No Excuses (One Last Chance?)
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Many people understandably wonder if God will give humans “one final chance” to believe in Jesus after our earthly lives are over.
While this is a legitimate question that is answered “yes”, “no”, and “maybe/not sure” by many thoughtful people, it is especially concerning because many people use the possibility of the answer being “no” as a reason to not believe in/follow Jesus now.
For many, there’s a feeling that if there’s even the slightest possibility that the answer could be “no,” then Jesus isn’t worth trusting in/surrendering to because He is “unfair, judgmental, sick, etc.” to send people to hell (especially people who “never heard about Him” while they were on earth).
Here are some thoughts on this important question/issue:
1. Humans Don’t Deserve “Second Chances” (either in this life or the next life). This is key. If we approach God from the standpoint that we deserve His love, forgiveness, mercy, etc., then we are walking across a styrofoam bridge. While God loves us, He doesn’t have to love us; while God offers humans forgiveness and new life through faith in His Son Jesus, we don’t deserve it (and we cannot earn it). He loves us because HE is good, not because WE are good. He is love, we are not inherently lovable. His mercy/grace are gifts, not rights. We simply are not worthy of Him (and yet He loves us anyway!)–please click HERE for Luke 7:6-10 where a Roman centurion understands this truth beautifully and amazes Jesus with his faith.
2. God’s Guarantee: In Jeremiah 29:11-14 (please click HERE for the passage), God promises–He 100% guarantees!–that anyone (ANYONE!) who truly tries to find Him during our earthly lives will in fact find Him during our earthly lives. What a powerful assurance from God! Thus, if someone doesn’t find Jesus during their earthly life, they didn’t really look for Him, didn’t really concern themselves with finding The One Who died to offer them forgiveness for their sins. Like some who refuse to stop smoking cigarettes even as their health deteriorates or others who avoid visiting a doctor to diagnose a chronic ailment, we will not be able to blame God when we face the ultimate consequence for our actions. Ignorance is not bliss, and His loving warnings are right on the label.
3. Jesus Isn’t Hiding From Us (but we are expected to seek Him out). Just as it would be embarrassing for a healthy/mature 25 year old to be spoon-fed his/her meals every day, God doesn’t spoon-feed Himself to us. Even though He has done all the heavy lifting (e.g. creating us, taking care of us each day, and dying for us on the Cross) we also have a role to play in being adopted into His family–seeking Him out, pursuing Him, investigating Jesus’ claims with an open mind, reading the Bible to discover if it is true (not skimming it trying to prove that it isn’t true), working through our doubts, etc. Eternal life with Jesus is a gift from God that cannot be earned, but we do need to receive it and unwrap it (and read the card first!)(please click HERE for John 1:9-13 NIV).
4. No Loopholes With God. We Americans LOVE to find loopholes to every law, we work hard at figuring out ways to get a conviction overturned on a technicality or to avoid consequences when we are caught red-handed. But there are no loopholes with God–we cannot “plead the fifth,” we cannot wiggle off that hook, and we cannot claim “I never heard about Jesus” or “No one ever told me” or “It’s not fair!”. Jesus hung on the Cross for six hours and died to pay for our sins so that we don’t have to spend eternity separated from Him. He–and He alone–is God’s “Get Out of Jail Free Card.” Why work hard trying to find a technicality behind the scenes when the Judge is offering clemency, mercy, grace, and forgiveness to us out in the open? Why do many want to try to sneak into heaven through a basement window when the Owner of the house is opening the front door, rolling out the red carpet, inviting us in, and giving us a seat at His table?
5. No Excuses on Judgment Day. Even for those in the most remote places on earth, the Bible is clear that at the end of time no one will have an excuse for not trusting in Jesus’ forgiveness (please click HERE for Romans 1:18-25 NLT and HERE for Jeremiah 35:15 NIV). God can and will take even the smallest/weakest/most fragile seed of faith in Him and grow it into the tallest/mightiest of trees, but only if we let Him, only if we respond to His great love for us and are willing to get up from the throne of our lives and allow His Son Jesus to sit there forever.
6. We Don’t Elect God (and we can’t vote Him out of office). The LORD Almighty doesn’t need our approval for the way He runs the universe, and it is not His job to convince us/reason with us to support His laws/style of governance. He is the KING (sorry Elvis!) and as such it is our job to maneuver ourselves to line up/agree with/obey Him (not the other way around). We may not agree with all of the decisions He makes, but we are expected to obey/submit to His authority to make those decisions. His ways are truly not our ways (please click HERE for Isaiah 55:7-9 NLT).
7. We Still Need To Plead “Guilty.” Even if God were to give humans “one last chance” to say yes to Jesus after our earthly lives are over, we would still need to do the very thing that we had such trouble doing on earth: swallowing our pride–pleading guilty to the crimes God accuses us of and humbly asking Jesus for His forgiveness. Let’s not think that seeing Jesus with our eyes at the Judgment Seat will somehow make it easier for us to be remorseful: the majority who met Jesus 2,000 years ago and saw His miracles did NOT believe in Him (please click HERE for John 6:36 and HERE for Mark 6:14). When the most hardcore Nazis saw the Allies crossing over into Germany during WWII, did they suddenly whimper and gently lay down their guns? NO! Seeing the Allies caused the Nazis to fight more fiercely. When a junkyard dog is cornered, does it purr in submission? NO! It growls, snaps, and attacks more ferociously.
8. Now Is The Time, Today Is The Day: Whether or not you believe that God will give us one final chance to say yes to Him in the afterlife, let’s not wait until the last minute to say yes to Jesus, any more than you would hold onto a winning Lottery ticket and finally redeem it/cash it in on your deathbed! Let’s
-seek the LORD while He may be found (please click HERE for Isaiah 55:6 NIV),
-set aside our hobbies & get serious about finding Him (click HERE for Matthew 13:44-46),
-accept Jesus’ forgiveness through faith TODAY (click HERE for 2 Corinthians 6:1-2).
Jesus wants us to have a real/eternal life that starts NOW and extends forever into eternity. Let’s accept Him today…(please click HERE for John 10:6-10 The Message).
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