Pages 32-33 of The Salvation Meter book (The Salvation Meter – Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth) present an article entitled, “Only During Your Earthly Life Can You Be Saved,” which is one of the six persuasive reasons a person should use The Salvation Meter. The present article is a revision of the above article. There are two basic reasons I revised this article.
First, a sermon is never finished, merely preached. In the same way, there will always be ways, as well as a need, to revise and improve the discussion of this crucial reason why a person should use The Salvation Meter. Hopefully, this revision will give the book a “dynamic” aspect rather than remain “static.”
Second, this revision contains more detailed information and discussion than in the book. Through these additional materials, I hope this revision will assist anyone who reads, teaches, preaches, or merely considers the substance of this test to appreciate better the importance of this reason to use The Salvation Meter book.
Salvation is always available during one’s physical earthly life through repentance and trust in Christ’s finished work, but once physical death occurs, that’s it! After physical death, there are no more chances at eternal life in heaven. The Bible teaches this critical truth in Hebrews 9:27–28 (ASV 1901):
27 And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment; 28 so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation.
The Bible does not teach that a lost person who has died in their sins will have a second chance at salvation through Jesus Christ. The doctrinal statement of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California addresses this point:
Death. We teach that physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Revelation 6:9–11), that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8), that there is a separation of soul and body (Philippians 1:21–24), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13–17), which initiates the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4–6), when our soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35–44, 50–54). Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8).
We teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Romans 8:10–11, 19–23; 2 Corinthians 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Revelation 20:13–15).
We teach that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19–26; Revelation 20:13–15), when the soul and the resurrection body will be united (John 5:28–29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11–15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41–46), cut off from the life of God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41–46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9).
Eternity is too long for a person not to spend the necessary time here and now to make sure of salvation. Don’t be “penny wise and pound foolish.” John taught that the smoke of the torment of those in hell was of an unlimited duration of time when he wrote Revelation 14:11 (KJV 1900):
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Only during a person’s earthly life can they receive God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
It is never too late to accept God’s free gift of salvation. One compelling example is the thief on the cross as reported at Luke 23:39–43 (ASV 1901) [emphasis added]:
39 And one of the malefactors that were hanged railed on him, saying, Art not thou the Christ? save thyself and us. 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, Dost thou not even fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said, Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom. 43 And he said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.
Another example from Scripture is the Parable of Laborers in the Vineyard found in Matthew 20:1–16 (ASV 1901), which reads:
1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that was a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the laborers for a shilling a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing in the marketplace idle; 4 and to them he said, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing; and he saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard. 8 And when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a shilling. 10 And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received every man a shilling. 11 And when they received it, they murmured against the householder, 12 saying, These last have spent but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat. 13 But he answered and said to one of them, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a shilling? 14 Take up that which is thine, and go thy way; it is my will to give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? or is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.
The gotuqestions.org website ends its discussion of the meaning of this parable (link: What is the meaning of the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard? | GotQuestions.org ) by saying:
The message in verse 16, “the last will be first, and the first last,” is that no matter how long or how hard a believer works during his lifetime, the reward of eternal life will be the same given to all—an eternity of bliss in heaven in the presence of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43), whose life of service was limited to a moment of repentance and confession of faith in Christ, received the same reward of eternal life as the apostle Paul. Of course, Scripture also teaches that there are different rewards in heaven for different services, but the ultimate reward of eternal life will be achieved by all equally.
The Bible teaches that after physical death there is no second chance. The Bible also teaches that so long as a person is alive, it is never too late to exercise biblical saving faith.
The above two biblical truths raise the following questions for you to answer.
Question 1-42: Do you agree that once a person physically dies, they have no more opportunities to trust in Christ for their salvation? If you question your salvation, have you ever made a personal application of this truth? Have you ever made an application of this truth to your friends and loved ones who you suspect are lost? Please explain your answers.
Question 1-42A: If you believe a person has an opportunity for salvation after their physical death, please explain your reasoning and include an exegesis of Scripture.
Question 1-43: How does the thought of the finality of your physical death make you feel? Please explain your answer.
Question 1-43A: How does the thought of the finality of your loved ones and friends make you feel? Please explain your answer.
Question 1-44: Spend some time contemplating your physical death and what impact it would have on your friends and loved ones. What takeaways do you extract from this exercise? Do any of these takeaways place your present life in a better perspective? Do any of these takeaways create an urgency to make sure of your salvation,? Please explain your answers.
Question 1-44A: Does your contemplation of the impact your physical would have on those you love and care about create an urgency to make sure of the salvation of those you care about and love? Please explain your answer.
Question 1-45: Does the finality of your physical death give you the motivation to use The Salvation Meter? Please explain your answer.
Question 1-45A: How does the biblical truth that so long as a person is alive, it is never too late for them to exercise biblical saving faith make you feel with respect to your salvation or lack thereof? Please explain your answer.
Question 1-45B: How does the biblical truth that so long as a person is alive, it is never too late for them to exercise biblical saving faith make you feel with respect to the salvation or lack thereof of those you love and care about? Please explain your answer.