Dearly Beloved Ones,
I recently attended the memorial service for a dear brother in Christ. Just before that a dear sister’s loved one passed away. Even as I type, another dear brother is in the last days of his life here on Earth. Such events are always times of deep reflection, and these moved me to take one more opportunity to share with you my beliefs and concerns about life, death, salvation in Christ, and the hope of Glory which may only be had by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone. My desire and need to share with you once more the Good News of eternal life in Christ has been sharpened all the more by current world events. I do sincerely believe the Day is very near when Jesus will return to put an end to satan’s earthly reign, and establish His own dominion over the Earth as it was before the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden.
There is no way, here in this brief appeal, to adequately cover all of the predictions the Bible – God’s Holy Word to us – makes about end times events. Indeed, one could spend a lifetime studying Biblical prophecy and still only scratch the surface. In summary, the Bible says that the rampant evil we see all around us is only the beginning of the birth pangs which will usher in the culmination of God’s plan to restore His creation to its perfect state as it was before mankind chose to reject God. When Jesus returns to establish His kingdom, the Bible states that it will be preceded by a short period (7 years) of suffering and destruction such as the world has never experienced before. Prior to that, I believe that the true believers in Jesus who strove to obey Him, love Him, and serve Him in their earthly lives will be removed to be forever with Him, and won’t suffer through this “Great Tribulation” period. All of that is great news for those who have placed their trust in Jesus, but very bad news for those who have not. The Bible says that all mankind will soon be judged, and only those who have called upon the Name of Jesus will enter into eternal life in His presence. Everyone else is to be cast into a lake of fire where they will be in torment for all eternity, separated from God.
What has me most concerned, though, is that the Bible says God will send a strong delusion upon those who have not believed the Gospel and called upon Jesus for salvation, so that during the tribulation they will believe the lies of satan, not the Truth of God. This may mean that people who have heard and rejected the Gospel may not be able to recognize the Truth anymore, once the Great Tribulation begins. I hope and pray that isn’t the case, but I am in deep despair for the as yet unsaved, because I know in my heart the time is very short before all of these prophecies will be fulfilled. Of course, even though I believe the end is very near, the fact remains that none of us knows whether we will still be alive even for the next two minutes. None of us knows the hour or day of our death, and when we’re dead it will be too late for us to change our minds about the Gospel; the die will have already been cast forever.
So once more for the record – The Gospel is simple and clear…
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
1 John 1:9[NKJV]
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God is perfectly righteous, and will not abide in the presence of sin. Yet all mankind is sinful by our very nature. None of us could (or would) abide by God’s perfect law. God has declared that He will punish all sin by death. How could God resolve that dilemma? We certainly couldn’t, but He did by coming to Earth in the flesh of Jesus, living a perfectly sinless life as a man, and dying on the cross in our place to take our punishment for our sins upon Himself, and to give us His righteousness in place of our sin so that we might be resurrected from death and dwell eternally in God’s presence, just as Jesus proved with His own resurrection by the power of His own Spirit.
But God has also given us the gift of free will. He will not force Himself and His salvation upon us. He allows us to choose for ourselves whether to accept His salvation Gospel or not. The salvation process consists of two steps…
- We believe in our hearts that Jesus lived, died, and rose again for our salvation. This belief is a gift of God by the power of His Spirit working upon our hearts.
- We must accept this gift of faith, and say so out loud in prayer to Him. In so doing, we confess our sin, commit to turn away from our sin, and ask Him to fill our hearts with His Spirit and direct our lives by His Spirit’s power from that moment onward, so that He can empower us to combat our sinful nature to serve and honor Him as our Lord.
On that day when we invite Jesus to come and direct our lives, He washes away our sins – past, present, and future – and gives us His own righteousness in their place. Indeed is is a rebirth into His life and a death to our past life of sin. On that day He begins a good work of cleansing within us, and He will be faithful to complete it until He returns for us, or calls us to Himself in our physical death and new spiritual eternal life with Him.
No one can cause us to believe the Gospel (step 1 above) – not even ourselves. Only God can lead us to faith by the power of His Spirit in answer to prayer (our own prayer, and the prayer of those who intercede for us). But having believed, He leaves us to choose whether we will follow Him or continue in our sin (step 2 above).
Don’t be like I was, dear one, having believed as a very young man by the power of God’s Spirit working upon my heart, but refusing to repent of my sin to turn and follow Jesus as my Lord for another 26 years! I honestly don’t believe there are anywhere close to 26 years left for this planet under the reign of satan, and none of us knows whether we’ll still be alive even 30 seconds from now. Don’t wait until it’s too late!