This past year I have been doing a lot more work in my workshop. We decided to paint our kitchen, and in the process, bought a pair of inexpensive cabinets for more countertop space. We also needed a narrower floor cabinet, so I decided to try my hand at building one, and it didn't turn out too bad. If I was a woodworking teacher, I'd give it a C+.
That got me interested in cleaning up my woodworking shop in our basement, which was a full project of its own. I've built several rolling tool stands, and have more pieces to go.
During this process I've realized that while I can cut wood with precision, I first need to measure and mark it with precision. After all, there's no point using a 1/8" saw blade to cut wood if you're measuring with a yardstick and marking it with chalk!
I found a great tool for marking with precision:
Now I have a very precise standard of measurement and marking to use, and it has already made a big difference. I can place marks exactly where I need to, and with a freshly sharpened pencil, make the thinnest possible line.
We use other standards of measurement every day, such as half-a-cup, 35 miles-per-hour, 11:30 am.
These standards of measurement work because they are accepted by all of us. Half-a-cup is the same regardless of your height, weight, language, skin color, or nationality. 35 miles-per-hour is the same in Los Angeles, New York, and Cleveland.
Each of us also lives by an ethical and moral standard. Unlike standards of measurement, most people demand the right to determine their own ethical-moral standard. We can say, "half-a-cup is 4 ounces," and no one will argue. But if we say, "adultery is sin," or "unforgiveness is sin," the disagreements fly!
Earlier I mentioned my C+ kitchen cabinet. Why only a C+? Because when the time came to put all the pieces together – and there were only 6! – there were gaps at corners, and it didn't sit flat on the floor.
You see, I could examine each individual piece, and say, "yes, that's what I intended, that's what I meant all along." But when I put those pieces together, they didn't fit very well. That was partly because it's harder to put a cabinet together than it sounds. But it was mostly because each part imperfect.
So let's make this practical, which means making it personal.
The day is coming when God will judge you. He will judge you impartially. He won't ask whether YOU are satisfied with your life's work; no, He will measure you by justice and righteousness. He will test the quality of your life's work against His standard of measurement: Jesus Christ. He will judge even the secrets of your life by comparing you to Jesus. (Hebrews 9:27; First Peter 1:17; Isaiah 8:20; First Corinthians 3:13; Romans 2:16)
Your life's work is your very own life. Each day you are measuring and cutting pieces of your life, just like I measured and cut out pieces of the kitchen cabinet. One thing you and I and every human being shares is the reality that, in the end, when our completed life is tested by God, we will fail to meet the standard He has set.
Oh, some might do better than others, but no one will pass the test of just, righteous perfection.
Of course, many say things like "I don't believe in God" or "I don't believe in a God who will judge anyone."
But there is a God, and He will judge you.
On the day of judgment, you will finally see, in the presence of God, your completed life work, assembled for the very first time. Your completed life will be compared to the standard of measurement that God uses for mankind: Jesus Christ. You will see that you fail to meet the standard; you will fail the test.
The answer to the problem that you face is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The promise of the Gospel is not that, as a Christian, you will finally be able to live the right kind of life. It's far too late for that. Even if you could live another 80 years in sinless perfection (and you can't), the sins you have already committed are enough to ruin the finished work of your life.
No, the promise of the Gospel is better than getting a second chance.
The promise of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ lived a holy, righteous, perfect life. At the end of His life He died on the cross, bearing the full punishment that each of His people deserved. He was raised from the dead because His death was completely and utterly sufficient for all who would believe in Him.
On that day, long before I was born, Jesus took the eternal punishment for my sin, and satisfied the impartial judgment of God against me. When I believed in Jesus forty years ago, I was freed from the consequences and power of my sins, and received Jesus' holiness, righteousness, and perfection in exchange for my sin and unrighteousness.
One day I will stand before God my Creator, and He will show me, for the first time, my fully assembled life's work – my own life. I will see how my life fails to meet His standard: Jesus Christ. But then God will, in a sense, show me the sinless, righteous, perfect life of Jesus, and because Jesus took the punishment for my life, I will receive the credit for His life.
Don't misunderstand; every day I prove how much I need a Savior. I keep sinning; the parts of my life are cut wrong, twisted and warped. But I have been promised that another life has already been lived on my behalf, and that by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, I will receive the reward for His life, and not the punishment for my own. (Ephesians 2:1-10).
If you have trusted in Christ, then rest in His perfect life, and love Him by following Him. If you haven’t trust in Christ, then I urge you to call upon His name as Savior and Lord.