As we begin our End Time study of the “Rapture” and “The Return of Christ” it would be presumptive to assume that everyone knows and understands the qualification that places their name in God’s Book of Life. While this may be elementary 101 to many, years of teaching to various groups and denominations has made me aware that many people profess salvation, but large numbers are not at all sure of their salvation. When the question is asked, “How many of you believe that Jesus is pleased with you?” the show of hands is almost nonexistent. Why is this true? It is because we do not really understand that “ALL” of our sins have been forgiven. All sins includes our past, present, and future sins. Christ died once for all, but as long as we believe that God still sees us as sinners we will always strive to please Him with our works. We come to Christ “Just as I am” but then we hear that we must “Do” in order to please Him. Our doing did not make us righteous and our doing will not keep us righteous. What makes us Righteous? The blood of the Lamb. At the Cross the blood was supplied, and when we said “Yes” to Jesus His blood was applied to our eternal souls. “He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf that we might become His righteousness” (11 Cor. 5:21).
CAUTION ! Church membership and having our names on a church role does not mean that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Some denominations teach that we are all children of God, but that is a lie that will lull many into hell. We are all God’s creation, but we are not all God’s children. The apostle John wrote, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). On this there can be no compromise. The only way to the Father is by way of the Cross. Jesus said, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes unto the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). How can we know that we are saved? Romans 8:16 gives us affirmation: “For His Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Salvation is not a feeling for we can feel saved one day and unsure the next. We were saved by receiving Christ as our Savior. The Truth will set us free, and here is a vital truth: God is not pleased with us because we fast, pray, attend church and do good deeds, nor is He less pleased with us when we don’t do those things. Our heavenly Father is forever pleased with us because we are hidden in Christ Jesus. Yes, we all deserved hell and at times act in ways that would still send us there, but God gave us a ticket to heaven instead. God is love!!! Pure and simple, God is love, and because that is His nature He daily extends Mercy and Grace.
In closing, let me relate a true story that took place in the life of Junior Hill, an old time Baptist evangelist. It vividly illustrates how God’s mercy and grace abounds towards us.
Junior was raised by a single mom in a small apartment during the Great Depression. Like most young boys, Junior loved to play baseball, and did so many times on his way home from school. Junior recalled a morning when his mother sat him down and said, “Junior, a friend invited me to a Tea this afternoon so I plan to go there when I get off from work. Do not stop and play baseball after school. Come home and do your home work. Do you understand?” Too which he nodded his head in the affirmative. You are right, the temptation was too great! Junior didn’t obey his mother. We know because we have all been there. On the way home from school his friends began yelling at him to come and play first base. At first, he resisted, but then he thought, “I can play for a while, and mother will never know.” Wrong! Time passed quickly. It was almost dark when Junior realized how late it had become. He ran for home, hoping that he would somehow get there before his mother. Too late! When he opened the door, there stood his mother, hands on hips and a look of anger and disappointment. She asked, “Junior what did I tell you?” Junior began to cry because he knew how much he had disappointed his mother. He also knew that a spanking was in order (seemed to work in the old days) and he knew he deserved it.
Junior recalls that instead of the spanking his mother sat him on her lap, held his head to her breast and slowly stroked his hair. “That is called Mercy.” When the sobbing and “I’m sorry Mama” finally ended, she went to the icebox and took out a chocolate pastry given to her at the Tea. She had convinced her host that she was not hungry, but that she would enjoy it later. She gave the desert to Junior, wiped the tears from his eyes and lovingly watched as her son enjoyed a rare desert. “That is called Grace.”
Dear Reader, if we have given our life to Jesus, understand that His mercy and grace are abundant to us each and every day. Stop trying to please Him and learn to receive Him. Because you placed your faith in Him, you are qualified to meet Jesus in the air when He soon raptures His Church. The price of your ticket has been Paid in Full!
Next Friday: The Rapture! Until then, don’t just keep the Faith, share it with those who need what you have. In Christ, Don & Penny