I was recently looking into “life expectancy” rates and discovered that they are all over the map. Quotes from various websites, for example, set mine at 67, 78 and 88. (Suzie Orman says that it’s in the 90s!)
Here’s another surprise……..as you age, your life expectancy can actually increase because by then, you will have survived many of the things that could have brought about an earlier death.
Here’s an example that I found online…………..
In 2006 the life expectancy at birth of someone born in 1942 was about 68 years. If that person survived to 65, they could expect to live another 18.4 years, meaning their life expectancy was no longer the same as it was at birth.
The biggest surprise to me, however, was to realize that half of the people who shared the same life expectancy died earlier than their expected end.
Consequently, for those who plan to turn from sin and accept Christ’s offer of forgiveness at some point in the future, it is a foolish and perilous thing to do. It is a sign that deep in your heart, you are more in love with the world than with God (1 John 2:15; Matthew 7:21-23).
But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’(Luke 12:20)
The same principle applies to believers who have decided that they will get serious about living for God at some point in the future. They say to themselves: “I’ll just be glad to get into heaven.” And certainly, we’ll all be glad to get into heaven!
However, the crowns and rewards that are on offer will be ours for all eternity! So also will the loss of such crowns and rewards – making this a far more important issue than is often realized.
What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived – the things God has prepared for those who love Him – these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.(1 CORINTHIANS 2:9-10)
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us……..(Ephesians 3:20)
Salvation by God is a Limited-Time Offer!
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!(Psalm 90:12)
The Bible teaches that the number of our days are fixed and are already known by God. In other words, salvation by God is a limited-time offer!
From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’(Acts 17:26-28)
Man’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.(Job 14:5)
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.(Psalm 139:13-16)
You Have Been Designed to Win Big!
This explains why so many people who have had near-death experiences are met by loved ones who are already in heaven – who have obviously been alerted to their arrival. It also explains why some are told that they have to return to earth because their “time” has not yet come.
Based on the character of God, I believe that the number of days assigned by God, whether many or few, has been calculated to produce the greatest, eternal outcome for us on the Day of Judgment. Even the severity of a negative outcome may be lessened in this way.
It’s true that King Hezekiah begged God to allow him more time on earth. After many tears, God relented and gave him an extra 15 years beyond what had been allotted. (See Isaiah 38-39).
However, during those extra 15 years, Hezekiah foolishly invited the king of Babylon to see all the treasures of Israel, only to see those treasures stolen, his sons kidnapped, castrated and sent into exile.
This is where the exception proves the rule. God had calculated the years Hezekiah should live – I believe, in order to maximize his eternal and temporal blessings and to save him from the disasters that would come upon him should he live longer.
You see, God knows our hearts. He knows our sins – past, present and future. And He knows whether we will repent of sin and surrender our lives to Jesus Christ. He also knows the number of days that will optimize the outcome of our final judgment.
The “Bema Seat” vs the “Great White Throne” Judgment
I believe that God’s judgment for the lost will be designed to limit the eternal suffering that will be the consequence of their earthly lives. In some cases, God may shorten their earthly years in order to limit the number of sins for which they will be penalized. (This is speculation on my part, but it is based on the merciful goodness of God).
For believers, God’s criteria for final judgment, (and all the evidence that pertains therein), is based on what we have done in the body since our salvation (2 Corinthians 5:10). It perfectly flows from His omniscience (Romans 2:5-7; Psalm 18:30) and like the judgment of the unbeliever, cannot be appealed.
Again, for believers and unbelievers alike, it is likely that God plans the number of our days on earth so that we will have the best possible outcome on Judgment Day (Matthew 25:31-46; Hebrews 4:13). Yes, He is that good!
The “Bema Seat” judgment of believers will determine the rewards, or loss thereof, for those who gave their life to Jesus Christ and have therefore escaped eternal separation from God. (See Romans 8:1-2; 14:10c-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 14:13). They will be saved, but as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:15).
Assuming that the ”crowns” given to believers are different than the “rewards” cited above, those too can be won or lost at the judgment of believers. (See 2 Timothy 2:5; 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10).
As for the “Great White Throne” judgment, which is for those who never repented of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, they face a divine determination of what their experience in Hell will be like for all eternity. In other words, Hitler’s experience of Hell will undoubtedly differ from that of the sweet lady next door who never surrendered her life to Jesus Christ. (See Matthew 12:36-37; Luke 23:41; John 5:29; Romans 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:1-3; Revelation 2:23c; 20:11-15).
So for both believer and nonbeliever, the Bible declares……
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I urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For He says, ‘In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.(2 Corinthians 6:1-2)