It’s a summer of Ironmen and Hulks (HULK…SMASH!!!), Batman and Jokers, but there is an extremely unlikely superhero hitting the theaters in the form of Will Smith as Hancock.
I say unlikely because we typically imagine our imaginary superheroes as, well, heroic. They wear super gear, rescue kittens from trees, and generally obey the law.
Hancock? Boozing and snoozing seem to be his primary motivations, he thinks superhero suits are ‘gay’, and you get the feeling he would chuck Fluffy up the tree rather than save it. And no, he doesn’t obey the law. In fact, a key part of the movie (which you see in the trailers) is his voluntary image improvement plan which involves spending time in prison.
Interesting plot design – wouldn’t you say? And I like how even though a jail couldn’t hold Hancock, he stays there anyway to ‘pay his dues’ so to speak. He voluntarily ends up where he should be in a world of choices and consequences.
And this got me thinking about paying dues – specifically the ones you and I will owe one day in the future. No, they are not financial; they are spiritual. Please allow me to explain.
One of Jesus’ disciples was a man named John. He was probably around 15-17 years old when he followed Christ for three years. After Jesus came back from the dead, John became one of the main leaders of the early church.
This got him into big trouble with the Christian haters of his day, so they boiled him in oil just to torture him. Somehow, he survived – so they banished him to a rocky island called Patmos. While he was there, God showed him a vision of how the world will end and what will happen to everyone at the end of this age. John wrote it all down in a book called Revelation – the last book in the Bible.
So back to paying dues – here’s what John witnessed in his vision of the future:
And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15).
In my book – this is one of the most terrifying passages in all the Bible. You could try and pass it off as just symbolism, or perhaps the writings of a lunatic, but you would be crazy to do so. I say that because everything that has ever been predicted about the future in the Bible always came true. The rise and fall of empires, the specifics about Jesus Christ, and on and on. So why would this scenario not take place?
Here’s the thing. The Bible makes it clear that everyone who has lived, is living, or will live up to that day will be in this scene. First we will see a great white throne. The word ‘great’ here is ‘megas’ – emphasizing the enormous size of the throne that Jesus sits on. And the Jesus we see is not the meek and mild Savior. In this scenario He is the judge of the universe, and He is so frightening that everyone wants to get as far away from Him as possible.
But we can’t, and then it gets worse:
I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. (Revelation 20:12-13).
What does it mean – the books were opened? According to Jewish tradition, one of the jobs that angels have is to write down human history – and also the deeds of people – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Yep, I believe our lives are being recorded in Hi Def – and the playback with the payback is going down on Judgment Day.
But what about Christians? Aren’t we forgiven? Absolutely – when you trusted Christ, your name was written in The Book of Life – and your place in heaven is secure. Yet it still seems clear to me that our lives will be on display:
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. (Hebrews 14:13).
Space doesn’t permit me to list out all the places in the Bible that talk about Judgment Day – but I want to challenge you with this question:
If you knew that every thought and action was being written down in a book that will one day be on display, would you live your life differently? I believe that we will all pay our dues one day – that’s why Paul addressed this subject as well:
So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).
Make it your goal to please Him, and you’ll be pleased when the ‘books’ are opened on Judgment Day.
Head: Judgment Day is real, and we will all really be there. Make it your goal to please God in everything you do.
Heart: How should we feel about this truth? Hmmm…maybe horrified, petrified, and stupefied? Sure, I know God loves me unconditionally, and I serve Him mostly out of love. But Jesus is *not* Mr. Rogers…and the fact that I have to give an account of my life to Him one day adds a definite element of fear in the mix as well. And folks, that’s a good thing.
Hands: Begin today with the goal to have the pages of your ‘book’ filled with material that you’ll be proud of on Judgment Day.
Lane Palmer serves as a writer for Dare 2 Share Ministries (D2S) in Arvada, Colorado, a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teenagers to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information about D2S, please visit www.dare2share.org.