The one who initially asked it was eighty years old; thus, it certainly was appropriate for him. But then it is for everyone irrespective of age, for no one has the slightest idea of how long he will live on this earth. Death visits the members of the human race at all levels, from infancy right through to the most advanced stage of life. Therefore, it is appropriate for you to ask yourself this moment—”how long have I to live?”
A Most Alarming Question
Since you do not know the extent of your life, you should be alarmed lest it suddenly end, and you find yourself unprepared for the world to come. It is a clearly attested fact in Scripture that however long a person’s life may be, the close of it in this world does not bring his existence to an end. The soul lives on forever. Hebrews 9:27 states: “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”.If you are still pursuing a life of sin and neglect of your soul, how alarmed you should be lest death come unexpectedly and your soul be plunged into the torments of hell. Luke 16:22,23 “…the rich man…died…and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torment…”
An Awakening Question
It is designed to awaken you to see the need to prepare for eternity. Because you do not know how long you have to live, and since you are presently without Christ, how essential that you take serious steps to prepare to meet God.
What are those steps? To begin with, recognize that there is only one way of salvation. Christ said: “I am the way…no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14: 6). Understand also that there is only one means of entering upon that one way as Ephesians 2:8,9 make clear: “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.” Clearly, then, sinners are saved through the means of faith – Luke 18:42, “Thy faith hath saved thee.”
Just what is that faith that saves? Saving faith convinces a man of his guilt and inability to save himself. Paul declares in Romans 3:19, 20 that “all…become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight….” Until you realize your guilt and helplessness you can never be saved, for Christ “…came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17).
Furthermore, saving faith believes that God has provided salvation through His Son Whom He sent into the world. Galatians 4:4,5 — “…God sent forth His Son…to redeem them that were under the law….” Therefore saving faith believes that Jesus of Nazareth alone is the promised Saviour. 1 Timothy 2:5 — “For there is one God, and ONE Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus….”
But, being convinced of all these truths, saving faith then rests on the all-sufficiency of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is “…able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him” (Heb. 7:25). In other words, His sacrificial death is an all-sufficient payment for sin, fully satisfying the holy demands of God’s law. Throughout the Gospel, sinners are urged and commanded to trust in this all-sufficient Saviour: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). The one who truly believes ceases from works to obtain salvation and rests whole-heartedly on Christ alone, understanding that His work on the Cross is sufficient to save.
Finally, saving faith assures all who trust in Christ alone that all of His righteousness is applied personally to them. Romans 4:7,8 — “Unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” This assurance can be yours if you will but “repent…and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). I urge you to do so today. Then, no matter how short your time may be, you will be saved from sin, hell and the wrath to come. Isaiah 55:6 — “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.”