If we are lost, we may spend eternity blaming God for not being more forceful to break down our resistance. But if it’s not love that brings us back home, what good would it do for us to return to God? What He desires is our love or nothing at all.
We need our God deeply. Created in His image, we yearn for Him. Whatever else we may accomplish in this world, this truth can’t be denied: cut off from the God in whose image we were made, we are the most unsatisfied of all creatures.
Are we helped in this life by the good lives of those we come in contact with? Yes. And should we give thanks for the helpful influence of godly people? Certainly. But those folks can’t save us. We do not go to heaven on the group plan.
If we take Jesus seriously, along with the teaching of the apostles whom He selected to communicate His message, we must accept the fact that eventually God is going to call each of us to account for how we have lived (Acts 17:30,31).
Everything God has ever revealed about Himself shows that He can be counted on. His promises can be trusted. So we must not look back wistfully at the things we have given up. Our Father has much better things waiting for us at the end of the road.
When we come to Christ, we come empty-handed, yielding to His decision as to our greatest need. Whatever other gifts our “wisdom” might say are more needful, we are content to receive that for which He was crucified: the forgiveness of our sins.
In Acts, as soon as people saw the seriousness of their sins and the joy of forgiveness that could be theirs, they wanted to be baptized immediately, even in the middle of the night (Acts 16:25–34). Waiting was not something they wanted to do.
Have you obeyed the gospel? Whatever others may have done, have you responded rightly to the glad tidings of salvation in Jesus Christ? The gospel is the best news in the world, but the results of refusing it would be more tragic than we can imagine.
Paul spoke of the hope provided by the gospel when he said, “If we have died with him, we will also live with him” (2 Timothy 2:11). It is no exaggeration to say that whether we have died with Christ is the most important question we will ever ask.
There is no more important activity than self-examination. Are we, or are we not, in a right relationship with God? Do we, or do we not, have the hope of eternal life? And no less critical is this question: by what standard are we going to judge?