How well do we think we have lived? Do we think we have done well? Do we think we have made a huge mess of things? Do we think we have plodded along ok, muddling through as best we could? Are we confident or worried?
How do we think we will be greeted by God when our time comes to meet him face to face?
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 (CEV)
6 Now the time has come for me to die. My life is like a drink offering being poured out on the altar. 7 I have fought well. I have finished the race, and I have been faithful. 8 So a crown will be given to me for pleasing the Lord. He judges fairly, and on the day of judgment he will give a crown to me and to everyone else who wants him to appear with power.
16 When I was first put on trial, no one helped me. In fact, everyone deserted me. I hope it won’t be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood beside me. He gave me the strength to tell his full message, so that all Gentiles would hear it. And I was kept safe from hungry lions. 18 The Lord will always keep me from being harmed by evil, and he will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. Praise him forever and ever! Amen.
And here is the answer to Jeremiah’s cry that only God can help. Now we have the other side of judgement – God standing beside his people. We stand with his strength, not our own. We work in his power alone. Whatever we have done, whatever we deserve, God welcomes us to him. Even Paul, with all he had done in work for God, all he had suffered, all the lives he had reached – he is fully aware that it is God, and he alone, who will bring Paul into his Kingdom. It is God who has kept him thus far, and God who will keep him for eternity.
That is the hope on which we rely. Not the hope of all the good things we have done, our amazing ministry, our faithfulness, our lives lived pleasing to God – because by those criteria all of us will have failed. If we trust in ourselves we will be sadly disappointed. If we trust in God, he will never disappoint us. But God does not fail, so it is fortunate for us, that it is on him that we rely.
Yes, we need to do our bit – but that is never what will save us. Alone it is not enough – but God is. The loving, forgiving, merciful God waits to welcome us – each one of us – you and me.
Thank you Lord
that you are my hope,
my truly saving grace.
Whatever I think I have done
is not enough
– but you are.
However badly I think I have done,
you still welcome me.
You alone are my Saviour
and my hope.
I stand in your strength
And I praise and worship you
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