304. MASTER OF YOUR OWN FATE?

(The Abundant Life Series- Batch 3)

According to the counsel of his own will, God created this world and mankind and placed mankind on this earth that he created. Yet, mankind has discarded God in his mind, decided to pretend that he does not exist (like an ostrich that buries its head in the sand) and decided to live as if this world (which God created) belongs to him and as if he (who God also created) belongs to himself.

He has decided to live his life without accountability to anyone and even prides himself on how well he thinks he is doing without God. He deludes himself into thinking that he has everything figured out without God and that he does not need anyone telling him what to do or how to do it. He makes his own decisions, does whatever he thinks is right in his own eyes, creates his own laws and operates as if he (not God) is in control.

Like a petulant child who is being fed and sustained daily by his parents but refuses to acknowledge that they exist or are in control of his life, mankind has therefore rejected, not just the one that created him and this world but the one whose breath he CONTINUES to breathe and the one by whom he CONTINUES to be sustained. For, God is the very source and beginning of all things living. Outside of him, there can be no life form. It is in him, that we all live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

The day he decides to put an end to humanity is the day that humanity will end and make no mistake, this decision is HIS.

Mankind has therefore been wicked and treacherously rebellious in turning their back on the one that gave them life and holds it in his hands and provides for them daily, so that they would have what they need to continue to survive, like rain and the sun, for water and for the plants to grow and for the animals (which man eats) to continue to thrive.

You judge your own actions for yourself: If you have lived all of your life without acknowledging God and the Lordship of his Son Jesus Christ, if you have lived your life as if you are in control of your own destiny and are accountable to no one and have therefore done whatever you wanted and refused to submit your life to God’s control, his way and his rules for living as declared in his Word, the Bible, then haven’t you been wicked and treacherously rebellious?

Aren’t you deluding yourself into thinking that you will win in this rebellion? Aren’t you deserving of God’s wrath, judgment and punishment for turning against and evicting from your life and heart, your very maker?

A man called William Ernest Henley (who has since gone the way that God has appointed for all of mankind to trod – death), wrote a poem called ‘Invictus’, which means unconquerable or undefeated.

The poem is about a man who has lived life his own way, done his own thing and at the end of his life is making a boast, that he remained UNCONQUERABLE and that he refused to BOW. He has lived life without submitting to anyone, even God and as the horror of death approaches, instead of being petrified with fear as to what this will entail, he stubbornly boasts that he is UNAFRAID.

In the poem therefore, he makes bold statements like:

  • Out of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be, for MY UNCONQUERABLE SOUL;
  • In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance, my head is bloody, BUT UNBOWED;
  • Beyond this place of wrath and tears, looms but the horror of the shade and yet the menace of the years, FINDS AND SHALL FIND ME UNAFRAID;
  • It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I AM THE MASTER OF MY FATE, I AM THE CAPTAIN OF MY SOUL.

William Ernest Henley has therefore refused, while alive, to allow his soul to be conquered by the Lordship of his maker, the one who the Bible describes as the Captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10). He has taken the reins or the steering wheel of his own life and refused to bow to God’s way and will for living. As his life wraps up on earth and draws to a close, he dares to state, although he has never yet fully experienced the wrath of a thrice holy God that hates sin and rebellion and has promised to pour out his wrath on the disobedient in judgment, that he is and will continue to be, unafraid.

Really? This is a great boast but what does the Bible say of him? Is William Ernest Henley featured anywhere in the scriptures?

The answer is yes.

The Word of God, which tells us what will happen in the future, lets us know what will happen to him, where he will stand in the future (having died), what he will be called upon to do and where he will ultimately be.

The Word of God states:

  • “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord… For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God… So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:7-8, 11-12)

Hebrews 9:27 also tells us that “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…”

The Word of God therefore lets us know that ALL human beings (including the now deceased William Ernest Henley), do not live unto themselves or die unto themselves, even if they deluded themselves into thinking that they did. For, they were created by God for HIS purposes.

It together with other scriptures in the Bible, lets us also know that all human beings (including the now deceased William Ernest Henley), will one day stand before God in judgment, to give account of the life he lived while on earth, to the one that made him and put him there in the first place: God. Despite his great boasts while still on this earth, the Bible lets us know in advance, that William Ernest Henley (deceased but who God will raise back up from the dead for judgment) SHALL BOW his knee and confess with his tongue the truth, that Jesus Christ is Lord.

It will be too late for him though, as such bowing and confession will not secure him a place in heaven. For, the time for him to have done that so that his soul could be saved from God’s wrath and condemnation was while he still had the breath of life in him, on earth.

The time he wasted to write great swelling words of rebellion against the one who made him, he ought to have used it to surrender his life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. For, of those who are still alive on earth, they all still have the privilege of believing on Jesus Christ and accepting him into their hearts and lives as Lord and Saviour. In short, they have what the dead no longer have: Hope.

This is why the Word of God states to the living:

  • “…To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation….” (Hebrews 3:15)
  • …behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
  • “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.”

