Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Telling it Like it Is!

John 8:21  Then Jesus said to them again, "I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come."

1 Thessalonians 4:16  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.


The Great Deception

Try going to your preacher and asking him or her if it is possible to know for sure that you are going to heaven.  Generally they will say, “No! No one can know that for sure.”  But then go to a funeral that is preached by that same person and you will generally find that they are confident that the person in the coffin is in heaven.  I find that strange.  I tell people BEFORE they die that they can know for sure that they are going to heaven.  But after they die, when I am preaching the funeral, I make it clear that I don’t know for sure if the person is in heaven or not.  In many cases, based on their verbal testimonies and their lives, I am quite confident that the person trusted in Christ and died “in Christ” and did not die “in their sins.”  In those cases I will say so.  However, many times I preach funerals where the person in the casket has not left clear testimony that they had trusted in Christ.  In those cases, I preach the Gospel and tell the audience that if this person is in heaven, then this is what they believed BEFORE they died.  I think we should know where we are going BEFORE we die and the preacher should be careful with that issue AFTER we die.  No preacher can put a person in heaven after they die.  Only faith in the Lord can assure us of heaven and He does that BEFORE we die.  John 5:24 is pretty clear on this point.


The Lord’s Plain Teaching

In John 8 some very hypocritical religious leaders of the Jews had brought a woman to the Lord who had committed adultery,   She was obviously guilty as she had been caught in the very act.  They must have had cell phone cameras or security cameras in that day as well.  Notably they didn’t bring the man who was involved.  The Lord listened to the charge against the woman and then said that the one without sin among them should carry out the justice required by the Old Testament law and should cast the first stone.  When the Lord said that the person without sin should cast the first stone, I personally believe He was saying that the person without THIS SIN that they were charging her with should cast the first stone.  Interestingly, they must have believed that the Lord knew all about them, because everyone left from the oldest (who likely had the most sin) to the youngest.  Then the Lord Who was not guilty of this or any sin forgave her and charged her to quit her sinning.  She must have breathed a sigh of relief and no doubt a great burden was lifted.  I suspect she might have had a different perspective on life, and she certainly must have thanked the Lord.  I think she might have been “born again.” 


But the religious leaders who did not believe in the Lord were not done.  They kept challenging the Lord’s teaching and the Lord is very plain.  They were going to die "IN THEIR SINS.”   Since the Lord was going back to heaven and since He says, “Where I go ye cannot come,” He is telling them that they are going to die and go to hell.  After all there are only two eternal destinies and purgatory is not one of them.  Neither is there a “limbo.”  Think of it, religious leaders are going to die in their sins, and a sinner is going to die in Christ.  When we are “in Christ”, God does not see our sins, He sees Christ.  Those in Christ have their sins covered by the blood of the Lamb, that is, by the death of Christ. 


So What do We Learn?

Obviously, it is important to know one’s eternal destiny before dying.  This Bible was written so we could know.  It was not written to leave us in doubt.  That is why we read words like “surely,” and “surely surely,” as well as “this is a faithful saying,” etc.  This is why the apostle John wrote, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God (1 John 5:13.)”


We also learn that the justice of the Old Testament has been satisfied by the death of Christ on the cross.  When this justice is rejected people die in their sins.  When this justice is accepted by faith in the Lord Jesus people die in Christ.  John 1:17 reminds us, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  I am glad that I live in New Testament days and know the One who provides grace without giving up truth.


Maybe preachers should get as honest with their parishioners as the Lord was with those who listened to Him.  On the other hand, maybe we have a lot of preachers who are like the religious leaders who were condemning the Lord.  Maybe they answer the way they do because they are still “in their sins.” 


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of May 22, 2016

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