed by merely wishing it so. It is easier then to just avoid thinking about the finality of final things.
Second chances are the order of the day. As if some game show host in charge of life will always ask; ”is that your final answer?”. We are in the habit of using the word final to mean something decidedly less. When the preacher says…”now finally in conclusion”, it doesn’t always mean that he’s about finished or even getting close.
Intuition suggests that life owes us another chance. Our sense of entitlement agrees. We actually expect at least one more kick at the can and one more go at life before it’s over. When life plays out that way for most of us, our expectations are confirmed. When second chances become a third and a fourth, urgency disappears replaced by a false sense of security. This is dangerous. The scriptures teach us, that all too soon today will be our last, and the spiritual state that we are in on that day is the one in which we will stand before God in judgement (Heb 9:27).
There will be no turning back the clock, because time will be no more. God’s decision about our eternal destiny will be irrevocable. He will not change his mind even if we change ours. If we don’t like what He says, there will be no court of appeal. No one will judge the judge. No one will declare a mistrial and no one will walk on a technicality. As God is the same yesterday, today and forever, God’s final verdict will be absolute. God will not change his mind or vacate his decisions. He will not equivocate or insert a ‘faint hope’ clause. There is no early release program from Hell and were there such a thing as ‘good behaviour’ there, it would be too little, too late.
Final Judgement means – no going back
- No going back to make things right.
- No going back to say I’m sorry”, “You’re forgiven”, or “please forgive me”.
- No going back to seize the day or take hold by faith of life eternal.
- No going back to the fork in the road that led us away from God.
Final is final. We won’t get a do-over. No one gets to live twice – which makes this life incredibly important. You and I are are people of today. Today is all that we have (Heb. 3:13-15).
Even now we live from moment to moment but can’t call a single one back. Time passes permanently as our lives become history. While it is not just eternity that is final, there is a finality to it unlike any other.
Here and now, we may never undo the wrongs that we have done, but we can repent. We can turn from a life of sin and resolve in our hearts to follow Jesus. We can receive the forgiveness that God offers us in Christ. For while it is still today, God in his patience grants us time to be saved. If God’s will alone were at work, then all would be saved for He does not want anyone to perish (2nd Pet. 3:9). Since not everyone will be saved, there are clearly more minds at work than His. Repentance still matters because the clock is still running.
Day by day we are living out judgement to ourselves. One by one, choices that seem trivial add up either to a life of obedience to God or to a life outside of God’s kingdom (Acts 13:46). On that final day, Jesus will announce the verdict that we have chosen for ourselves.
God has created us in such a way that we really do get to choose. This is as wonderful as it is sobering. It is wonderful that God regards us so highly that he does not cancel out our choices. Yet it is sobering to know that God has attached eternal weight and consequence to the days of our lives and dispositions of our hearts. He urges us to choose life in Christ so that life in his presence here will lead to life eternal in His presence on that final day.