Modern films often jump forward and back in time in what are called flashbacks. Some movies actually start off in the last scene and then revert to the beginning to show how all the events have lead up to the final scene. I want to give the final message of this article and perhaps all of my articles to you now because you may do as I do and put off the completion of your reading for weeks, months or maybe forever.
I could not live with that outcome but even worse, neither could you. This is the final message. You can and will live forever. The whereabouts of your final abode is the only choice you will be able to make, not whether you will live forever.
I give this advice about your choice knowing it is your only choice. Forgive me if I sound over confident, uppity or even foolish. Jesus said “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”(Lk 6:31) I would be grateful to any man who wanted to warn me of an eternal destiny in total suffering, torment or darkness. I don’t ask for anyone’s gratefulness, only their ears.
The God of creation who will one day bring the history of man to its final chapter and judge the living and the dead has declared that all men are sinners, but more succinctly, all men have sinned. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Ro 3:23) The simple question then is; what can we do about it. Don’t be surprised, but the most honest answer is; nothing at all!
Man is completely incapable of dealing with sin and its consequences; that’s where God comes in and that’s why his dealing with man’s sin is called the grace of God. We create religions, moral codes or we labor under the false notion of an imaginary scale in the skies where our good behaviors out-weigh our worst behavior. God accepts none of these efforts but rather visits the earth as the Son of the Living God and takes our punishment himself through his death on the cross.
If we can defy our natural inclination to pride, self sufficiency and narcissism we can with a humble heart and a contrite spirit receive the benefit of his death on the cross as a free gift. It is not a cheap gift because it is free, in fact it is the most costly gift anyone has ever been offered. The gift is fully paid for and if accepted will keep you from having to pay for your own sins. It goes like this, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Ro 6:23)
Don’t worry you have not been led to some kind of entrapment, in fact as the previous verse indicates you have already been trapped and the price is far too high for anyone to get released. Death is bad enough but eternal death is beyond what any man wants to pay.
God’s call is to receive life but it requires that you confess all your known sin and start a new life with Christ at the helm. It is called being “born again” and it is much more than a name by which to identify a group of Christians. It is a condition without which you cannot see life. How is it accomplished? The simplicity of the act of rebirth is this easy, so easy that it is often the reason it is overlooked or rejected.
How do you receive him? Stop whatever you may be doing right now, including, reading this article. Humble yourself before God and confess your sins. After that ask him if he would come to you and be your Savior. Will he? Without doubt! “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12)
So, what price would you pay? Let it suffice to say you do not have enough and you never will. Yet the gift is yours for the taking.
In the year of 1776 when America declared her independence by creating that revered document known as the Declaration of Independence, a world away in London, England, August M. Toplady penned the words to what is now among the top ten most well known hymns of the Christian faith called, “Rock of Ages.”
With poetic eloquence Toplady summarized one of the simplest yet most profound teachings of the New Testament. It is a definition of grace and a doctrine so basic that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without accepting it.
Toplady was inspired to write the great hymn when he was trapped in a furious thunderstorm on his way home and took refuge in a hollowed or cleft area of a huge rock. While waiting out the storm he realized that all of life is a storm and those who have hidden themselves in Christ are protected from the lashing and fury of the storm and are preserved by and for the Lord.
Understanding that Christ’s life was what paid for his salvation, Toplady wrote this summary about the costs. Forget the stock market report and don’t worry about the price of gold, there is not enough gold to buy your way into God’s Kingdom as the second stanza of the old hymn declares.
In my hand no price I bring; simply to thy cross I cling. Could my tears forever flow, could my zeal no languor know. These for sin could not atone, Thou must save and Thou alone.
August Montague Toplady 1740 – 1778