Anyway, surely everything we do in life counts for something, be it good or bad?
So is it a matter of accounting then? If the number of good, unselfish things in our lives outnumber the bad will we come out alright? Again it’s tempting to think that way but a niggle persists. How could someone ever be sure they’ve done enough good?
Some don’t like to be too specific. They hide guilt behind generalities and vague, noble sounding aspirations, seeming to think that if we shout things like ‘peace’ and ‘justice’ loud enough and long enough others will forget the cruel atrocities of war.
So is direction the key then? Can a course be justified if we mean or meant well?
Per- haps, but then whose value system do we use? Didn’t Adolf Hitler have some good intentions for his people?
Thankfully ultimate assessment of all our lives rests in safer hands than ours.
The Bible soberly informs us that Almighty God has set a date for ‘judgement’ of all people. Appraisal will be impartial, meticulously accurate and although it’s been there in the church creeds for centuries, many are surprised to find that it will come through Jesus Christ.
‘[God] commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this by raising him from the dead.’ (Acts 17 v 30-31)
Jesus is the key, both the measure of what pleases a holy God, and the means by which mere mortals like us can make the grade.
The criterion by which our lives and choices will be assessed is the life and character of Jesus of Nazareth, which is at once comforting and troubling. His life as recorded by eyewitnesses in the New Testament was exemplary in every aspect, pure, courageous, compassionate, obedient and clearly pleasing to His Father God. The trouble is that none of us come close to measuring up. We all have things past and present that require more than simply to be overlooked.
Wrongdoing needs paid for, life for life. The Bible uses the word ‘atonement’ to describe what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross, paying for the forgiveness we need with the offering of His own perfect life.
The personal cost to us is in terms of pride, having to honestly confess our crimes against heaven and our fellow human beings, turn from them and follow the One Who brings reconciliation in new paths of righteousness.
On Judgement Day we dare not plead an honourable finish, a balance sheet in credit or good intentions. The only acceptable plea is Christ!
I plead Jesus, Who welcomed among His 12 apostles political opposites, both terrorists and tax-collectors. Jesus, Who died for such people.
For all people.
And for me.
I’m reassured to know my final life assessment is in capable hands, wise, merciful and scarred by love.
Just one thing. Long before we stand in heaven’s courtroom, with eternal life or death at stake, we do well to willingly and thankfully entrust ourselves now to those loving hands of Christ.
Rest assured - we’ll be safe there.