Stolen Goods

I have never missed a flight before, but I was a mere seconds away on one occasion. After getting through the mile long security line, sprinting from one end of the airport to the other, I made it on my flight right before they closed the plane’s latch. The consequence of missing a flight is annoying: travel delays, fees, messes up your whole trip. But eventually, you get to your destination and you forget about it. What if missing a flight had a much greater consequence. Hypothetically, let’s say that plane was your ticket to Heaven. If you make the flight, you’re on your way to Heaven. But if you missed that plane - you would suffer the consequences of missing the flight, and be left to suffer in the worst place imaginable… I don’t think many people want to miss that flight. In fact, I’m sure if this were a real scenario, you’d be getting to that airport weeks in advance!

The thought of being “too late,” in a spiritual sense, is terribly frightening. And by “too late,” I mean too late in making the decision in your faith - who Jesus is to you personally. Deciding if He is the Savior King of your life, or if you believe He was just a mythical fable. When thinking grand scheme eternity, being “too late” could be the difference between Heaven and Hell.

Jesus, the Creator of the universe, came to Earth in human form with one purpose: to save. To rescue people from our sins that ultimately are leading us to an eternity separated from God. Towards the end of His earthly ministry, the culmination of His earthly purpose brought Him to a painful death on a cross. In Luke 23:32-43, you can read about the scene of the death sentence. As an innocent man, Jesus was hung on a cross with two criminals - one on either side of him. The very people that Jesus was dying for were there mocking His very existence. Amid all the mockery and dishonor, one of the criminals realized who Jesus actually is. And in Luke 23:42-43, we read of a beautiful last-minute redemption:

Then [the thief] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus saved this man at the last second, right before they were both about to die. We come to understand an important piece to salvation, that it is never too late to accept Jesus as your Savior. There is no amount of sin that Jesus can’t forgive. That criminal died his death because he deserved it - he was suffering the consequence of his devious actions. And even in that moment, before he died, he received salvation from Jesus right before death. 

It’s never too late, just don’t wait! When it comes to asking Jesus for forgiveness of your sins and surrendering your life to Him, while you are still alive and well, it’s never to late to ask Jesus to be the Savior of your life. But, if you are too late - meaning: you die before making that decision on who Jesus is to you… There’s no going back. This decision is the difference between an eternity in a place far greater than you could ever imagine or going to a place much worse, and more painful than you could imagine… 

That can be a pretty freaky thought, but it is what God’s Word says is truth. But God’s Word has relieving truths as well. Although everyone falls short of God’s perfection (Romans 3:23) and because of our sin we are all destined for eternal death (Romans 6:23), Romans 5:8-9 clearly lays out that even in our sin and depravity, Jesus still loves us and died for us - the penalty of sin we deserve, He lovingly and willingly paid on our behalf. Romans 10:9-10 gives us confidence that if we truly trust in what Jesus did and we confess our sins to Him, in exchange we receive forgiveness and will be saved for eternity. Phew! What a relief! 

So, what is your sin? Perhaps you are a Christian reading this, and you can reflect on a sin that you continue to struggle with that is left unforgiven. Even as Christians, we are still humans and make mistakes - we should apologize for offending our loving Father in those ways, and experience His powerful love and intense grace. Or possibly you think that you're a Christian -- but really ask yourself, have you truly ever asked Jesus for forgiveness? Have you let the Spirit transform your entire life? Or are you going through the motions, going to church, think you're living "good enough," and that's that? If you've never actually confessed your sins and asked for forgiveness, you're only deceiving yourself. Maybe you aren’t a believer, but the thought of missing that "flight” to Heaven is a wake up call for you. Recognize that you make mistakes and have sin in your life, and know that if you confess them to Jesus, you will be forgiven. 

If you have questions on Jesus, eternity, sin, what it means to be a Christ follower, or anything related: PLEASE e-mail john@pccsc.org