Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
THERE IS NO AVOIDING OUR FUTURE APPOINTMENT TO BE JUDGED BY THE GOD WHO MADE US. When our lives have finally run out, we will die. And when that happens, “the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” Having been created by God, our spirits will return to Him. We will give account of ourselves. It is inevitable.
We are creatures — or created beings. If we simply “happened” to exist as a result of merely physical processes, then at some point we would cease to exist. But we didn’t just happen to exist; we were created, and it is to our Creator that we will return. Where we are going has more than a little to do with where we came from!
We are accountable to our Creator. To be personal beings is a truly awe-inspiring fact. It means that we bear responsibility for our actions. Freedom of the will is a marvelous gift, and the use of it is something we shall have to answer for at the end of our lives. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
By far the most important question in life is whether, at the final Judgment, we will be allowed to remain with God. If we leave this life in a right relationship with God, we will hear Him say, “Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21). But if not, we will hear, “I never knew you; depart from Me” (Matthew 7:23).
Yet the anticipation of our return to God need not be fearful — it ought to be joyful. That prospect can’t be joyful if we spend the years of our sojourn here in selfish indulgence, disregarding the things of God, and in fact, it can’t be joyful if we simply live carelessly. But there is no reason why all of us can’t make the same deliberate choices that Paul did and be able to say what he said: “The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6–8).
“All days travel toward death, the last one reaches it” (Michel de Montaigne).