The Heart of the Matter

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

The ultimate statistic is that one out of one will die. Death is the only certainty of life. As Christians, while we may fear the event, we need not fear the outcome. 

We need not fear for this reason: Jesus did not come merely to add to the sum total of our happiness or to offer us a leg up in life or worldly riches, but to save sinners and to rescue us from judgment.

The Bible teaches that God’s judgment and eternal punishment will fall on those whose names are not included in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:11-15). How, then, can we be sure that ournames will be found in its pages? There is only one way: by believing in the Lord Jesus. We must look to Christ, who will freely pardon and justify those who come to Him in repentance and faith. And to come to Jesus is about more than mere intellectual assent, necessary though that is. It is not enough to be cerebrally tuned in to Christian doctrine. We must recognize our failure to treat God properly. We have denied and defied Him. We must surrender our lives to His loving authority and rely entirely on what Christ accomplished on the cross that we might find acceptance before God. 

The heart of the matter is not whether we believe certain facts about Jesus or the Bible, or whether we’ve cleaned up our lifestyle. The question is, have we ever gotten so spiritually thirsty that we have said, “Lord Jesus Christ, give me Your living water so I may thirst no more”?

But what if Jesus turns us away? What if we’re not supposed to be in the Book of Life? Jesus addressed this fear Himself with a promise, saying, “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37). 

Do you realize the kindness of God’s invitation to you? Have you heard God’s call to take refuge in Jesus? Do you hear it afresh each day and take refuge in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 57:1)? May we say with the hymn writer: 

I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place,
And He has made me glad.[1]


1 Horatius Bonar, “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” (1846).

For if we have taken refuge in the Son, we can know with certainty that He has borne our sins in His own death, and that when He returns, we will face not a fearful condemnation but a glorious welcome. And then we can hear the truth that “it is appointed for man to die” and find our hearts still at rest.


Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.

The Gospel Displayed

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27

The way we dress, the way we smile or scowl, the way we carry ourselves, the tone and content of our speech… Every day, we are always making statements to those around us about what really matters and what life truly consists of. 

For Christians, such statements should be in harmony with the gospel. 

So Paul called the Philippians to close the gap between their beliefs and their behavior—between the creed they professed and the conduct they displayed. Christ’s call to us today is no different. Even so, however mature we are in our faith and however much we close the gap, there always remains more to do.

Paul’s phrase “let your manner of life” comes from the Greek verb politeuesthe, which the NIV translates as “conduct yourselves.” The root of this word comes from polis, which means “city,” and gives us other words like police and politics. In a very real sense, Paul is concerned with Christian citizenship and conduct. As we understand ourselves to be members of the city of God, we learn what it means to live as strangers and ambassadors in that other city, the city of man. When we close the gap between belief and behavior, others will get a foretaste of heaven through their interactions with us.

So what kind of statement should our actions make? Simply this: the gospel of Christ is a gospel of love. We see this in the words of John: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11). In other words, just as God loves us, so we should love those around us—even those whom we, or others, tend to see as unlovely or unlovable—and we should do it with hope and joy! This message of love is the challenge that Paul gives us. 

Not merely in the words you say,
Not only in the deeds confessed,
But in the most unconscious way
Is Christ expressed.[1]

So pause to think about how you will dress today, when you will smile and when you will scowl today, how you will carry yourself today, and the tone and content of your speech today. What kind of statements are you making to the world? Let them be ones that are worthy of the gospel of love.

FOOTNOTES

1 Attributed to Beatrice Cleland, “Indwelt,” in, for instance, Our Aim: A Monthly Record of the Aborigines Inland Mission of Australia 68, no. 7 (17 March, 1955), p 1.


Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.