There is no greater tragedy than living an entire life without making a decision to receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal life that Jesus offered the world. On November 12, 2018, American comic book writer, editor, and publisher, Stan Lee died at 95.
Jesus asked, “what does a man profit if he gains the whole world but loses his soul? What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Achieving success, fame, and fortune, Stan Lee died without Christ and sadly lost his opportunity to obtain eternal life.
In the book of Hebrews, Paul wrote described the peril of ignoring or rejecting Christ and dying without Him:
Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The Lord will judge his own people.” It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ~Hebrews 10:29-31 (NLT)
If we ignore Jesus and count His death for our sins as worthless, we will suffer an eternal loss and our life on earth will be worthless.
When Is The Proper Time To Preach The Gospel?
On the day of Stan Lee’s death, I posted a short response at a web site which publishes the religious views of famous people. My intent was to cause people to think about the paradox of achieving every success in this world, while dying and entering eternity only to lose everything, even your own soul.
Immediately, I was scorned as insensitive by a man who claimed to be a follower of Jesus. His objection to my comments about Stan Lee was that I “disrespected the dead and those who mourn.” What is the proper time to preach the Gospel of Christ, after a famous, unsaved person dies?
The answer is the same, regardless of death’s timing: Always. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so important that Jesus made it clear that its message should be delivered at all time, to all people, under every circumstance.
After He had risen from the dead… Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. ~Mark 16:14-15 (NLT)
Paul clarified the appropriate time to preach salvation, Right now!
For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. ~2 Corinthians 6:2 (NLT)
In other words, there is no time when it is not appropriate to preach the Gospel and remind people that this life is passing away and today is the day of salvation.
Over the past 40 years I have, many times, delivered comfort to grieving families after the death of a loved one. On every occasion I made it clear that I would be delivering the Gospel of Christ to those in attendance and give an invitation to receive Him as Savior and Lord. There is no better time to tell people what Jesus has done for them, than during the death of a loved one.
The most loving thing that we could ever do is tell someone about the hope of eternal life in Christ, and the consequences of putting off a decision to receive Him. After a person dies, it is too late to pray for their salvation. According to the Bible, death seals our decision, either for or against Jesus. If we die without receiving the covering for our sins that Jesus provided, we will be lost forever. How could telling people at the funeral of a person who neglected this decision, ever be unloving? It is certain that the lost who die without Christ, would want us to preach to their loves ones that the time to receive Jesus is now and not to put off this decision for a moment.
When Jesus tells the story of a rich man who died without salvation in Luke chapter 16, this unsaved man is seen in hell, tormented. His one request is that someone from hell would return to earth and tell his loved ones that they should make a decision for Christ immediately, so they do not end up where he is.
“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’ ~Luke 16:27-28 (NLT)
It is important to note here that it is Jesus who is telling us this story. From His comments about the death of the unsaved, we can see that preaching the Gospel immediately after the lost are dead, is a very good idea.
How Jesus Views Our Delay In Making A Decision For Him
One day, a scribe came to Jesus and made a public profession that he wanted to follow Him. The excuse he offered for why he could not follow Jesus was a matter of inconvenience.
“First, let me go and bury my father…”
This was a well-known and frequently quoted excuse by certain people of this time in history. In fact, the father was not dead; it was not likely that he was even sick. The person who would quote this excuse was really saying, “I am not ready now… It is not convenient for me… Perhaps someday when I feel the need…”
Jesus’ response was, “Follow me. Let the other spiritually dead people bury your father.”
Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” ~Matthew 8:19-22
Excuses are as old as Adam, for he made the first excuse to the Lord for why he sinned and disobeyed the Lord.
Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” ~Genesis 3:12
If we persist, our excuses will prevent us from obtaining eternal life and all the blessings God has in mind for us. We have a very limited amount of time here on earth to decide for Jesus and secure our eternal destiny. The longer we put off the decision, the harder it will be to make this decision later. If we should die before we make a commitment to Jesus as our Savior, we will be lost.
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, ~Hebrews 9:27
The issue of eternal life and the forgiveness of our sins is the most important decision we will ever make. It is better to settle this question now rather than later. We may find that later will be too late. Every day hundreds of thousands of people find themselves suddenly gone from this earth and have no second chance at redemption. Today is the day of Salvation. I pray that you have made this important decision and rest fully on the promises of Jesus, as you wait for His return.
Soon, the time that we have to receive Jesus will be past, and there will be no opportunity for us to be saved. As the Lord pronounced through the prophet Jeremiah, the people of Judah were full of their excuses for why they would not serve their God. In the end, their opportunity for salvation had passed, and they were not saved.
“The harvest is past, The summer is ended, And we are not saved!” ~Jeremiah 8:20
The Lord has accomplished our salvation, as Isaiah declares in this prophecy of chapter 59:16—His arm of righteousness. There is nothing we must do to obtain this salvation except to admit our sins and receive Jesus as our Savior. The difficulty for most people is to come to the place in their life where they are ready to admit that they are a sinner. God has done everything that is necessary for us to have eternal life. All of our sins are already forgiven for Jesus’ sake. All that separates us from eternal life and the forgiveness of all our sins is to come to Jesus, confess, and believe.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. ~Isaiah 59:2
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. ~Romans 10:9
The entire purpose of Jesus’ presence here on earth was for our salvation. Jesus was born to die. He came to offer up His life for ours and make one perfect way in which we could all be saved. The prophet Joel expresses this fact, with great certainty, in his prophecy of chapter 2:32.
And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. ~Joel 2:32
Paul records the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy in Romans 10:9-13:
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” ~Romans 10:9-13
It is clear from the text above, from Romans Chapter 10:9-13, that Paul believed that this prophecy from Joel was fulfilled by Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Romans 10:13 recites a direct quote from Joel Chapter 2:32: “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
It is not a great mystery nor is it too difficult to find the forgiveness of our sins and obtain eternal life. God desires that all people are saved. He has made this possible with only one requirement: “Will you believe what He has said concerning His Son Jesus Christ?”
Jesus did not come as a way to heaven. He came as the only way to heaven. God made salvation very simple and easy to understand. Romans Chapter 10:9-13 explains it quite well.
- Confess that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised from the dead for your justification.
- Believe this truth in your heart, not just your mind.
- Call on the name of Jesus, and be saved.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ~John 14:6
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus… ~1 Timothy 2:5
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. ~Acts 4:12
God has given us the privilege and the choice to either believe what He said concerning Jesus, or to not believe. If we regard His word as truth and respond accordingly, He will forgive all of our sins based on what Jesus has done on the Cross, and grant us eternal life with Him in heaven.
The choice is ours. If we don’t like the choices, if we refuse to believe, and if we think God is unfair in giving us only one choice—then we can say no, and be lost forever. If we reject what God has required for our salvation, then we have rejected the only way that we can be saved. Those who will not believe have only themselves to blame in the end. God has done everything that could be done to save us; the choice is ours.
Categories: Atheists, Forgiveness of Sin, Hell is not God's will for you, How Salvation Occurs, Leading People to Jesus, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation through Jesus, The Condition of the Heart, The Historical Jesus, To Preach the Gospel, We must see our need, What is required for Heaven?