If You Died Tonight (ESV)
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 6
- Version: ESV
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If you died tonight, where would you be?
Surely it’s something you should think about, as there is one night in your future that will be your last here on this earth. It seems there are three possible answers to this big question:
1. If I died tonight, I would be in Heaven.
2. If I died tonight, I would be in Hell.
3. If I died tonight, there is nothing else.
Lets take a brief look at each option.
1. If I died tonight, I would be in Heaven
If this is your answer, can I ask, “on what basis?” Nine out of ten people answer, “because I am a good person,” or “because I haven’t killed anybody.” Let’s have a look at what God says in His Word, the Bible.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
God’s verdict on humanity is clear, and simple; all have sinned, be they the Pope or a prostitute. You may be a very nice person, but our “good” is simply not good enough in God’s eyes. Sin disqualifies everybody from Heaven.
Suppose a convicted murderer vows “to be good from now on.” It doesn’t let them off the hook: there still is the past matter to be dealt with. Likewise, no amount of good deeds can wipe out the bad things we have done, nor earn us merit with God.
Of course, this is bad news, and it must be faced and acknowledged before the good news. Are you ready for the good news? Here it is, or more accurately, here He is: JESUS.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the only person to have lived a perfect, sinless life. It is this perfect life, His sacrificial death, and His being raised from death, that qualify Him to act on behalf of sinners. This is why Jesus says,
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
The Bible is clear that only those who consciously and consistently trust for salvation in Jesus’ works—and not their own—would be in Heaven if they died tonight.
2. If I died tonight, I would be in Hell
The majority of people on this planet do not give a second’s thought to the God of the Bible. We dance to our own tune, thank you very much. If we do think of God, we may feel God couldn’t forgive people like us because of the lives we have lived, and the poor decisions we have made. This does not have to be the case.
As we have seen in option #1, there is nothing so good we can do to earn God’s favor. We can now add that there is nothing so bad that God cannot forgive. Hell is for those who refuse the forgiveness that Jesus so kindly offers. Hell is for “good people”—those who think they are good enough and do not need God or His forgiveness for sin. Hell is real and, quite simply, everyone who refuses to live God’s way will go there.
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
The scary truth is: anyone who has lived a life that ignores Jesus, and wants nothing to do with Him, would be in Hell (for eternity) if they died tonight without repenting.
3. If I died tonight, there is nothing else
The statement, “after you die, there is nothing,” or “this is all there is,” is a common one. However, it is not based on observable fact. Honestly, how could any living person know that for sure? God, as master of life and death, tells us in His word what happens after a person dies.
“For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10-12)
After death, as a result of this judgment, a person will ultimately spend eternity either with God in Heaven, or in Hell as an object of His wrath.
A man asked a minister, “when should I repent of my sins?” The minister replied, “The day before Jesus returns.” The man at once was worried: “But I don’t know when that is.” “Well, then you’d better do it right away,” said the minister.
This is wise advice, indeed. Something as important as where eternity is spent surely requires urgent attention. A Christian once said, when talking to an atheist, “I’d rather be me, if you’re right, than be you, if I’m right.” The point being, someone who says there is nothing after you die surely has a lot more to lose if they are wrong.
My advice to you is this: find out about Jesus. Grab yourself a Bible, and read a gospel account (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) about the claims Jesus makes, and start “doing business with God.” Aiming to meet God as a friend, and not an enemy, makes perfect sense!
“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)