A Great Chasm

When a person stands at the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, he is humbled by the enormity and splendor of God’s majestic creation. The very skyline which appears to have been painted by the world’s greatest artists is the production of God’s wisdom and power. The Psalmist speaking of God’s creation said, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, and the sons of man that You care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4). The landscape of the Grand Canyon should always serve as an example of God’s tremendous display of power, in comparison to man’s inability and minute significance to recreate anything of that proportion.

The Grand Canyon does not only serve as the backdrop to God’s creative powers, but enables us to understand another passage of the Bible more clearly. In Luke 16, the rich man has passed and is now in torment for a life lived in unfaithfulness and selfish desires (16:19). It was while in this torment that he saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom (16:23). The rich man cried, “Father Abraham, have mercy of me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame” (16:24). Abraham’s first response was that of condemnation toward the man. The rich man had freely chosen to live in goodness throughout his life and was justly condemned for his actions. It is Abraham’s second response that we need to pay close attention – “And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us” (16:26).

There is a great chasm fixed with no possibility of crossing. In the Grand Canyon, there are numerous paths and trails that can lead a person from one rim to the other, but the great chasm of Luke 16 by Abraham’s description is impossible to cross. There is no path after death to be restored or make correction. As the Hebrew writer said, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgement” (9:27). Therefore once a person’s life has expended, there is no more opportunity to change, but rather his eternal destiny has already been cast. The rich man was condemned to agony in flaming fire for all eternity because of his own selfish decisions during life.

If our hearts are still beating, then there is still time to possibly change our eternal destinies. We must come to realization that our sin has already made a separation between us and God (Isaiah 59:1-2). While after death this great chasm can never be crossed, prior to death there is an offer to salvation from God. Jesus, our Savior and Mediator, can stand in the gap, and through His blood our sins can be forgiven and fellowship with the Father restored. Paul said, “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live to themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). We must learn the lesson the rich man failed miserably at during his own life. This life is not to be lived purely for self-gain, but rather in selflessness and obedience to Jesus’ every command.

Are you prepared for the judgement of God? If your life was to end today, where would you spend your eternity? There will be no second chances; therefore, do not delay your obedience to the commands to God. Believe in the precious gospel of Jesus Christ. Confess your faith in His deity and Lordship. Repent of your sins, which have separated you from your heavenly Father. Be baptized in water for the remission of those sins and live faithfully according to His Word for the remainder of your life. The rich man cried, “…for I am in agony in this flame.” Please do not let these same words be your own for eternity!