Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 5, 1961

"Even As A Vapor"

Jerry F. Bassett, Antioch, California

The issues of life are of such weight that men should deal with them in serious consideration and determined resolution. Of these issues there is none more important than the question of man's eternal destiny. Every man must decide whether he will obey the Lord and enjoy eternal life, or obey Satan unto eternal punishment. This issue takes on even greater proportions when we realize that we have only a few short years, if that long, in which to resolve the question, "....For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." James 4:14.

Despite these facts the great majority of men live in utter disregard of the will of God going blissfully on languishing in the deceiving comfort of this present world as though neither it nor they will ever have an end. Many prefer the pleasures of sin for a season. Others who know the truth for a thousand and one excuses postpone obedience to it. More pathetic (and contemptible) many who have been cleansed from sin by obeying the truth have fallen away by one means or another, but refuse to repent and pray to God for forgiveness. What grave danger such persons are in while time passes swiftly by and life "even as a vapor.... vanisheth away I"

It is a sobering shock to realize that before this very day has passed one of three things will have befallen each one of us. Either we will have died, or Christ will have returned to judge us for eternity, or we will have survived the day — but only to face the same three possibilities tomorrow.

If you die today your eternal destiny will be sealed. If you die in the Lord then you shall be blessed (Rev. 14:13), but if you die in sin then you shall receive the wages of sin which is spiritual death, eternal separation from the Lord. (Rom. 6:23, 2 Thess. 1:7-9). Jesus said, "....the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the grave shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:28-29)

If Jesus Christ should return today and find you yet living then this very day you will stand before him and hear him pass upon you one of two sentences. If you have given yourself to him in faithful obedience you will hear him say, "....Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matt. 25:34) If you have not obeyed his will, but have lived in rebellion to it you will hear him say, "....Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matt. 25:41) The spiritual condition you are in right now could well be that in which you will meet Christ, and by which your eternal reward shall be determined.

If this day does not see you die nor Christ come, then you have survived. That is, you have survived this day. However, no matter how many such days you do survive sooner or later either death, or judgment, or both death and judgment will come upon you. If you die you will face judgment at the time appointed. (Heb. 9:27) If Christ should come before you die you will still be judged, "For we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done whether it be good or bad." (2 Cor. 5:10)

In the light of these facts how trivial seem the attractions of this world, and how terribly serious the plight of those who refuse to obey the Lord!

There is also a very serious consideration to be made at this point by every member of the Lord's church. The body of Christ is being divided by the ruthless, self willed promotion of human schemes which pervert the work and organization of the church. In order to have their sponsoring elderships, benevolent societies, church sponsored recreation, and other such programs some are perfectly willing to depart from the simplicity and perfection of God's word. It is becoming increasingly apparent that when such brethren have the upper hand they have no qualms about giving those who cannot conscientiously support their digressive activities an ultimatum to either line up or shut up, to go along or else get out. Equally as distressing is the fact that a great number of brethren who claim to be neutral regarding this controversy are in reality being led by their noses into digression as a result of their own spiritual lethargy. Apparently they care not whether they are in the truth, but only that they may be found in the comforting warmth of the majority when the smoke of battle clears. And all of this when each day we live may be our last upon this earth. Thus, as we meet these problems which are upon us let us not be concerned with satisfying our own desires, neither with being with the majority. Rather, and in the words of an inspired apostle, " ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." (Eph. 5:17)

If your present spiritual condition is not what it should be, if your life in any way does not measure up to the will of God then determine now to correct the matter. Remember, before this very day has flown one of three things will have happened to you. Either you will have died, Christ will have come in judgment, or you will have survived this day to face the same three possibilities tomorrow.