Eternal Sentence

“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”  Daniel 12:2


“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”  Revelation 20:10-15


“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”  Hebrews 9:27-28


Not too long ago our family traded in our car and purchased a truck.  The car had been faithful for years, a used Chevy Impala.  We had racked up a bunch of miles on it and doing the type of work we do for a living, with a baby on the way, the decision was made to upgrade to a truck.  This required a trip down to the county treasurer to get the license plates switched over and the tabs for the year.


Years had went by since I had visited the treasurer office in Flathead county Montana.  When we first moved out here in 2012, we switched over our truck that we then owned, but when we purchased the Impala in 2014, the dealership took care of everything.  I recalled that on the visit in 2012 the lines were quite long and the wait was more than I expected.  The building that houses the treasurer is older, not much room for expansion.  Though I would suspect that even if they built a new building, probably paying for extra staffing wouldn’t happen.  This is Montana after all and we are known for keeping our state budget in line.


I’m not sure if I made a mistake or if it wouldn’t have mattered, but I went in on Monday morning, the 1st day of October.  There was a line going down the stairs, but I later found out that that portion of the line was for those who were renewing their annual tabs, not dealing with title paperwork.  I grabbed a number and took a seat.  My number was 94, at that time they were dealing with number 60.  Afterwards, I wished that I had brought a book with me, but I had my coffee, half the battle was won.


The woman next to me asked for help in identifying a license plate choice, by asking what I thought was on the plate.  Looked liked a pink plate with a sunflower on it.  Quite a list of license plates that Montana has for a selection, more than any other state.  She commented about how long the line was and that she had heard from someone that a lawyer sent his worker in there to do title paperwork, some days it would take her nearly five hours of waiting to complete the task.  Her number was 85, she had arrived about 15 minutes sooner than me.  I watched as people were taking care of their title paperwork, the line was moving, slowly but surely. 


I would imagine that the accuracy needed from the state employees would have to be at a high level.  While the wishes of those waiting might be that they move faster, the reality is they have to have a very good level of accuracy.  The title needs to be accurate, the owner certain and then there is the matter of the fees that must be paid.  Time continued on and there were certain numbers when called that didn’t have any people present.  The presumption would be that they probably took a number to renew there tabs, for that there is no number, just a line.


As the numbers are hitting in the upper sixties, a snag appears.  A woman arrives at the counter with seemingly a jungle of paperwork.  More than one thing with title paperwork being done at once.  There is a bit of a ruckus at the counter and someone else comes from the back to help with this big project, while the other disappears, probably pulling all of the associated paperwork.  As all of this is going on, an office lady comes out, to help expedite the line, answering questions and directing people to the right windows.  Another one of the windows runs into a snag, with no customer at the window.


Suddenly the woman sitting next to me barks out in disgust as to whether or not the window is now closed, if the person went on break.  Soon thereafter she discovers that there is still an employee there, apparently doing something that requires their attention at her desk, before calling the next number.  Time continues on, the woman with multiple title paperwork being processed manages to consume about a half an hour at that window, the other windows are moving along.  Now the patience of others is starting to wear out (if there was any to begin with). 


On the other side of me I now find a man who begins to also discuss how he could not handle working there.  Down the aisle another woman also states the same, in a totally different conversation.  I only mentioned that if you put in your twenty five years for the state, you can retire.  These people apparently have good jobs, better than most.  The numbers are now approaching eighty, with an hour having passed.  The woman next to me comments on how ridiculous the lines are, also making comments underneath her breath regarding what appears to be antics from people going up to the windows, trying to do things without the proper paperwork in hand.  I suggest to her that perhaps the mistake was made in coming on a Monday.  She stated that she had no choice, as she will be in Missoula later and this is the final day to get the title paperwork taken care of on her new car. 


Finally her number is next and she is visually excited, she declares that finally she will be out of there.  Her turn arrives and she gladly goes up to the window.  A few more minutes, a few more numbers called with no takers and now I have a man sitting where the woman was, with the other man still on the other side of me.  The new man is keeping himself entertained with a smart phone and seems patient enough.  The other man glances over at my number and declares that my time is short, soon I will be at the window.  Finally the number is at 93 and the man first sitting next to me states that I am next and how lucky I am.  The other man looks over and I joke to them that perhaps I could sell this ticket for $100 dollars and just wait an additional hour.  Both of them then joke that someone could make a living doing that or at least get the title and tab cost paid for.  I told them that I figured that they would probably catch on pretty quick.  Finally my number is called and I go up to the window and take care of the title paperwork.  In and out of the Treasurer took me about an hour and a half, I believe I beat my original visit by about a half an hour. 


