I’ve lost my appetite. My wife is still missing. A lot of my friends are still missing. We used to joke that if someone was missing maybe the Rapture occurred. But I didn’t believe in it. I thought it was all nonsense. Now I’m not sure.
I’m coming out of shock. That’s the first of the stages of grief. I think I’m entering into the second stage of grief. I should’ve listened to my wife. She said I should’ve trusted Christ for salvation. She told me Christ was God. She said that He died for my sins . . . personally died for me. That there was a time of tribulation coming on the world.
She said I was a fraud as a pastor. She said pastors are supposed to believe in Christ. It wasn’t enough to just be “christian.” She said if I died I would go to Hell. If the Rapture took place that I’d be left behind! Well, it’s all happened! Had I really been left behind?
It’s hard for me to believe. On the other hand, here I am! All those nutty Christians are gone and I’m still here. There still seems to be a lot of “Christians” here. But they aren’t here anymore.
Am I having one of those “Oh, crud moments?” It looks like I am having one of them.
I have one of those “How To Become A Christian” booklets laying around. I’ll take a look at it.
- It says that I have to admit I’m a sinner and have offended God.1 OK. I have that one down. I don’t think I measure up to what God wants from me. He is the standard of morality. Scripture says He is perfect2 and that’s what we’re supposed to be, too. I’m not that good. I’m pretty good but not that good!
- It says Christ died for my sins . . . personally! Yeah, I studied that in school. It’s called substitutionary atonement.3 It’s a big phrase. It just means Christ died in my place. That I deserved death for how I offended God. That’s a bit of a catch for me. But who am I to bargain at this stage? My wife and friends are gone! Well, almost all of them are gone. OK, I’ll go with that one. Christ died in my place to pay the penalty that I should should pay.4 An old crusty lady in one of my churches always said, “He paid a debt that I owed because I owed a debt I could not pay.” She was really into money. I guess she’d really understand that aphorism.
- The booklet says that it’s not enough to just give mental assent to all these things, we have to personally trust that God did all these things for us.5 I guess I missed the boat on several points. I guessed it wasn’t a boat that I missed. I didn’t believe the right things about Christ and I didn’t personally trust Him either! There’s another point in that booklet.
- It says I can actually know that I’m going to go to Heaven. I think my wife knew that. It’s just not that I could hope that I’ll go to Heaven, I could know that I’m going to Heaven.
5) I think I’ve done that! Now I know what my wife was talking about! I’m saved. I can tell. It must be the Holy Spirit inside of me now!!6 And the Scripture says it, too.7 It says that I can trust the Scripture itself that I have eternal life. How cool! How did I miss all this?
I think I know. In the prophet Jeremiah it says that the “heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt.”8 I guess in my pride, I was fooling myself.
I’m saved. I’m really saved! I’ll be back with Esmeralda, my wife! For now I guess I have a lot of ministering to do!
And I need to find a sandwich! All that thinking made me hungry.
(To Be Continued . . .)
1 Romans 3:23, “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
2 Matthew 5:48, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ”
3) Romans 5:8, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” “For” may be the most important word in this verse. It indicates that Christ died in our place.
4) Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
5) Romans 10:9b-10a, “believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For man believes with his heart and so is justified.” More simply, Romans 10:13 says, “every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”
6) Romans 8:16, “ . . . the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God”
7) 1 John 5:13, “I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. and John 5:24, says that we have already passed over to eternal life, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has [already is the sense of the past tense of this verb] passed from death to life.”
8) Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?”