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Doug Johnson: At the end of our time, we all have to face the music

The expression “face the music” is said to have originated in Japan. According to the story, one man in the imperial orchestra couldn’t play a note.

Being a person of great influence and wealth, he had demanded that he be given a place in the group because he wanted to “perform” before the emperor.

The conductor agreed to let him sit in the second row of the orchestra, even though he couldn’t read music.

He was given a flute, and when a concert would begin, he’d raise the instrument, pucker his lips, and move his fingers. He would go through all the motions of playing, but he never made a sound.

This deception continued for two years.

Then a new conductor took over. He told the orchestra that he wanted to audition each player personally.

One by one they performed in his presence. Then came the flutist’s turn. He was frantic with worry, so he pretended to be sick. However, the doctor who was ordered to examine him declared that he was perfectly well. The conductor insisted that the man appear and demonstrate his skill.

Shamefacedly, he had to confess that he was a fake. He was unable to “face the music.”

The Bible teaches plainly that there is coming a day when we all will stand before God and give account for our lives.

Hebrews 9:27-28 says, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (NIV)

There are two things we must understand about this passage: First, we all will face the Great Judge when our lives on earth are over. Second, the sacrifice that Jesus Christ paid was to bring salvation to those who commit their lives to Him.

You see, God is not going to use a pair of balancing scales to weigh our good deeds against our bad deeds on judgment day.

Because no matter how “good” we try to live, it could never pay the penalty of our sins. The only way we can be declared innocent before a holy God is by accepting Christ’s sacrifice for our sins.

And that decision must be made before judgment day!

The story is told of a young man who was drowning.

He cried for help and a man passing by jumped in the water and saved the fellow from death.

Several years later this same young man had fallen into sin.

He had stolen a car and was brought into court. He was greatly relieved to see the man who saved him from a watery grave sitting as a judge on the bench.

“He will save me again, I am sure,” he thought.

The trial came to an end and the judge gave the verdict — “You are guilty and you leave me no choice but to condemn you.”

“But, your honor,” said the young man, “you were the one who saved me from drowning before.”

“Young man, on that day I was your savior… but now I am your judge. Your day of grace has come to an end.”

It is true that God is merciful and kind.

It is also true that God is holy and just. One day we will all have to stand before Him and “face the music.”

So, accept His grace and love through Christ today… while you still have time.

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.