Mankind is therefore not allowed to just dissipate upon death and that be the end of his story. NO! He will be raised up from the dead by God, to give account of the life he lived on earth. For, although he deluded himself in his pride and rebellion in thinking that he was the master of his own fate, this did nothing to change the truth of the matter, which is, that he was CREATED BY GOD, always BELONGED TO GOD and would one day be JUDGED BY GOD.

Furthermore, unless in this judgment, he is found to have the righteous covering of the Lord Jesus Christ over him, God has already told us, that the lake of fire will be his final abode. This is a horrible place of torment to end up. For, due to the extent of the pain that a person will feel and the fact that his body will be built by God to not be destroyed in that lake of fire, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For, such suffering will endure forever.

In Matthew 13:49-50, Jesus gave us insight into some of what will happen at the end of this world, stating:

  • “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

In Revelations 20:11-15, John, in recounting what the glorified Jesus revealed to him about what will surely come to pass in the end, stated:

  •  “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
  • And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

People of all walks of life will be in this crowd. In addition to commoners and the average human being, there will be celebrities, talk show hosts, politicians, Presidents, Queens, Kings, Lawyers, Engineers, Doctors and other high profile figures who were popular and full of prestige while on earth. All these famous faces will be there, among the not so famous and no one will be pulling rank or making the statement: Do you know who I am? For, having crossed the threshold of death and standing in eternity, who they were and how popular they were while on earth will be wholly irrelevant. It will earn them no points because God, who is no respecter of persons, does not care for how important they were while here on earth.

Death is therefore said to be the great leveler but so is God’s judgment. When each human being stands before him, only one question will be relevant and it will not be how much money did you make, how many likes did you receive on social media, how many fans did you have, how influential were you while on earth and what position or profession did you occupy?

No. When standing before God in judgment, the only question that will be relevant is: What did you do with Jesus Christ? Did you believe my testimony as given in the Bible, of him or did you ignore my Word and reject the saving grace that I made available? Are you clothed with his righteous covering, having been washed in his precious blood or do you dare to stand before me in your own so-called righteousness and ‘goodness’ , which are as a filthy garment in my sight?

Based on what the scripture tells us will happen in the future, this means that William Ernest Henley, who made such a great swelling boast while living, will be in this number of people who stand before God. He will be judged by God according to his works while on earth and given that while he lived, he wanted nothing to do with God and the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, his Son and defiantly refused to BOW to his Lordship, his name will not be found written in the book of life and so, he will be cast into the lake of fire.

In my humble view, that is reason to be VERY AFRAID. That is reason to regret for eternity, that you turned your back on God’s provision for salvation offered freely through his Son Jesus Christ, refused to BOW and foolishly refused to allow his Lordship to CONQUER your soul.

For, in your pride and delusion, you thought you were master of your own fate but in truth and in fact, you were not. There was one higher, mightier, who holds the keys of death and hell and he has power to cast your wretched soul in hell. He has also promised to do it (and he keeps his word), to all who reject Jesus Christ and live unto themselves while on this earth.

In Matthew 10:28, Jesus let us know that being cast into hell by God is far worse than a person’s life being taken physically, him stating, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

In 2 Corinthians 5:11, Paul stated, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” In other words, he was saying that, knowing the awfulness of God’s wrath that is to come, this is the reason why he worked so hard to convince human beings that God’s testimony of Jesus Christ was true and that this Jesus, which rose from the dead was and still is offering salvation free of charge, to whosoever believes.

Dear Reader, knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, what will you do? What decision will you make in this life for your soul?

On the futility of the things that hold our attention in life and which we chase after and how irrelevant it is to matters of eternity, the Word of God states, “…what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

I hope to God that you will not take the foolish path that William Ernest Henley did but that while you still have breath in your nostrils and continue to live on God’s earth, that you will realize the truth, that you belong to him and were created to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and serve him, not yourself.

I pray to God that you will believe God’s testimony, that Jesus Christ who came down to earth many years ago in human form and allowed himself to be killed by wicked men, rose up from the grave on the third day, just as he said he would do. He died so that his blood, which is perfect and potent, could be applied to you to wash you of your sins and enable you access to heaven. For him to wash you clean though, you must BELIEVE FROM YOUR HEART that he rose from the dead and CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH that he (Jesus Christ) is Lord. For, only the King of Kings and Lord of Lords could have power over the grave, be stronger than death and have stated in advance, that he would die but that on the third day, he would get right back up!

Now is your opportunity. Will you make the best of it, believe on Jesus and humbly bow to his Lordship so that you can live for all eternity in heaven or will you do as William Ernest Henley did and go down to your grave in stubbornness, rebellion and defiance? It is your choice. I pray you make the right one.

(Written on 4th November, 2021)

If you found the above Article interesting, informative, edifying or beneficial and you wish to read some more, you may also be interested in reading the following:

  • Note 79 – ‘So Many Questions – Do You Have All The Answers?’
  • Note 99 – ‘Good News- How Your Life Can Be Transformed For Ever’
  • Note 244 – ‘Are You Trying To Establish Your Own Righteousness?’
  • Note 301 – ‘Born In Frailty, Died In Foolishness And Futility’

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