"For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
After a period of rest and re-inspiration, I am happy to be back and sharing what is on my heart. I was so blessed to be able to revel in the spirit of thanksgiving and gratitude for what God is currently doing in my life and the lives of those who have answered His call; many for the first time. How great is His Grace and Love for all who seek Him!
But, I write this post today with all those in mind who refuse to respond to that invitation from the Lord. My heart is heavy as I think of those whom I love who cannot see beyond the false spoils of this temporary life. For some reason, surrendering to Jesus threatens to destroy what they perceive as the fun and rewards of living a carefree life in pursuit of the finest material possessions the world can offer.
I've heard all the excuses... "I just don't know how to approach Jesus; and I don't want to do it wrong" ... "I just can't believe in a God who stands by and allows (fill in the blank)"... "It just doesn't make any logical or scientific sense" (this reasoning usually comes from intellectual and academic atheists)... and, of course, there is the popular excuse of "I know there is something out there, but I just want to discover it on my own. You know, people need to come to their own conclusions."
But in each of these cases, I always have one question... "What do you think happens to you the very second after you die?" And invariably, I see a moment's hesitation, filled with either grief, pain, or fear. Because, instinctively, they know. They know that there is something more. It just seems like there is too high a price to pay now for what they know is a future certainty. There is still time to enjoy the pleasures of a life without Jesus before they think they need to give up the pursuit of worldly treasures.
But we all know that this is the irony of their arguments. Our rewards and treasures are not to be found on this earth. What's more, each of these people know they are not living perfect lives; they know that there is sin in the world. But they have somehow convinced themselves that their sin will be overlooked; or that relatively speaking, it is far less worse than those who have murdered, robbed, or abused the elderly and children. Some think that God will recognize that they have tried to be a good person, and that is all that is required. Their efforts are better spent accumulating wealth, or traveling the world, because, um, "life is too short not to have fun." (I can't tell you how many times I have heard that!)
Others deliberately live in a "fantasy" world because of past sins, and so they live behind a facade of community involvement, job titles, big houses, and European vacations; while carefully crafting a life that is merely masquerading the fear that comes when they contemplate my question about death. Because that moment after death will happen for each of us. That will be the moment, when you either behold the shining face of Jesus as He welcomes you into His arms, or you know with frightening sureness that you traded eternal life for a few minutes of futile and unfulfilling emptiness.
When the Bible says that "the wages of sin are death", the meaning is really very simple. It means that our sinful lives bring us no profit. We gain nothing from a life lived in sin. We can only reap death, which in this case means not only the physical end of our human body, but a termination of the chance for our spirits to live with God. It is very real, and it is a separation of our spirit from God for all of eternity. I cannot understand why anyone would trade that for a few years of ignorant bliss celebrating the empty promises of this world.
But it is exactly as the Bible states in Romans 6:23 ... the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The invitation that He extends to us to believe in His Grace and the atonement of Jesus's death on the Cross (paying the price for our sins against God) is truly A GIFT. And all we have to do is recognize that we are sinful and can do nothing on our own to gain God's favor; that the price we owe Him for our sinful rebellion and disobedience was willingly paid for by His Son; and that if we will only have trust and confidence in what Jesus did for us; our faith will result in His recognizing us the moment we leave this world and stand in His presence. His resurrection is proof that if we follow His ways and commandments, our resurrection is assured, along with a life spent in eternal relationship with Him. Then all the treasures and wealth and abundance we accumulated on earth will be seen for what it was... hollow and worthless.
Time is running short for all these people who are important in my life. I do not want to see them squander one more minute in pursuit of vacant victories. I pray that they will answer the knock on the door before it is too late, and that they will share, with me, the abundant joy of being in His presence in Heaven for a time that has no end.