In 1977, Kansas released its hit song, “Dust in the Wind.” It was their only top 10 song, reaching number 6, and is a good reflection on how we often prioritize meaningless things. It’s similar to Psalm 90, the only one authored by Moses, where he wrote, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
According to Scripture, a wise man fears the Lord (Proverbs 1:7) and lives in view of death. It is not a Christian attitude to avoid thoughts of death, but to live in light of it, numbering our days. But, living in light of the end doesn’t just mean acknowledging all men die and return to dust. Scripture teaches you are a two-part composition of body and soul (Genesis 2:7). Your body will die and decay, but your soul will live eternally (Genesis 3:19, Ecclesiastes 12:7).
The Ligonier 2022 State of Theology survey dealt with two questions about our eternal destiny. Largely, Southern Evangelicals believe hell is real (87% agree) and that Christ will return to judge the world (90% agree). This is encouraging since the doctrine of judgment and eternal punishment are central tenets of Christian belief.
Jesus said, “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Son’s] voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29). The next major event on our horizon is Christ’s return and judgment.
At that time, Jesus will judge all mankind. There will be a general resurrection in which all the dead, both righteous and wicked, will be raised to life. Then, Christ will condemn the wicked, along with Satan and the fallen angels, to the “second death” (Revelation 20:14). The first death happened in Adam. We died spiritually. The second death occurs in the day of judgment when Christ will cast the wicked, body and soul, into the “lake of fire.” There, they will suffer the wrath of God for all eternity as punishment for sin.
Thus, there are two questions you must answer. First, have you repented and trusted in Christ for redemption? Only this will save you from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Second, are you living like you believe men will die and go to hell? Do your priorities reflect that eternal judgment is coming?
Many Americans spend extraordinary time planning for retirement so they can spend their last days in total leisure and do very little work for Christ’s kingdom. What a waste! If this describes you, I’d question whether you believe in hell and the final judgment.
Kansas songwriter Kerry Livgren missed the mark. We aren’t all just “dust in the wind.” If we are only matter, then how we live doesn’t matter. You have an eternal soul. And Christ will one day judge you, body and soul, based on whether you, by faith, rested in his redemption or not.