J. G. Vos wrote:
“Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement” (Heb. 9:27).
In his book The Problem of Pain C. S. Lewis wrote: “All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.”
There is an end of everyone’s road. So far as this world is concerned, death is the end of the road. This puts a period to human pride, vanity, pretension, all earthly activity—even all service of God in this world. Sometimes we hear someone say: “Take care of yourself; death is so permanent.” For the Christian, of course, death is not really permanent. Yet there is a sense in which death is permanent even for the Christian—it is permanent so far as this world is concerned. As far as this earthly life is concerned, death is the dead end of the street, the end of the road. As God says to the ocean waves, “Thus far but no farther,” so he says to every human being: There is an end of your earthly road. Thus far but no farther shall you travel.
At the end of the road we meet with God. When the end of our earthly road is reached, we will meet, not extinction, but God—the living, holy, personal God. When that time comes, God will be intensely real to every person, even to those who have drifted through life while scarcely giving God a serious thought. All doubts and pretenses will fall away. Each person will fully realize in the end that God is all that really matters.
For the saved Christian this will mean unspeakable happiness and glory. But for the unsaved sinner, it will mean the inevitable facing of reality at last—the reality that the person has evaded and blinded himself to and deceived himself about God for a whole lifetime.
The judgement of God, the Bible tells us, is according to truth (Rom. 2:2). Truth and reality will have to be faced at last. At the end of the road the difference between right and wrong will be as clear as crystal. He one and only way of salvation in Christ will be as plain as daylight, as undeniable as the light of the noonday sun. But for those without Christ, it will be too late. The door of eternal life will be forever shut. There will remain only the final disposal of a human life according to the absolute justice of God. The unsaved sinner will pass from God’s presence into hell, where his personality will be progressively eaten away by the acid of sin and selfishness, for ever and ever to all eternity.
We should always be ready for the end of the road. The fact is a certainty; the time is unknowable; therefore we should be always ready. “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). There is only one way to be ready for the end of the road. That is to make sure that we are in Christ by repentance and faith.
A dead rabbit on a large cake of ice was floating down the Niagara River toward the falls. An eagle dropped out of the sky and started eating the rabbit. As the ice drifted nearer to the great cataract, the eagle continued eating the rabbit. Finally, a short distance from the falls, the eagle tried to fly away. He flapped his wings but could not get into the air. His feet had melted their way into the ice and he was trapped, and perished in the torrent of water rushing over the great waterfall. Just so, many sinners think they will accept Christ at some future time only to find out when the end comes that it is too late. When we meet God at the end of our earthly road, what will the outcome be? Make sure of salvation in Christ while the door is open! Jesus said, “whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (Jn. 6:37).
Johannes G. Vos (1903-1983) was a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (Covenanter). He served as a missionary in Manchuria from 1931 until 1941, and later taught Bible and chaired the Bible department at Geneva College for many years. This material first appeared in the periodical, Blue Banner Faith and Life, created and edited by Dr. Vos.