For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.
There is great comfort in these words for we who believe. We are offered eternal life through the resurrection on the last day. One could reasonably ask, “When is the last day?” Well, we know two things: the first is that we don’t know when the last day will be. The second is that it may well be sooner than we think.
In addition to those two things we know, there is a third I suspect: it doesn’t matter when Judgment Day comes – what matters is the state of our soul at the moment of our own death. Psychology tells us that the vast majority of people believe – at least at some level – that the end of the world will come in their lifetime. If that is so, then the cemeteries are full of people who were wrong on that one.
Still, in a very practical way, the Last Day for any one of us comes the day we die, because on that day we face the Four Last Things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. All of us will see three of them; whether we see heaven or hell depends on the life we have lived. God desires to send no one to hell; those who go there go because of the choices they have made and the actions they have taken. God is infinitely merciful; He is also perfectly just.
For those of us who do believe in Jesus Christ, our belief must be transformative. It must influence the way we think… the way we speak… the way we act. It must be central to our lives, and not merely something that is done for an hour-or-so on Sunday. Belief must be nurtured and allowed to grow and flourish.
When we die, we are judged. Let us pray always for a transformative faith that influences and informs every aspect of our lives, so that at the moment of our death and the time of our judgment, we can be found worthy of everlasting life in the Kingdom of Heaven. True belief is not merely a one-time statement; it is a way of life.