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Tuesday, March 26 , 2019, 2:51 pm | Partly Cloudy 63º

 
 
 
 
Faith

D.C. Collier: Suppose You Were to Die Today

After all, the odds aren’t that remote —105 people die each minute around the world.

And furthermore, suppose you found yourself in line at the registration desk of heaven to check in. The desk clerk looks you up and down and says cheerfully, “Good morning, name please.” You give him your name. Then he says, “Your ID please.” And you reply, “I haven’t got it — haven’t you heard ‘you can’t take it with you?’ It probably burned up in my house when I died.”

The desk clerk is not amused and says, “OK, we’ll look up your records.”

After a slight delay, he scans your records, frowns and says, “I’m afraid there’s a problem here, it’s your credit rating, it’s really low.” Exasperated, you protest, “Wait a minute, last I looked, I had a score of 825.”

The clerk responds gently, “But sir, I’m talking about your spiritual credit score.” “What’s that?” you say. He explains, “Well, down on earth you ran up quite a spiritual bill, with all of your hard drinking, playing around, cheating on exams, unpaid taxes, etc. Your rap sheet runs on and on. But the big sin, the one that qualifies you as a big-time sinner is your continual rejection of God — that’s the biggie.”

He looks away from his screen and slowly shakes his head.

You think for a while and respond, “so what’s that got to do with my checking into heaven?” The desk clerk looks at you incredulously and responds, “You need a credit score of 1,000 to get in here, and besides ... there’s the problem of your ID ...”

Now you’re getting really heated. You raise your voice a notch, “No one has a perfect credit score! If that’s how it is, heaven must be a very lonely place.” He says, “Oh, no sir, heaven is quite full, and there’s always room for more.”

“But how did the others get in there?” you demand. The clerk, unflustered, responds, “Really sir, it’s never been a mystery. Haven’t you read the instructions? All you need is proper ID and a perfect credit score, and voila, you’re in.”

“So, what’s the ‘proper ID’ thing you’re talking about?” you inquire.

“You need a red ID card with the letters, ‘IC’ clearly printed on the face. Otherwise, you will still have your black card with the letters ‘IA’ that you were issued automatically at birth,” he explains. “That red card is your ticket in. That way we know you have a perfect credit score and that all your bills have been paid in advance. This is a luxury all-inclusive hotel, you know.”

“So how do I get one of those red ID cards?” you anxiously ask. “Too late,” the clerk says. “You either arrive here with it, or we can’t help you ... simple as that.”

“So, where do I go now?” you ask, quite sheepishly. “Follow the Exit signs to the elevator down the corridor,” he adds. “And mind the gap.”

The clerk quietly calls, “Next in line, please.”

As the deliriously joyous sounds of a massive heavenly party in the ballroom slowly fade from your ears, you hesitantly follow the signs to the Exit. Tragic.

Getting Your Own ‘Spiritual ID Card’

That grim little tale is not as far-fetched as you may think.

Among the Bible’s great truth streams, is the story of God’s “two Adams,” which spans the entire sweep of human history.

The Bible (the so-called “instructions” referred to above) reveals that all of human beings enter life already “in” the “First Adam” through physical birth — our default position, in which we have no choice (in our metaphorical story above, this is represented by the black ID card with the letters ‘IA’, meaning ‘In Adam’ as his natural descendants).

We then learn that if we remain “in Adam” and die in that position, we will not be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We will “perish,” spiritually. That’s the bad news. There is good news, however.

God has made a stupendously generous offer to transplant us out of Adam No. 1 and into the family tree of the “Last Adam,” through a process of spiritual rebirth — which results from a conscious intentional choice of exercising “saving faith” in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. (In our metaphorical story above, this is when we receive our red ID card with the letters “IC,” meaning “In Christ” as his now-supernatural descendants.) That precious card can never be taken away, and it is colored red in recognition of its terms and conditions being eternally guaranteed by nothing less than the blood of Christ:

“It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately — at the end of the ages — become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.”1

Our eternal destinies hinge upon which of these two Adams we are “in” when our brief lives on earth come to an end. Nowhere has the subject of our roots had more profound implications. The Apostle Paul explains:

“We follow this sequence in Scripture: The First Adam received life, the Last Adam is a life-giving Spirit. Physical life comes first, then spiritual — a firm base shaped from the earth, a final completion coming out of heaven. The First Man was made out of earth, and people since then are earthy; the Second Man was made out of heaven, and people now can be heavenly. In the same way that we’ve worked from our earthy origins, let’s embrace our heavenly ends.

“I need to emphasize, friends, that our natural, earthy lives don’t in themselves lead us by their very nature into the kingdom of God. Their very ‘nature’ is to die, so how could they ‘naturally’ end up in the Life kingdom?”2

How About You?

If you were to die today, would you have the “credentials” to enter heaven? It doesn’t cost a thing and is offered to anyone, from the “best” to the “worst” of sinners, as a free gift. Or are you willing to just take your chances in the great roulette wheel of life — or worse yet — appear at heaven’s door on your own recognizance?

More on this next week. A hint:

“Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.”

Blaise Pascal

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

1. 1 Peter 1:18-21 The Message (MSG)

3. 1 Corinthians 15:45-50 The Message (MSG)

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