The other day I heard the song, And When I Die by Blood, Sweat & Tears being played on the radio. Somewhere in the middle of the song there are these words: “I can swear there ain’t no heaven and I pray there ain’t no hell … but I’ll never know by living, only my dying will tell.” While I do not think it is necessary to parse every word of a song’s lyrics, I wondered how the singer could arrive at his conclusion of the non-existence of heaven and his fear of the existence of hell. On what information was he basing his conclusions? The Bible indisputably declares the existence of both places, so it must be that he rejected the testimony of Scripture. Since there is no other verifiable information on the existence of either place, there is no certainty to his beliefs and only his death would determine the veracity of his suppositions. How sad is this situation in that, if he is wrong in his conclusions, when his death occurs it will be too late to do anything about his eternal destiny.
Suppose I told you that I had once traveled to a place on a planet outside of our galaxy. This planet has not yet been observed by the best of our space exploratory devices so there is no visual evidence that it actually exists apart from my testimony of it. Of course, man has not yet observed every astral body so it is also possible that it does exist. Your acceptance of my declaration then depends upon the whether my previous testimonies were true or false. Suppose that I have never lied or even stretched the truth about anything. You could say that there is a first time for everything, and that is probably true, but based on my record of faithfulness, it probably would be wise to accept my declaration.
Now suppose I also stated that at this place on this undiscovered planet there is a colony of aliens that is preparing to attack the earth and kill everyone except those who live in my house. (I know this illustration is getting ridiculous but there is a purpose in it being so) I offer you the opportunity to move in with me and save yourself from the coming catastrophe. I have a history of doing that which is good to others and never anything that would be harmful to them. I can understand that despite my faithfulness of benevolent character, if I had a history of telling lies you would decline my offer. But if my benevolent character also included always being truthful, then to decline my offer would p[rove deadly.
Jesus Christ has a testimony of being One who speaks only truth, in fact He is truth (John 14:6). He also has a testimony of always going good (Acts 10:38, Matthew 3:17). His love for mankind is greater than all (John 15:13). He testified of heaven, having been there (John 6:33). He also testified of hell (Luke 16:19-31). And yet many, like the singer from Blood, Sweat & Tears, find His testimony as ridiculous as my illustration and reject it altogether in favor or their own imaginations.
Jesus made another seemingly ridiculous boast when He said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). They crucified and buried Him and in three days He was standing giving indisputable evidence to the truth of His claim (Acts1:3). That is a fact of history. It is knowable in living. Why wait until death to believe it? Then it will be too late.