While There is Still Time
Recently, there have been several commercials on television regarding smoking, or more specifically, why you should stop smoking if you do so. The images are graphic, showing the various physical side effects that can come from inhaling the various chemicals contained in cigarettes. It can damage the lungs, bring about devastating changes to one’s appearance, cause the loss of one’s vocal chords, and other such things. While many might think such things won’t happen to them, the images raise the question if it’s worth taking the chance. Obviously, reading the warning label attached to each pack of cigarettes is not sufficient to change one’s mind. One wonders if these commercials are any more sufficient. So many times, the experience of negative effects is what makes an impact on a person, but also many times, it may come too late to help.
In a similar fashion, Jesus offers us sincere teachings and warning in His word about the effect of sin in our lives. Sometimes sin can alter one’s life in ways that are physically and emotionally harmful, that arrest one’s attention and brings about an examination of what it is doing to one’s life. Sometimes it might seem to people Jesus misspoke, as they don’t see any harm in what they are doing, at least at that current moment in time. There is, however, the time approaching when the result of a sinful lifestyle cannot be denied, when its effects cannot be removed, when the price to be paid cannot be changed.
This reminds us of the rich man of Luke 16:19-31. This person basically lived a self-centered life, taking no thought of tomorrow, or of those around him, as so many do today, even in the body of Christ. Upon dying, he found himself in Hades, being in torment (Luke 16:23). He was concerned about finding relief from the judgment of sin, of the torment sin brings eternally. It was not to be for him (16:24-26), but his suffering caused him to want his family, who were living a self-indulgent lifestyle as well, to avoid what he did not. Jesus told him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead" (16:31). All of the warnings he may have heard in life, the image of those whose needs could be helped by him, the teaching of the Law regarding living for God and not self, seemed inconsequential to him, until he experienced eternal torment for himself. He came to understand, but it was too late!
The Bible is God’s word, a message to us from He who is eternal, the “Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (Rev. 22:13). It reveals to us what life is all about, and how to live it abundantly, now and eternally. It’s a voice from Him who will judge us, which speaks to us about finding eternal life, not eternal judgment. The question is whether we will listen and obey while there is still time.
How wonderful and amazing it is that God has revealed so Himself to us, offering us a way to eternal life. We must submit our lives to Him who speaks to us through His word, and fully trust in His promises will there is still time. Will we listen to His voice from eternity, as He calls us to live for Him, and find the life that is life indeed? “Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:1-2).
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.”