I first met our dear friend when I was in college. My wife knew her in high school. We were all members of the college group, across from the University of Washington campus.
That was a time of the beatniks and when drugs first were rampant on the “Ave” in the University District. We were all good people. We were raised in Sunday School. We had all been trained in the church. We didn’t take drugs.
I was taught in Sunday School, “You don’t have to say you are a Christian, just live your life and people will know you are.” They taught us that if we were good persons we went to Heaven when we died. We weren’t taught about sin. We were taught to obey our parents, the law and be respectful to older persons. They taught us courtesy, generosity, loving everybody. We were taught to go to church because there you were taught to be good.
Hell was an unspoken threat – never mentioned but sort of known as a bad place where you didn’t want to go.
So, we grew up with a moral code that was supposed to get us through life. But we did not obey it strictly. We obeyed and were good when we could be seen, but when parents or authorities were not looking we chose to stretch the limits to the breaking point and beyond. But we were good people!
We were never taught the hard truths of Scripture and of God,
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God! (Romans 3:23)
All we like sheep have gone astray. (Isaiah 53:6)
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. (Romans 3:12)
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
Those are the harsh words of the Gospel, the Good News. We never heard them and would have disregarded them if we had.
We had fun together. No one got hurt. We were living in a prosperous America. Our parents were comfortably well off. What was there to worry about? We graduated, then got jobs or married or both. Children came along. We were adults in churches.
Then someone came into our lives teaching that our complaisant lives were not good. He said we were going to Hell because we did not believe in Jesus as God, Lord and Savior. Because we had not surrendered our lives to Jesus, we were doomed for eternity. I, for one, tried to ignore that unpleasant teaching.
Funny thing about truth. It has a way of being right and being persistent. The truth is that we had been wrong. All our Sunday School teaching had been wrong because it emphasized earning our way into God’s favor by being good.
We were wrong to disbelieve in the devil and in Hell. Both are real.
We were wrong to think that if we could balance out more good than bad we were set to go to heaven.
We were wrong to not believe that there will be a final reckoning, a Final Judgment when Jesus as the Righteous Judge will assess each person’s life.
We were wrong to discount Jesus as being just a good man instead of God’s righteous Son and our only Savior.
My wife believed the man and surrendered her life to Jesus. A real transformation happened. The Real Live Jesus, unseen, but very real, became a part of her life, filling the void that had been there.
Next, despite the fact that I was satisfied with my life, I met the real, living Lord God, Jesus Christ. He changed me completely, too and showed the true way to love, joy and peace. He has led us for half a century.
A year or so after my wife and I were saved, Jesus gave us the privilege of leading our friend to Jesus. Then the Holy Spirit led her to Overlake Christian Church in Kirkland, where she received excellent teaching.
From the moment she acknowledged Jesus was God and her Savior, to the moment of her death, she had absolute assurance that because she belonged to Jesus, she had nothing to fear in the Final Judgment. Scripture is full of that assurance.
“Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
Our dear friend doesn’t believe that anymore because she has no need for faith. She is in the Presence of her Gracious, Loving Father and she knows His grace and salvation!
Let me tell you what she is currently experiencing with Jesus. She has cast off her temporal, diseased, pain-ridden body. She has been clothed in a celestial body that never will experience pain. All sadness has been banished and replaced by eternal joy. There will never again be any grief at partings. On the contrary, there will be joyous greetings with those who have gone before and with those who will come after. She is seated with Jesus on His throne. She will spend everlasting life in His love. She is now receiving and will ever receive the love of her Heavenly Father. And that is wonderful beyond our imagining. She will be loving others to a far greater extent than she could in this life.
That is wonderful for her right now. And it is wonderful for all who have given their lives to Jesus and God the Father and the Holy Spirit, all those throughout the past and all who will in the future.
Now it is your turn, it is in this place and at this time that you can make the decision to affirm your faith in Jesus; to avoid eternal separation from the love of God the Father and to avoid the eternal misery of Hell.
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31)
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
When she knew she was dying, our dear friend was confident in her place in the family of God. She knew she was going to be with Jesus. When I talked with her a week before she died she spoke with anticipation of leaving this life to be in God’s glorious Kingdom forever. She is there now.
Is there is any doubt in your heart that you are on Jesus’ pathway to Heaven? Now is the moment of decision.
Don’t waste your life! Come now into the joy that awaits all who confess the Lord Jesus as God and accept His forgiveness for all your sin. Receive today the free gift of eternal life!
I believe that You are real Jesus. In many ways, I have not lived to give you glory. I am sorry for my lapses. Please forgive me and draw me into Your loving Presence. I give you my life. Cleanse me and present me to Your Father as Your own. Thank you for saving me, Jesus.
Now, Lord, we open our hearts to seek Your blessings for each of our lives through the prayer that Jesus taught us. Saying…
Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever.