Death comes unannounced to people of all ages, in good or bad health. In the last two months alone I have personally known nine people who have died and attended funeral services officiated by ministers of every Christian denomination. I often leave the gravesite with such sadness–not only for the loss of someone who is loved–but for what the minister has left unsaid; or worse yet, for what is often implied to be true, that may not be. Almost without fail the minister assures people that their loved one has gone to heaven and that they will see them again one day. As much as we’d like to believe that everyone who dies will be with God, this is not what the bible says. It is an injustice to give people false hope that heaven awaits us all, or assume everyone knows the way to salvation. What if they don’t? Scripture clearly tells us that people perish through lack of knowledge. All it would take is 10-15 minutes to make sure that people have the knowledge they need to make an informed decision.
Sharing the message of salvation is our duty, especially at times like these. People are never more aware of their own mortality, and never more receptive to hearing about spiritual matters, than when they are face to face with death. This is the perfect time to reach out to tell people about the One true hope for eternal life. Some people may never have another chance to hear what they need to know. But, more often than not, people walk away from these services the same way they came. Empty and lost. This should never be the case at any Christian service.
This does not mean we have to shove the message down anyone’s throat or try to convince anyone to believe. No one comes to God unless they have been drawn to Him.
Salvation always starts with a gentle call from God. It is a stirring within a person to seek that ‘certain something’ that will fill their emptiness. He knocks at our hearts door, but the choice to answer or ignore the call is ours. He will never force us to love Him. (John 6:44, Rev 3:20)
You see, the bible tells us that God created humans without sin so that we could have an intimate and eternal relationship with Him. But Adam and Eve made a decision to disobey a direct command and messed that up for the rest of us. Sin separated them (and us) from God; this disconnection from our source of spiritual life resulted in our spiritual death.(Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:10-12, 23) This is why every person born comes into the world in a a state of sin on a one way highway to hell. And, there is nothing we can do by our own power to save ourselves from our destiny. The good news is that God provides a way of escape for anyone wanting it. He gave us an exit ramp. The bible tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Salvation is a free gift from God. There’s nothing we did, or ever can do, to deserve it. However, those who want to accept the gift must first come to terms with their sinful nature, repent for the wrong they’ve done and make a commitment not to do those things again. But there is no special formula to tell God you want to accept what He is offering. A simple prayer like this will do:
LORD, I admit that I’m a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I repent for living for myself. Please forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you.
Then the Christian walk begins. The only way to know what God expects of you and what you can expect of Him is by reading the book He authored. But, remember, that no one will ever be perfect. God just wants us to try our very best to do what is right and gives us the power to overcome temptation as soon as we accept Christ.
‘We wouldn’t need a Savior if we didn’t need saving’… is a line in one of the songs my husband wrote. This means that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves from the punishment we deserve. The good news is that Jesus can.
When our time on earth is done we will stand alone before God and will be judged for the choice we decided to make.