The End Is Near
For many years it seemed there was no end to the voices predicting the approaching end of the world. History has witnessed many of these, but the advent of the printing press, radio, television, and now the internet have given them a bigger platform and a broader hearing. But even with these, people, including Christians, have become somewhat inoculated and immune to the sensational cries of coming destruction or even Christ’s return.
Sadly, it seems this is true regarding any sense of urgency about spiritual things and, in particular, the brevity of life. A Christian I heard about had on his desk the words, “It is later than you think”. This served to remind him and others of the brevity of life and the importance of making life count. Doomsday scenarios notwithstanding, it is necessary for each of us to realize that “time waits for no man” (or woman), and that if we are to finish well, we must live with the end in view.
A survey of Biblical history reveals some significant personalities who began strong but ended poorly. King Saul began as a glorious leader towering above his peers but ended falling upon his own sword. Solomon inherited a kingdom which had seen the defeat of all enemies and ruled over unimaginable wealth and glory, only to leave a legacy to his descendants of immorality, idolatry, and, vanity. Hezekiah led a revival of Biblical religion that was unprecedented at the time, was humbled by the Prophet’s prediction of his early death, then was graciously granted 15 more years of life by God. But as the years of that God-given reprieve neared their end, he squandered God’s grace, acted foolishly, and exposed the people of God to dangers that would destroy a future generation.
By contrast, Joseph struggled with pride in his early years but was later used by God to rescue a generation and cast a vision for the people of God for generations to come. Daniel was taken captive by a pagan empire and made physically incapable of having offspring. Yet, he wielded power and Godly influence among the ungodly all of his adult life and lived an example of faith and Godliness for many generations to come. The Apostle Paul was a vengeful and vindictive persecutor of the first century church who had every intention of ridding the landscape of every follower of Christ. But, by God’s grace, he became a follower of the Christ he persecuted, committed himself to bringing the Gentiles to Christ, and invested his life and the Scriptures in the lives of those who would carry the Gospel to the next generation.
All of this will move us, I pray, to remember “it is later than you think”, to “live with the end in view”, and “the end is near”. These have become cliches but not worthless ones. James’ admonition to realize life is a “vapor which is here for a moment then vanishes away” should drive us to God and ask Him for the grace to end well. The alternative is frightening and unacceptable. Therefore live every day before the face of God and end well.
By God’s Grace,