And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. - Hebrews 9:27-28, ESV
You've heard it before: The only two sure things are death and taxes, right? Really? Because some people never do pay taxes. While tax evasion might have caught up with Al Capone, some people have figured out how to legally avoid paying almost all taxes. Others manage to get away with tax evasion for years and aren't found out until after their death.
So, taxes seem far from certain. Does that leave us with only one sure thing? One thing we know for sure is that everyone dies. Doctors and medical researchers discuss the mortality rates of different medical conditions as they battle death and disease. Yet in thousands of years of human existence, the mortality rate for the human condition is 100%. Everyone who lives is sure to die, with the exception of only three people, as far as we know:
1. Enoch, who walked with God and was not, because God took him. (Gen. 5:24)
2. Elijah, who was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire. (2 Kings 2)
3. Jesus, who died, but then rose again and ascended into heaven.
So, unless you're Enoch, Elijah, or Jesus, you face one absolute certainty in this life: You will die. And yet this is not the final certainty. Death may be the end of this life, but God's Word assures us that we will each face one more certainty: Judgment.
Everyone will die and everyone will be judged. How can we know? We know because Jesus rose again from the dead, and He made some serious claims about Himself, all of which were confirmed by His resurrection:
1. Jesus said He was the Son of God. (John 5:17-18)
2. Jesus said all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him. (Matthew 28:18-19)
3. Jesus said all judgment had been committed to Him by His Father. (John 5:22)
Anyone can say these things, of course. Merely saying them does not make them true. But Jesus rose again from the dead. Once dead and buried in a grave, Jesus walked out of the grave and showed Himself to His disciples. They were eyewitnesses of His resurrection and His ascension back to heaven. Just as surely as they saw Him raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, so certainly He has said He will return and judge all people.
The only two certainties are death and judgment. We know we will all die, and we know we will all stand before Jesus to be judged by Him. Do you know what He will say to you on that day? He says He will say one of two things to everyone, either "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master" or "Depart from Me." To depart from Jesus is to be shut out from all light and life and hope, forever.
So, when you stand before Jesus- a coming reality as real and as certain as death - what will He say to you? If you are eagerly waiting for Him, you can know for certain that He will come to save you when He comes to judge the world.