By Chaplain (Col) Stephen W. Leonard, USA, Ret.
“And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:46
On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress voted with 13 colony delegations, 9-2-2, to pass the Declaration of Independence. Nine colonies voted for it, 2 voted against it, and 2 abstained. With this vote on this day, July 4th, 1776, became the birthday of America. The Declaration, as written by Thomas Jefferson, begins with the famous sentence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights….” If the Creator endowed His creatures, man has no power to disendow.
Are all men truly created equal, as the Declaration declares? The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Hence all men are equally sinners. The Bible also declares that God said, “Let us make man in our own image.” Hence all men are created equally in God’s image. All men then are image bearers of God, and all men are sinners before God. But do all men remain forever equal?
Matthew 25 tells you about a final judgment of all men by God in which a division is drawn of mankind. In this division, the results are not equal. The last verse of Matthew 25 reads: “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” There is a beginning that is equal, but the end is divided.
What determines this division? The Bible makes it clear that “Whosoever wills (to come) may come.” (Mark 8:34-38). Where? To God, to heaven, to salvation. Yet there are those who choose willfully not to come. Of their own accord, they turn away.
Others come by virtue of Jesus’ words: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). They come in the only way they can, through belief and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior. His crucifixion seals their pardon. His blood cleanses them from all sin. His righteousness, by His perfect obedience, becomes their righteousness. They are consequently made righteous by their trust in Christ for salvation.
So the Declaration of Independence correctly says all men are created equal, and the Bible backs up that truth. But the Declaration of Independence does not speak of man’s end. The Bible does. And the Bible says man’s end is divided between heaven and hell.
Some feel or think that man’s end is oblivion. Others think it is universal heaven, that there is no hell. But the clarity of the Bible is certain. Man’s end is divided between heaven and hell, according to the Bible. In the final judgment, God divides all men between two places in eternity: heaven and hell. As much as some men find it impossible that God would do that, at the very least, the Bible itself is unequivocal. Do you want to chance the Bible’s veracity based on your own opinion?
All men are created equal. And equally true, all men do not experience an equal end. But your end is determined by your willingness to cling to Christ for your salvation from the dilemma that all men are equally sinners. Sin demands a remedy. A remedy is available. Christ is the remedy. He says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Faith in Christ determines a good end. An eternal life in hell is determined by arrogance and pride in your own resources, refusing God’s own provision in Christ. Repent of your pride. Cling to Christ! It guarantees a good end.
“We come, O Christ, to You, true Son of God and man, by whom all things consist, in whom all life began: in You alone, we live and move, and have our being in Your love.”
(1st verse of Margaret Clarkson’s hymn, “We Come, O Christ, to You,” 1957)