I am a writer. I cannot deny or ignore my impulse to write. It may seem that I do just that since months go by without a post to this blog, but in actuality, I write every day. I comment on current events and structure sentences and arguments while I vacuum or drive. I have several blogs saved on my computer that may never get published because I do not consider them good enough to share yet, or in some cases, I do not think they will be well received. That may sound cowardly, but in seeing what people post on social media, I know that my opinions on current events will be met with derision and possibly anger. I happily entertain respectful debate, but not profanity-laced abuse. So, I have kept my blog light, largely humorous, and anecdotal…until today.
I know what you are about to read will anger some and be ignored by others, but I have to write it. I saw a documentary recently that profoundly concerned and affected me, and this message has been writing itself in my head ever since. Just now I read a news story about “agitators” burning Bibles and American flags in Portland, and I rushed straight to my computer. However, I want you know that I am not writing this with sanctimonious intentions, judgmentally believing myself better than others. On the contrary, I am fully aware of my failings and my imperfections. I have a temper, which still gets the better of me at times. I sometimes use bad language. I have told lies. I can be selfish. I appeal to you simply as a human who eventually found strength and peace in something larger than herself, and who wants to share that with all of you.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power…Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:1-4, 12, English Standard Version (ESV)
This scripture gives me hope and makes me terribly sad at the same time. It makes me hopeful because I see all these things happening in the world right now, which means that my Lord will return soon and set things to right, but it makes me awfully sad and afraid for all the people who do not and will not believe in Him, and, therefore, will not make it into His kingdom, into the glorious perfect world that He intended from the beginning. I want us all to make it, and so does He. 1 Timothy 2:4 says that God “desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away’…But for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for the murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:1, 3-4, 8
Imagine having God himself living with us, to see Him, talk to Him, and praise Him in His very presence! Imagine an end to all sickness, death, sadness, pain, and evil!
In order to be included among those who get to live with God eternally in peace, harmony, unity and perfection, all we have to do is believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who gave His life on the cross for your sins, my sins, and the sins of the whole world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God…Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:16-18,36
I sit here, writing these words, with the enemy whispering that I have no right to tell other people what they should believe, but I know he’s a liar and would do anything to keep even one more person from turning their life over to God. So, I remind myself of the indescribable joy and gratitude for the grace and mercy of Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf and the redemption we attain through belief in Him. My sins may not seem so bad by human standards, but to God all sin is abhorrent, even the little white lies. In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus said that even calling someone an abusive name is as bad as murder! Without Jesus I would be in trouble. I called someone an “idiot” for cutting me off in traffic the other day.
There is nothing anyone can do to earn their way into God’s presence. Only Jesus in His perfection can ever atone for our wrongs and bridge the divide between us and the Father. It is a free gift. All we have to do is believe and follow Him. Part of my obedience in following Him is to share with others who He is and what He did. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your doing; it is the gift of God….” Ephesians 2:4-5, 8
We all are sinners. We have all fallen short and broken God’s righteous standards. (Romans 3:10, 23) He loves us all, no question, but He hates sin. And He’s so holy, good, and pure that only a holy, good, pure and perfect sacrifice could atone for us, which is Jesus Christ, His Son. (Romans 3:23-25) Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I make mistakes every day (like calling the person who cut me off in traffic an “idiot”) because I’m still a work-in-progress, and every day Jesus intercedes on my behalf with the Father and covers me with His blood so that when the Father looks on me, He sees the perfect light of His son, rather than my imperfections. (1 John 1:9, 2:1,2)
I could go on, but I’m afraid I’ll muddy the waters. So, I’ll leave with you with this. God created you. He loves you. He knows every hair on your head. (Luke 12:7) But if you reject him, He will reject you. It’s your choice. It’s called free will. He doesn’t force anyone to love Him, because He is love (1 John 4:8), and love is not forced; it is freely given. I keep hearing that Beatles song in my head, “All we need is love, sweet love,” except I would say, “All we need is God’s sweet love.” Don’t take my word for it, take His. Look into the Bible. All scripture is given by God (2 Timothy 3:16,17), and if you ask for His guidance, He’ll give it to you. Deuteronomy 30:15 says, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.” Seek Him. Choose life and good.