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“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39,40).

WHEN JESUS INVITES US TO COME TO HIM, IT IS POSSIBLE TO REFUSE. Tragic as such a refusal is, many do refuse. But many others simply delay, thinking an easier time will come later.

It is always important for us to see the seriousness of our plight as those who have departed from God. Sin is no trivial matter. Its punishment cannot be small. As our Creator, God is our rightful Sovereign, and to rebel against His will, as we have all done, is to put ourselves under the penalty of death. There can be no question about the justice of God’s decree. Eternal death is the right consequence for rebellion against our Creator (Romans 6:23).

Remember what we said way back in January about our attitude in coming to Jesus? We come willing to commit ourselves to His lordship. Disobedience having gotten us into trouble, we are now ready to change from disobedience to obedience. But before our discipleship can begin, we must seek the forgiveness of our sins. This we are willing to do on whatever terms God has set, grateful for His grace. And we seek His forgiveness for no other reason than godly sorrow — grief that we have sinned against the One who loves us.

The word for “lost” is the saddest word in any language. And when the word applies to our eternal condition, that is a sadness beyond description, all the more sad in view of what God has sacrificed to save us. If we persist in our refusal of His grace and die in our rebellious state, the worst part of hell will be knowing that we chose it. It could have been otherwise, but we refused to be rescued. It just wasn’t important enough for us to act.

Most of us know what it is to damage our lives by delaying our duty. Knowing what is right, we have procrastinated and done much harm. By God’s grace, let’s stop the damage right now. He gave His Son to make our forgiveness possible. More life than we can imagine is waiting for us, but we must accept His pardon on His terms and we must come back to Him . . . before it is too late.

Come to Jesus! do not tarry,
Enter in at mercy’s gate;
O delay not till the morrow,
Lest thy coming be too late.
(E. R. Latta)

Gary Henry — +

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