2016 is drawing to a close; it doesn’t have much time left until 2017 arrives. For some, that is a good thing. They anticipate that things can only be better in the coming year. For others, this was a good year and they hate to see it go. For them, things can only get worse in the future. Regardless of how you view the future, in just a few hours this year will end and the next will begin. What is true of this year in history is also true of both our individual lives and the existence of this world in which we live. The only problem is we do not have a calendar to tell us how much time is left for either. But in the same manner as this year will be followed by another year, so our lives will be followed by a future existence and this world will be replaced with another. The question then, is will this be better for you or worse.
That our time to live is limited is almost universally accepted. There was a man who called himself Father Divine who prescribed that if you followed his plan of living you would never die. But now he is the late, Father Divine. Each day that we live is one less day that we have to live. For the Apostle Paul and those who possess the same saving faith as him, death meant that things got better. He wrote, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) I share that outlook. As my body declines in its abilities as does everyone’s with age, I realize that the things that I once was able to do, I cannot do as quickly or as effectively or at all as before. But ahead of me I am promised a body that will not deteriorate. I am thankful for the knowledge and wisdom that I have gained over the years. Hopefully tomorrow I will have gained more. But then, with that increasing age, I will still wonder from time to time why I left one room and went into another.
The same is true for this world. Each day brings new and wonderful inventions that make life easier. I marvel when I travel to visit my children and grandchildren who live in Illinois. In only a matter of hours I can drive from where I live to where they live and be face to face with them. How long would that have taken before the automobile and the turnpike system? And if I need to communicate face to face with them immediately, I just fire up the computer and get on Skype. But while this world is getting better each day from a technology standpoint, it is heading downhill from a moral perspective. We are increasingly moving away from a biblical worldview and in our “increasing intelligence” we can’t even figure out which bathroom to use. But this world will also come to an end one day and be replaced with another (2 Peter 3:10-13).
There is nothing that any person can do to prevent death personally or the destruction of this world. Both have their appointed time of duration and time is running out. But while we cannot stop the clock from ticking, we can change the consequence of each. After death is another existence. After this world is another. For the person who is born again, Paul writes that they will be in the very presence of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). That is why death was gain to him. But for the person who rejects the salvation of God, death only promises eternal judgment in a literal fire (Revelation 20:11-15). And while this world will end, the person who is born again is promised a world where gold is nothing more than paving material (Revelation 21:21) and all the sorrows of this life will be forgotten, never to be experienced again (Revelation 21:4).
Just as 2017 will follow 2016, eternity will follow time. The only question is, “where will you spend it?” That determination is directly related to what you believe concerning Jesus Christ. The Son of God took your sins and died on the cross of Calvary since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). He offers to you forgiveness of sin, having paid for them in full with His blood. Your goodness and good deeds are worthless (Isaiah 64:6). Will you receive him as your Savior? That is the question you must answer. Time is running out!