I Know How the Story Ends
Have you ever picked up a novel and after reading the first chapter, got so curious about the ending that you turned to read the last chapter? Or have you ever read a novel right to the end, feeling quite depressed and disappointed because it did not end the way you expected it to end? What if you were the author? Then you would be in control, and could make the book end just the way you wanted it to end, right? So who’s in control of your life story? Is it God, or is it you? Who is the author?
Every Bible needs a spoiler alert in the introduction, like “WARNING: Anyone who reads this Book will know exactly how their story will end!” Isn’t it amazing that the Bible predicts your story and mine so precisely, and yet there are thousands, maybe millions, who are floundering in confusion as to what the future holds for them personally? Others live in daily fear and anxiety about the end-time and how they will survive the onslaught of persecution by an end-time anti-christ. Let’s look at a few clear spoilers or pointers in God’s Word that give us unequivocal information as to how your story and mine will end.
- What or who decides whether I am saved or lost in the end? Does God run a casino with a ginormous slot machine, sending some to hell and others to heaven on a random chance basis? John 3:16 (NIV) says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This means that I have a choice of having eternal life or losing it. John 3:16 is clear, but let’s find out more.
- What happens to us as a default if we do nothing, i.e. if we don’t make a choice? Galatians 3:22 (NLT) says, “But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.” Wow, so that means that we are all lost by default, and that the only way to change the way our story will end is by us making an intentional choice to believe in Jesus!
- What if I choose to believe in Christ, but keep on living a selfish, sinful life? Will I still be saved? This is called the “once saved, always saved” doctrine. James 2:17 (NLT) says, “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”
- What if I call myself a Christian and profess to be a Christ follower, but do not keep His commandments? In Matthew 7:21 (NLT) Jesus says, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”
- What if I wasted my time in pursuit of useless, selfish pleasure with good intentions to change later in life before I die, but then die before I can change my ways? Will I have another chance after the resurrection? In John 5:28-29 (NIV), Jesus says, ““Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” And then there’s Hebrews 9:27 (NIV), which clearly states, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment....” Death seems to end my chance to change my story. Moral of the story: Decide how I want my story to end BEFORE I die!
- Who will experience a sad ending to their life story? Revelation 22:15 says, “Outside the city are the dogs – the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.” Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NLT also lists those who will have a sad ending, “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people – none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.”
- How will the story end for those who have made a choice to reject Jesus and not obey His commandments? This will be so final and heart-wrenching. Some of the saddest words in all the Bible are Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:23 (NLT), “But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” I have spoken to many people on their deathbed, and their consensus about the fear of dying is that the torture of death lies not in the dying, but in the separation from those they love. Yes, Scripture does indicate in Revelation 20:9 that the ungodly will be consumed (NLT) or “devoured completely” (NET) by means of fire (Revelation 20:15; 21:8). What a waste, what a tragic way to end a potentially amazing life story!
- How will the story end for those who have made a choice to believe in Jesus, accept His offer of friendship, and love to obey His commandments and do His will? To them Jesus will say the opposite of “I never knew you. Get away from me . . .” He will say, “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:3 NLT).
I guess you know by now who the author of your life story is. So take care how you write it!