The Inevitability of Death

God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man.
—Ecclesiastes 3:17

The Bible affirms what is readily observable to all of us: no one gets out of this world alive. As one wag said, “The statistics on death are very impressive: one out of every one dies.” Admittedly, it seems unjust that everyone would experience the same fate regardless of his or her conduct here on earth. Solomon wrestled with this inequity:

It is the same for all. There is one fate for the righteous and for the wicked; for the good, for the clean and for the unclean; for the man who offers a sacrifice and for the one who does not sacrifice. As the good man is, so is the sinner; as the swearer is, so is the one who is afraid to swear. (Ecclesiastes 9:2)

Two men who lived two very different kinds of lives died on June 25, 2009. One man was Michael Jackson. People around the globe watched the memorial service of this entertainer who earned millions of dollars during his relatively brief career. Also on that day Edwin Clayton died. Clayton served for 34 years as pastor of Tomahawk Baptist Church in Midlothian, Virginia. There were no throngs of people in the street at his funeral or media retrospectives about his life and career. One man lived for himself and the other lived to serve God. One experienced fame and riches, while the other lived in obscurity. One man’s life was marked by scandal, while the other man’s life was a model of faithfulness. Yet both men died. Where is the fairness in that? Solomon protested.

Solomon knew the answer. Although there is one fate for all human beings, there are two very different destinies beyond death for the righteous and unrighteous. Solomon believed God’s judgment awaits every person beyond death: “‘God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,’ for a time for every matter and for every deed is there” (Ecclesiastes 3:17)

Jesus Christ also affirmed that there are two very different roads in this life that lead to two distinct destinies in the next life:

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Can I Know I’m Going to Heaven When I Die?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.

Scripture 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.


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