What are the ultimate meanings and outcomes of life?
There are so many outstanding people who are not Christians. They are rightly held in honour for all they have achieved and the ways they have benefited others. Yet what will be the ultimate outcomes of their lives from God’s point of view?
The Bible explains that the earthly lives of all people are only a short “proving ground”. The “main event” is their ongoing existence forever! That will begin either after their death, or if Jesus Christ returns to Earth before they die. Whenever he does return, God’s final judgment of all people will occur.
God’s assessment of each Christian’s life
In God’s final judgment, all Christians will “pass as perfect”, because they had chosen to accept his free gift. As their substitute, Jesus Christ’s death will totally cover all their fatal guilt for having ever ignored God or failed to live fully for him:
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him . . . because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.[Hebrews 9:27-28, 10:14]
God’s assessment of each non-Christian person’s life
God will also be passing his final judgment on all people who have notchosen to accept his free gift. They will stillNOTbe OK with him. According to the Bible, this is terrifying bad news and has to be faced. It’s not pretty.
[Personal note: I am most uncomfortable about even writing this. But it’s not about me. I’m “just the messenger”. My job in all of this is to know and make as clear as I can what the Bible says. And this part mustbe made clear for all people.]
Despite living even outstanding lives, each person’s basic imperfectionhas to be dealt with in God’sonlyway. If not, their fatalcondemnation continues and eternal separationfrom God awaits – and that’s no picnic. The Bible mentions this often, such as in a stark story told by Jesus Christ:
There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”
But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things,but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.”
He answered, “Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.”
Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.”
“No, father Abraham,” he said, “but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.”
He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” [Luke 16:19-31]
Note: “Moses and the Prophets” is just another description of the Bible, although at the time it only meant the Old Testament.
Some serious objections to this awful prospect
But, doesn’t the Bible say that God lovesus? Yes, he does. All our life he has loved us and sought our love for him. Yet if a person didn’t want himand his love-gift through his Son, that’s theirchoice. God will never force it onto anyone. His love always includes respecting all people and their own choices. So each must take full responsibility for the consequences. Although that can have very grim outcomes, yet it does make sense. What more could God have done?
But, what about people who have never heard any of this? Well, all Christians have been commandedby Jesus Christ to tell it to others and help them to become his followers too:
Jesus came and told his disciples . . . “go and make disciples of all the nations,[ baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you . . .” [Matthew 28:18-20]
Christians are doing this by many means, now even by worldwide multi-lingual literature, mass media, satellite TV and the internet. It’s also why we gave these notes to you (see “my own story”, page 1). Now it’s over to you – and we want to help you.
Another problem is that there are many otherdefinitions of a “Christian”. Some of these do not closely line up with the Bible’s teachings. They distort, add to or leave out what the Bible says. Other versions of “Christian” mainly rely on observing various long-standing traditions, rules and rituals, some being non-biblical. Still others emphasise less vital biblical items, rather than God’s great gift as outlined above. There are even some that don’t refer to the Bible at all.
Get serious – respond now
It’s vitally important to do your own research – “due diligence” – by closely reading and studying the Bible (the Christian’s “Scriptures”):
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. [Acts 17:11]