“…it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgement…” (NRSV Hebrews 9:27)

When death severs the soul from its earthly body, the brief time of our probation and our opportunity is ended.  “…night is coming when no one can work” (NRSV, John 9:4).  We have no second chance then of proving whether we are worthy of the life which God has given us, for we shall already have proved it.  Nothing can alter the things we have done in this world or left undone.  They stand for ever in the record.  And although they themselves are past, yet they live on in the results they have produced in the soul, in its pride, its self-love and its self-satisfaction.

The actions of the past are over, but they survive in the character they have gone to form.  For what counts in the end is not so much what things we have done, but what we have become in doing them. Therein lies the finality of death: we are what we have become.

Then our stewardship will be over, and the account of our life will be reckoned up.  To each of us our Maker will say, “Give an account of your stewardship, for you may be no longer steward” (Luke 16:2).

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