Anticipate the End
You are a respectable attender at a place of worship; you go because others go, not because your heart is right with God. This is your beginning. I will suppose that for the next twenty or thirty years you will be spared to continue in this way, professing religion by an outward attendance upon the means of grace, but having no heart in the matter. Tread softly, for I must show you the deathbed of someone just like you. Let us gaze upon him gently. A clammy sweat is on his brow, and he wakes up crying, "O God, it is hard to die. Did you send for my pastor?" "Yes, he is coming." The pastor comes. "Sir, I fear that I am dying!" "Have you any hope?" "I cannot say that I have. I fear to stand before my God. Oh, pray for me." The prayer is offered for him with sincere earnestness, and the way of salvation is for the ten-thousandth time put before him, but before he has grasped the rope, I see him sink.
I may put my finger upon those cold eyelids, for they will never see anything here again. But where is the man, and where are the man's true eyes? It is written, "In Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes."1 Why did he not lift up his eyes before? Because he was so accustomed to hearing the Gospel that his soul slept under it. If you should lift up your eyes in hell, how bitter will be your wailings. Let the Savior's own words reveal the woe: "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame."2 There is a frightful meaning in those words. May you never have to spell it out by the red light of God's wrath!
Family Bible reading plan
verse 1 Malachi 3
verse 2 John 20
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.