SIMPLE TRUTH: Comfort on the judgment roadBy Staff Reports Published 1:26pm Thursday, August 15, 2013
By Charles Christmas
Today, on my way between my Cornerstone Fitness workout and my next stop, a question came to my mind: How could persons be comforted on their journey to the judgment of God? So, I set about reviewing the multiple scores of times the word “judgment” appeared in the New Testament, used by the Lord Jesus and the Apostles. Very often it refers to the time and experience of standing before the all-knowing Holy God, awaiting his unwelcome sentence of judgment.
Now, what comforting words could be given persons on the “judgment” road? Well, I could say, “God’s word is not true about what sin is, what it does and where it leads.” But I imagine the response might be: “But I have heard that is what Adam and Eve were led to believe and it brought no comfort to them or their children after them.”
Or I could try to encourage by saying, “You just need to try to live a good, respectable life in your family and community, and maybe add some church to it, and all will be well.”
Yet, the response might be, “But I’ve been told that you are saved for the purpose of living a good life, but that a good life will never save you.”
And then I suggest, “The great overwhelming majority of people around us and in our world have no concern about a judgment: the majority of television shows, magazines, social networking and music. You know the majority can’t be wrong.”
But the reply comes: “But I understand that the majority of people are going to hell. Somewhere, the Bible says something like, “Broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many go that way, but narrow is the way that leads to life and only few enter.”
I try again and say, “A good and loving God would not send people to hell.” The person replies, “But it seems I remember the Bible says that it is not God’s choice, but mine; that he made his choice by loving us and sending his Son, and his Son chose to go to the cross and die for all. God says to choose life.”
Then I said, “Well, you know, one way is as good as another; people believe differently but different roads lead to heaven.” But I was interrupted with, “But I was told that Jesus claimed to be the true and living way and that no one would come to God except through him.”
I tried to encourage by saying, “Wasn’t there a time long ago when you went forward in church, or repeated some prayer about Jesus coming into your heart or even, maybe, you were even baptized. No matter how you have been living, you know, ‘once saved always saved.’”
Thoughtfully the answer came, “But I cannot get out of my mind that the person who endures to the end shall be saved, and that a real disciple of Jesus is the one who continues in his word, and that only those who do the will of the Father in heaven are ready for the Day of Judgment.”
Trying one more time to comfort, I said, “You will still have a long time to live, enjoy life and to think about this later on in life.” Seriously, the reply came, “I think I understand that following Jesus is more about having the best life right now. I believe he said that he came that we might have abundant life now, and that if we give up our life to him and for him, we would find real life here with inner peace, purpose, love, inner joy and unfailing companionship. I believe God is telling me this. I want to make a choice and I choose Jesus; to trust him and to follow him.”
—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.