In every state that I have lived there is almost always a waiting time to get things like this taken care of, I would say that Michigan for me was the fasted and Arizona was by far the absolute longest.  (They even had people selling hot dogs at carts in the parking lot!)  Already I knew the topic of this article, but sitting there and pondering the reactions of people, as well as comments heard from people sitting behind me, I really began to think on this some more.


Imagine being a prisoner, as some who are reading or listening to this probably do not need to imagine such a thing, but have experienced it first hand.  The judge sentences you to say a year in jail.  There after the hustle and bustle of being processed into the jail, you are shown to your cell and the door is closed.  Here as you sit and look at your new home for the next year, what can one do, aside from trying to appeal the judge’s decision?  This is to say nothing of those who are behind bars and there for decades or even the remainder of their lives. 


If being in such discomfort that opinions are voiced regarding an hour and a half wait at the county treasurer, just how will one react when the Most High Judge condemns them to an eternal sentence?  What then! 


At least when the hour and a half was done at the treasurer, I was able to go home, fix some lunch and enjoy the meal.  If the hassle of having to get title paperwork causes many to grumble quietly while waiting their turn, imagine if the wait was longer? 


Could you imagine if a society created harsh standards at places like the treasurer, rules that states you could not leave the building, even for a moment, without losing your place in line?!  Imagine if there was a room with sleeping cots setup, a hotel style system of complimentary breakfast food and some restrooms, because it could take one to three days to get your title paperwork or driver’s license processed!  Ridiculous right, but in all reality, even if such a thing were true, even if it took a year of staying in a government building in order to get a driver’s license, so that you could drive, you would eventually be able to leave.  Just how much worse, how many times worse, is finding yourself before your Creator and being handed an eternal sentence due to your sins?!  You would gladly know at that moment that waiting for a year in a government building would be numerous times better, there would eventually be hope!


“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Matthew 10:28


Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.”  Psalms 33:8


“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”  1st Thessalonians 4:13-14


Now we live in a society where if you have money to spend you can pay others to do the work for you.  If you have an attorney, you could set up (as some apparently do) to have them do the work for you.  They would send someone to wait in line for you, with the Power of Attorney in hand.  They, for a price, would save you the suffering of having to deal with a couple hour wait once in awhile at the county treasurer.  Now the interesting thing about such a scenario is that those whose names are written in the Book of Life (Rev. 20:12), God’s title book to those who will inherit eternal life (Heb. 1:14), was paid for by His Son Jesus Christ. 


“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:6-8


“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  1st John 4:10


Jesus paid the price for your sins so that you do not have to face an eternal sentence, of which you are already guilty and doomed to such a reality, unless you accept the free gift of Salvation (Eph. 2:8-9).  There is nothing you need to do, nor nothing you can do to receive Salvation, it is the gift of God.


“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  2nd Corinthians 5:21


“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”  Romans 3:23


“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Romans 6:23


“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.  But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.  And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.  For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Romans 5:12-21


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”  John 3:16-21


“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9


The reality is that all have sinned (Ro. 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Ro. 6:23).  God sent His Son to pay the penalty for the sins for whosoever will believe into Him (John 3:16).  Repent and believe the Gospel, that you might be Saved (Acts 3:19)


“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:8-13


When I consider the comments and troubled people who had to be inconvenienced with waiting for their title paperwork to be processed, I can only think that if they knew and believed that without Christ they would be cast into the Lake of Fire they should immediately pray out to God to save them! 


“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”  Acts 17:30-31


“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  2nd Peter 3:7-9


The seriousness of this can not be understated, not in the least.  This isn’t just a matter of life and death, which would be serious enough, but this is really a matter of eternal life or an eternal sentence.  We were Created by God, sin has separated us from Him (Is. 59:2), yet He has provided Salvation through Jesus Christ, His Son, to all who will accept it. 


“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  Genesis 1:26-27


“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”  John 1:10


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”  Romans 1:16


“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”  Acts 2:38-39


At some point, it is wise for a man or a woman to stop, take a look at their lives, take a look at their sin and ponder these things.  Once a person has died, there is no more hope or reconciliation, dying without Christ is an eternal sentence to the Lake of Fire.  Make no mistake about that!  Realize that without Christ, the penalty for your sins is not paid, your name is not written in the Book of Life (Rev. 20:11-15).


Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  John 14:6


Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12


“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”  John 3:36