For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.Romans 1:16
The New Testament informs us that the Church, or every true believer, will be raptured (suddenly taken to be with Christ) prior to a terrible time of judgement that is coming upon the whole world known as the tribulation period. I am overwhelmingly convinced the rapture takes place prior to the tribulation period. This should be a major motivating factor for sharing our faith. If people can escape the coming judgement (on earth and especially in eternity) by accepting Christ’s offer of forgiveness, don’t we want our friends and loved ones to know about it?
God always warns before he judges. He did it for the wicked city of Nineveh. He did it for Sodom and Gomorrah. And he did it for the world prior to the flood of Noah’s day. In 2 Peter 3:9 it says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” From Genesis to Revelation scripture is clear that God has done everything to save us from his necessary judgement of sin. He demonstrated this by sending his perfect sinless Son to die in our place. We have to step over the cross to avoid salvation. It’s settled and already there for the taking if we will accept it. But God is a gentleman. He won’t force us to accept his gift of salvation. He lets us choose our own destiny.
What’s all this talk of judgement and wrath? Isn’t he a God of love? Yes, he is but perfect love requires judgement. If someone tortured and murdered you, it would not be loving toward you if God let that horrific sin go unpunished. God is Holy and must eventually punish sin. Like oil and water, holiness and sin do not mix. If we see a sign that has an electricity symbol and it reads “Danger. Keep Out!”, we don’t scoff at the sign saying it is just a scare tactic. We understand that the purpose of the sign is up to keep us from pain and loss. Human flesh and high voltage electricity don’t play nice together.
I’ve heard it said, “God doesn’t send people to Hell. He Rescues people from Hell.” Judgement is the default response to sin. It’s just a fact; a fixed spiritual law that undergirds reality similar to the fixed laws of physics that govern our physical world. A Holy God can’t overlook sin, but this same Holy God did everything possible to save you and I from judgement. He sent his own Son to pay for our sins on the cross, and he gave us a clear and detailed love letter verified by hundreds of fulfilled prophecies. In addition to that he’s given us 2000 years so the message could spread to every corner of the world.
All of the verses in the Bible about God’s wrath and judgement, are his “Danger. Keep Out!” signs. In the 2nd Peter verse I reference above it says point blank that God is, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” but he can’t force us to turn to him. You and I have an important message to share and we have a short time to share it. We have the cure to everything and it’s time for us to share it boldly. Whether by death or by his return, our time is limited. We need to post “Danger. Keep Out!” signs by how live and what we talk about. Bible prophecy and the nearness of His return will motivate us to tell others about this incredible gift.
(Note: If you want to know more about what it means to believe on Jesus and receive him as your Savior, please contact me. I’d love to talk to you. Todd[at]Timbuktoons.com)
Stay tuned for the final part in this series!