Spiritual Graduation: Heaven Or Hell

by Kevin Burton

   This time of year, high school seniors are starting to smell that finish line.  Graduation smells like freedom, I remember.

    This is the 27th post focusing on our

Earthly School for the Spiritually Blind.  We have compared physical blindness to spiritual blindness and found the latter much more dangerous.

   Why? Graduation.

   There are spiritual realities. Like laws in a foreign country they are there, in place and being enforced whether you know about them, acknowledge them, or not.   

   Your spiritual graduation is called death. Your high school graduation day was circled on a calendar and much anticipated. The day of your death is not known, except to God, who made you. 

   But you know the time is coming. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted” (Ecc. 3:1-2 KJV).

   The Bible teaches that there are two destinations for those who depart this life. It also teaches that the question of Heaven or Hell is sealed irreversibly at the point of death.  That makes death by far the most important graduation you will see.

   Erwin Lutzer, speaker on Moody Church Radio, has written a book called “One Minute After You Die.” He writes about a passport to Heaven.

   “Those of us who have travelled in foreign countries know the importance of a passport. Regardless of your status or charisma, that document is what qualifies you for entrance and acceptance among the people in a different land,” Lutzer writes.

   “We need a passport to get into heaven,” Lutzer writes “Those who have such a visa can rejoice in their citizenship long before their arrival.”

   “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20 NASB).

   “When Christ dies on the cross He made a sacrifice for sinners, which God accepted. Though Christ was perfect God made him legally guilty of all our sins. In turn we receive His righteousness,” Lutzer writes. 

     “Death rescues us from the endlessness of this existence; it is the means by which those who love God finally are brought to Him” Lutzer writes.

   “Only on this side of the curtain is death our enemy. Just beyond the curtain, the monster turns out to be our friend,” Lutzer writes. “The label ’death’ is still on the bottle, but the contents are ‘life eternal.’”

   This is the post-graduation reality for those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. The Bible teaches that for those who do not accept Jesus, another reality awaits. 

   Here is a summary from a passage on http://www.gotquestions.org:

   “The punishment of the wicked dead in hell is described throughout Scripture as “eternal fire” (Matt. 25:41), “unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:12), “shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2), a place where “the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44-49), a place of “torment” and “fire” (Luke 16:23-24), “everlasting destruction” (2 Thess. 1:9), a place where “the smoke of torment rises forever and ever” (Rev. 14:10-11), and a “lake of burning sulfur” where the wicked are “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev/ 20:10).”
   “The punishment of the wicked in hell is as never ending as the bliss of the righteous in heaven,” reads the passage.

   This stark contrast, with the stakes so high and no do-overs permitted, is the reason why I wrote this series about spiritual blindness. It is the reason why Christians have what can be uncomfortable conversations with unbelievers.   

   This post concludes my series.

   A middle manager at the school where I worked in Mexico, told me “I don’t remember having trouble getting into this world and I don’t think I’ll have trouble getting into the next,” he said.

   Well my brother, no, you won’t. 

      “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” Heb. 9:27 (KJV).

Class notes, Graduation: The Bible teaches that humans are rewarded for their deeds on earth based on salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ or by having rejected Jesus during their life. Those who are blind to this spiritual reality are in great danger. In the six minutes it took for you to read this post an estimated 640 people died worldwide.  All of them went permanently to either Heaven or Hell. 

One for the spiritual road. Here is a prayer from Lutzer’s book that you can use, if prayed in sincerity, to stamp your passport to Heaven:

“Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and that there is nothing that I can do to save myself. I confess my complete helplessness to forgive my own sin or to work my way to heaven.  At this moment I trust Christ alone as the One who bore my sin when He died on the cross. I believe that He did all that ever will be necessary for me to stand in Your holy presence.

I thank you that Christ was raised from the dead as a guarantee of my own resurrection. As best as I can, I now transfer my trust to Him. I am grateful that he has promised to receive me despite my many sins and failures.

Father I take You at Your word. I thank You that I can face death now that You are my savior. Thank you for your assurance that you will walk with me through the deep valley.  Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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