Of Dream Worlds and Happy Endings

by Gene Taylor

As were many children of my generation, I was raised on Saturday matinees of Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger and all the other cowboys. My buddies and I loved to share in the daring adventures of those legendary Western heroes. Looking back, though, I now realize that a good deal of the pleasure I derived from those movies was due to the knowledge I had while viewing them that no matter what happened, no matter how bad things seemed for the hero, in the end the "good guy" would triumph and all would be well. The "happy ending" was always anticipated and always delivered. It was a dream world for me and my friends.

Some today seem to be living in a "dream world." They think that they can disregard the commandments of God, do just about anything they desire, and yet still think that all will be well with them when they stand before the judgment throne of God. They seem to think that no matter what they do that there will be a "happy ending" for them just like in the movies. I am afraid, though, that the reality will be far different from what they are anticipating.

The Bible has much to say about those who will have a "happy ending," a heavenly home. To be rewarded with heaven, one must live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-12). To be saved eternally, one must obey the commands of Christ in His gospel (Matt. 7:21; Heb. 5:8-9). You see, it does matter what one does in this life. The eternal destiny of one's soul is determined by the deeds of this life. 2 Corinthians 5:10 states, "For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad." For one to live oblivious to the will of God and then expect a heavenly reward is to be dreaming of something that cannot be.

But it need not be that way. That desired "happy ending" can belong to anyone because God has made salvation and heaven available to every individual (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). Jesus Christ died, then arose, overcoming death, so that all people might be victorious over death and live forever (1 Cor. 15:55-57). He is the author of eternal salvation to those who obey Him (Heb. 5:8-9). But that obedience is necessary, not optional. It must not be disregarded or viewed as insignificant or unimportant.

Do not live in a fantasy world thinking that no matter what you do, or don't do, you will end up in heaven. It just doesn't work that way. If you want eternal life, if you desire that "happy ending," study, believe, and obey the will of the Lord. There is no other way (John 14:6).