It was a reassuring reminder. Perry’s decades of high-integrity living and exemplary service would be recognized by the One who knows all things. I was truly happy for him.
But then I thought about myself and “Well done” started a cascade of disturbing questions.
Could a person like me ever hear those words from Him?
I thought about the thief on the cross. He would be with Jesus in Paradise and that’s very reassuring. But did he hear, Well done?
The younger prodigal son turned toward home. He was lavished by the love of the father. I’ve experienced that, too. The joyful, shocking, festive party of redemption and reconciliation. But do sons like us ever hear, Well done?
This LINK is not for the faint-of-heart. Apparently, there are those in heaven whose works get burned up like so much wood, hay and stubble. In other words, they will be well done, but not in a good way. Undoubtedly many of my works will be in that category. How about yours? Will we hear the words, “Well done” even though we are standing there reeking of smoke?
I’ve wrestled with questions like these many times. One time I got so despondent over it I called Jerry Bridges with an all-out SOS. He listened patiently as he always does, and then reminded me about the ultimate reassuring truth: Everything Jesus did He did in our place and as our substitute. So in the eyes of the Triune God—if we are united to the Son by authentic faith—everything Jesus did, we did.
And He did all things well.
Jerry’s reminder was more than enough to cure my panic attack. But I still wonder if I will ever hear, “Well done.” I guess I’ll find out when I get there.
If you find yourself at my memorial service one day, don’t expect anyone to say I am hearing the words, “Well done.” But I hope someone might think of the last part of Matthew 25:23 and say something like this:
In spite of himself, because of Christ alone, Bob is hearing, Enter into the joy of your Master.