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If … I … die … tonight! Can it be possible that at some moment I must die? That this living, breathing, throbbing body of mine must at some hour cease to be alive? That time will still roll on, others be born to work and play, the sun and stars still shine, but I shall not be here? And if I die tonight, where will I spend eternity?
A divine, unchanging voice replies: “These shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46).
Everlasting punishment for me? Can it be possible that I’ve been intensely busy with the cares, debts, money-making and fun surrounding me and have left God out? Oh, how blind I’ve been! I’ve given my youth, my talents, my thoughts and my ambitions for things that are only passing, and I’ve neglected the most important thing of all — my soul’s salvation!
But if I’d taken the time to find God, to love and serve Him — what then? “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
And I’ve neither heard nor believed! Oh, wretched being that I am! If I were to die tonight, I would spend my eternity in hell. God’s voice confirms my fears. “Be not afraid of them that kill the body. … Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea … fear Him” (Luke 12:4‑5). It makes me think of two different deaths.
Two Contrasting Deaths
After a life spent pleasing himself, Sir Francis Newport, the noted English atheist, lay dying. He exclaimed, “That there is a God, I know, because I continually feel the effect of His wrath. That there is a hell, I am equally certain. Oh that I were to lie a thousand years upon the fire that never is quenched to purchase the favor of God and be reunited to Him! But it is a fruitless wish — millions of years will bring me no nearer to the end of my torments than one poor hour! Oh, eternity, eternity! WHO CAN DISCOVER THE ABYSS OF ETERNITY? OH, THE INSUFFERABLE PANGS OF HELL!” and he died.
By contrast, after a life of service to God, Dwight L. Moody, the evangelist, lay dying. Slowly he said, “Earth recedes; heaven opens before me. It is beautiful. It is like a trance. If this is death, it is sweet. There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go.” And he died.
I wish that I had lived for God! Wasted years — I wish I could relive them now. Is there no escape for me? Must I be lost forever? Am I too late to find my God? God’s Son answers, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus. He is waiting, His loving arms outstretched, His heart overflowing in love and pity — waiting, knocking, patiently standing at the door of your heart. Open to Him before He leaves forever. Will you do so, right where you are? Will you pause in your hurry, for just one brief moment, and quietly surrender right where you are standing? God grant you will — for you may pass into eternity tonight!
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
“The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).