Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Getting it Right!

Meditation for the week of May 29, 2011

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  John 3:17

This Memorial Day weekend, many of us have spent time at cemeteries.  There were ceremonies honoring the war veterans and flowers honoring our loved ones.  We saw  headstone after headstone and underneath each headstone is a person who no longer has questions about what happens after we die.

People have differing opinions about this important issue.  The Lord Jesus in his love has given us a glimpse of what  happens by telling us about a rich man whose name has been forgotten forever and a man named Lazarus in Luke 16.  The rich man died and went to a place of conscious torment.  When he realized that he had made the biggest mistake that anyone could make, he prayed for his brothers who were still living so that they would not make the same mistake.  Apparently, the rich man had not believed the old testament scriptures and neither did His brothers.  Lazarus was carried by angels into a place of comfort.   The message of the whole Bible makes it clear that all of our destinies are determined by a simple thing called faith.  Faith cannot be faith in ourselves or  in what we want to believe, but saving faith is faith in the Living God.  For those of us who are alive today, that means that we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the one who suffered on the cross to put away our sins and to save us.  He didn’t come to condemn the world but to save it.  He wants us to trust Him when He says that.

The Bible uses words like believing in the Lord or believing on the Lord or having faith in the Lord.  As I understand those words, they all could be translated “trust the Lord.”  Trusting someone is hard.  We prefer to trust ourselves.  Because God is holy and sin is going to be judged, God says we can either bear the consequences of our sin ourselves by dying in unbelief as the rich man died, or we can let Christ bear the consequences of our sins by trusting Him. When we trust Him, we are saved!  That is what the Lord tells us in the Bible.

What does it mean to trust Him?  It means that we are resting in the Biblical promise that God has made to us that Christ died for our sins and is the sacrifice that has satisfied Him completely.   Because we don’t get a second chance to trust the Lord after we die, we need to make sure that we have gotten this right before we die.  Many people seem to think that trusting the Lord is an easy thing.  I think it is very difficult.  First we have to be convinced that we need to trust Him.  We also need to be convinced that it isn’t all over after we die.  Then we need to be convinced that we deserve to go where the rich man went but that the Lord came to save us from that.  In addition, we need to quit trusting ourselves so we can trust in the Lord.

People have different ways of trying to simply this idea of trust.  Some tell people to invite the Lord into their hearts (whatever that means).  They sometimes tell people to pray to be saved or to decide for Christ.   Sometimes they are told to make a confession by coming down publicly to an altar.  Each of these techniques keeps the focus on what we do.  God wants us to get the focus on what Christ did for us.  In Isaiah 45:22, the Lord says,  "Look to Me, and be saved.”  We are not to look to ourselves in any way, but to Christ.  So no matter what we tell people to do, ultimately they are not saved unless they trust Christ by trusting in His Biblical promises.  I personally did not find that to be an easy thing to do. 

Since there are no second chances under those grave stones and since those who have died are no longer arguing about whether the Bible is true and whether God is real and whether there is a place called hell and place called heaven, we need to make sure that we get this right before we die.  Regardless of whether we have done the inviting, deciding, praying or confessing, now we would be a good time to make sure we have done the trusting. That is what the Lord wants us to do. 

Someday, one of those headstones will be ours.  We can’t afford to be trusting in anything but the Lord Jesus who did not come to condemn but to save when our time comes.

Bruce Collins

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