You can't judge a book by the cover unless the Judge has the book
After my family moved to the United States from England, I tried out for the basketball team. I was in ninth grade and while I had been a string bean up to that point, the summer before my freshman year I grew six inches. That's no joke-six inches in one summer.
But no matter how tall I was, basketball didn't come easy for a soccer player. I tried my best but when "cut day" came, my best just wasn't good enough. The list posted on the locker room door didn't have my name on it. My friends whose names were on the list jumped, hollered, and walked away arm in arm laughing and dreaming of a great season ahead. I stood there with the other "cuttee" not really knowing what to say, trying not to cry. Ouch. Has anything like that ever happened to you? Probably. Remember what it felt like?
Now, take that feeling and multiply it times eternity.
Jesus is coming back. In light of that future certainty, the believer who is in Christ has been given the opportunity and the ability to live a life that is holy, hopeful, and helpful because of God's grace. But for those who don't know Christ? The reality of Him coming back like a thief in the night should be a sobering thought-even a wake-up call to allow Christ to come into their life now, because the day of His return is certain, and it's also going to be cut day for those who are not "in."
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life... Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11, 12, 15)
You might be trying your best-to make the team by impressing the "coach" with your effort. But trust me, your best just isn't good enough to make this team. The criteria that Jesus will use to make the cut is very clear:
"Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son... Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them." (John 3:18, 36)
These passages aren't all that popular in our pluralistic culture, but they are there and they are true. Do we choose to avoid them because they make us uncomfortable? Do we refuse to speak of them because our God happens to be less tolerant than our contemporary culture requires? I hope not.
Jesus is coming. Jesus will judge. So please make sure you are in the Book of Life.
Jesus Christ, Savior and Lord, if my name is not written in the Book of Life, I ask that You would write it there now, and that You would come into my life, by Your grace and by Your mercy.