FIRST-PERSON: Unprepared for eternity

Tags: salvation

EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) -- Oh, the unbelievable horror of putting off Christ! The eternal sadness of waiting one day too long!

It's akin to the terror of those who delayed boarding the ark in the days of Noah or those who failed to escape Sodom and Gomorrah when they had the opportunity. Think of the scoffing thief who died Christ-less within inches of Christ Himself who was -- at that very moment -- dying for him on the adjacent cross. Think of the multitudes at the Great White Throne Judgment who will frantically insist their names "must surely" be written somewhere in the Lamb's Book of Life.

But they waited too long.

The Bible warns that every human being is subject to sudden death. No one has the promise of another day or hour. We never know when we'll be swept into eternity by a car wreck, heart attack, an act of violence, a natural disaster or freak accident.

Thousands of people will die today, and many can't see it coming. They woke up this morning, showered, dressed, grabbed a cup of coffee and dashed out the door never dreaming they were leaving their doorstep for the final time.

The Bible teaches that our days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle (Job 7:6), like flowers that quickly fade (Job 14:2) and like a mist that appears for a little time then vanishes (James 4:14).

Jesus told the story (Luke 16:19-31) of a rich man who lived in affluence while a beggar named Lazarus lived nearby in squalor. The beggar was ready for eternity. When he died he was carried away to be with Abraham and the saints of all the ages. But when the rich man died, he found himself in Hades. Jesus said, "Being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and … cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue'" (Luke 16:24).

But it wasn't possible, and there he still is today without a whisper of hope. One of the worst things about hell is that one's memory doesn't die. The inhabitants of hell will remember all the opportunities they spurned. They'll remember church services they attended, tracts they did not read, invitations they shrugged off, and Bibles they disregarded.

Are you ready to meet Christ? Or are you in danger of waiting a day too long?

A prominent judge was raised in a Christian home by godly parents but he never personally professed personal faith in Christ. He married a woman who was a radiant believer. At the time of their marriage, he gave her the promise that someday he would get saved. She frequently reminded her husband of his promise, only to be put off with the words, "Sometime I will get saved, not now."

This continued for some time until the wife contracted a serious illness and died shortly afterward. Her final pleadings were for his salvation but he continued to put off a decision.

One night the judge had a vivid dream -- his whole life came before him as a panorama, scene after scene. He saw himself as an infant in the arms of a godly mother. He saw himself as a child listening to his mother's prayers. He saw himself as a young man, drifting into dark company and bad habits as his mother knelt earnestly in her home, interceding for him. Then he saw his wife and heard her voice pleading with him to be saved. In his dream, he could hear himself saying, "Sometime, not now .... Sometime, not now ...." Then came a vivid scene of his own death. The judge awoke in terror.

What about you? Have you yielded your life to Christ or is your attitude the same as the procrastinating judge: "Someday I'll get saved. Not now."

The Bible uses the word now to express the urgency of salvation.

The Book of Isaiah says, "'Come now, and let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ....'" (Isaiah 1:18).

If you'd like to trust Christ as your Savior, let me suggest a simple prayer you can sincerely offer to the Lord right now: Dear God, I confess my sins. I don't want to delay another moment. I invite Jesus into my heart to be my Savior. Today I confess Him as my Lord. I claim His promise of eternal life. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Let today be your day of salvation!

David Jeremiah is pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., and founder and host of "Turning Point for God." For more information on Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org. This column has been approved by Turning Point for redistribution in Baptist state newspapers; for other reprint requests, contact Myrna Davis at mdavis@tursningpointonline.org.
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