I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies. –John 11:25
Most people today think that because they have some good works or were baptized or went to church, they are good enough to get into heaven. But at the final judgment God will raise all of these unbelievers who rejected Jesus Christ’s offer of salvation. And He will say, “Okay, you want to be judged by your works? Let’s get out the books, and we will look at your works.”
What the unbeliever doesn’t understand is this: God doesn’t grade on a curve. God doesn’t say, “Well, you are better than Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and child molesters, so I will let you into heaven.” No, the standard by which every person will be judged is the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. God demands 100 percent perfection to enter heaven. Who qualifies for that? None of us. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The Christian recognizes his or her sin and says, “God, I can’t be good enough. I need Your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins; He took the punishment I deserve for my sins. I’m trusting in Jesus.” The Bible says when you say that and mean that, your name is written in the book of life.
But the majority of people will be raised for everlasting judgment. Revelation 20:15 says, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” That’s another term for hell. In spite of the fact that Jesus talked more about hell than He did about heaven, many people refuse to believe in hell. You know, it’s intellectually dishonest to say, “I believe what Jesus says about heaven, but I don’t believe what He says about hell.” Either you believe everything Jesus said, or you believe none of what He said.
What are you trusting in to save you from God’s judgment? Are you trusting in what other people say, or are you going to trust in the only Person who has ever been on the other side of death? Jesus said the majority of people will be raised for everlasting judgment.
But there is another group who will be raised to experience eternal joy. In John 11:25 Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” Because Jesus defeated sin and death, one day those of us who believe in Jesus will also defeat sin and death. Now, to believe in Jesus doesn’t mean to agree to intellectual facts about Jesus. The word “believe” means to trust in, to cling to, to put your whole faith in. When we believe in Jesus, we are saying, “God, I know I deserve Your punishment, but I’m clinging to the fact that Jesus died for me to save me from my sins.” That’s what it means to believe in Jesus.
Hallelujah! We serve a risen savior. And because Jesus defeated death, so will those of us who have trusted in Him.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Tale from the Crypt” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.