YOU AND US
You do not see the battle for your eternal future. There is a veil and you cannot see it. There are many persons involved in this day-to-day warfare, one group tugging you this way, the other that way. You have often felt this tug-of-war to the point you sometimes thought you were becoming unglued. You sense it, but cannot see it.
So I am going to pull back the veil and give you a glimpse.
On the one side of the battle for your eternal soul is satan, “the ruler of this age.” He is ruthless, he has no ethics, his biggest weapon is deception. Under him are multitudes of demons. These demons are ugly, hateful creatures, invisible but real nonetheless. And then there are the people around you, going the same direction, blind to the battle for their own souls, pawns of the devil they do not believe exist, applying heavy peer pressure to go where they are going, do what they are doing, be what they are being. This army of darkness is tugging you toward hell.
You are all in a race, a mad race to destruction. Deceived and foolish, proud and determined, dazzled by neon lights, hypnotized by the frenzied pace, obsessed with religions and rituals, mesmerized by noise and violence, lives sacrificed to the profession of accumulating and hoarding, ears refusing to hear, minds insulated against reason and reality, short-sighted, impatient, unreasonable, the race of madness goes on. Day after day. Year after year.
On the other side is the Holy Spirit wanting to draw you into the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit is all-powerful but limited by the free will God gave you when He made you. The Spirit’s nature is to persuade, not coerce. Aiding Him is a myriad of angels – unseen, powerful, active. And then there are Christians, not the ones in heaven but the ones still here on earth. The weakness is in this group.
We who have been redeemed have been given the responsibility to reach you for Christ, to rescue you from what the Bible calls “darkness.” We who have been, “delivered…from the power of darkness and…translated into the kingdom of his dear Son” have been given a ministry, “the ministry of reconciliation” (the task of bringing you to God). It is the prayers of Christians that determine the degree of power the Holy Spirit releases on your behalf. If we do not pray and tell you about God’s salvation (Jesus), you will never be set free from the hold satan has on your life. There is no one so evil that they could not be prayed into the kingdom of God (though some would take much prayer indeed). Sadly, we Christians have done, and are doing, a much less than satisfactory job.
Though Jesus taught us in His Word that your soul is more valuable than all the treasures this world contains, your soul (your soul is the person who lives in your body) nonetheless is often down our list of priorities. I mean, way down. Your eternal future probably comes after a nice house, an expensive car, an impressive church building, hobbies, vacations, entertainment, things like that.
Now I know that us Christians say we care (what else could we say?) and think we care, but the way we spend our money and time reveals that this is not so. I am ashamed to tell you these things, but I have determined from the start to speak the truth, as I see it, in The Main Issue.
You may think Christians go to heaven because they are good and non-Christians go to hell because they are bad. This is simply not true! No one has ever made it up there by being good. No one. Faith in Christ is what gets us there.
You are supposed to sin. The Bible calls you “the children of disobedience.” It is your nature to sin because you do not have the Spirit of God dwelling within you.
But we do! We have been enlightened. We have tasted the things of the kingdom of God. We have been touched by the Master. We know the value of your soul. Your sin is rejecting Christ and our sin is not caring enough.
We know we are but pilgrims here on earth and our real home awaits us in heaven. But we live as if this is where we are to settle down. Jesus told us plainly not to lay up treasures on earth, but we do so with relish. We unashamedly disobey this clear directive from the One we call “Lord, Lord.” Christ entrusted to us the awesome responsibility of preaching His gospel to you and the entire world, but you would be amazed at how lightly we take this charge in spite of the fact we claim to love Him so. The Bible teaches if we do not warn you of the certain tragedy you are walking into, your blood will be upon our hands; but if we do warn you your blood will not be on our hands. This is plain language, and yet the import of it gets lost in our affection for things. We in this city have the resources to send missionaries and the printed gospel into virtually every nation of the world. Many of these nations (unlike our own) are hungry for the gospel, especially Third World nations and those recently released from communism. But unfortunately we Christians have distorted priorities. Most of our money and endeavors and energy is for us and not for you.
Now I speak generally. Christianity of every age has always had heroes of the faith who would not hesitate to lay down their life for the gospel. I could tell you of a young fellow who stood on a picnic table downtown preaching Christ to whoever would listen, not to be silenced by a group of youth who were threatening to throw him in the lake. I could tell you of a friend who parked her car to converse with a young prostitute and assure her that Jesus loves her. I could tell you of families that left job and home to go to other nations to tell of Jesus and demonstrate the love of God. I could speak of evangelists who sacrifice so much to preach the gospel. Yes, I know personally heroes of the faith.
The battle for the souls of men is not casual business. The contrary is so. What soldier does not pay a price for going to war? Every time a soldier strikes out against enemy territory the enemy, logically, retaliates. The Christian soldier will find him/herself in predicaments that would have never been experienced had he stayed out of the battle for souls. Souls do not come cheap.
And you are so hard to reach. You have been programmed by the enemy of your soul (satan), to resist the gospel. You avoid the one who wants to share Christ with you. Or you put up your defenses – your religion or prejudices or self-righteousness. You keep going back to your T.V. and newspapers and books and religious leaders, etc. to be further indoctrinated. It is so tempting to give up on you and let you go your way.
Having said that, however, does not excuse us Christians from doing what Jesus told us to do. The alternative to obedience is disobedience. We could pray for your salvation, but generally we do not. We could better finance the great commission (the commandment of Christ to reach the lost is expensive). We could search diligently for that one who would welcome the gospel, but do not. We Christians are disobedient, not always but often, not everyone but most.
If you were to be our judge you would doubtless find us guilty of a grave injustice. But no, you are not our judge and never will be. But I for one would rather face you as you lashed out at me from your eternal home of torment (“How could you fail to warn me of this hellish torment!? You knew all the time where I was heading but you didn’t care! My spouse and older children are with me in this hellish pit. We are in agony! You could have made the difference. But you didn’tcare! How could you just watch us go to hell without even trying to reach us! How could you!? How could you!? How could you!?”) than to face Jesus. You see, we will have to give an account to Jesus for our life on earth. Knowing I let Him down after He gave me His all – that would make it a horrible experience.
But in fact your blood is not on my hands nor on those involved in this paper (nor anyone else who has made an attempt to warn you). Five times we have placed The Main Issue, each containing the gospel of Jesus Christ in your mailbox. To this day you have resisted Jesus, the only One who ever died for you, the only One who has the power to forgive your sins.
So, in brief, that is a glimpse into the battle over your soul. Hopefully it will cause you to start talking to Jesus. Hopefully you will run, not walk, into His protective arms.
The conflict over your eternal future goes on. But one day your life will be forever established. The tug-of-war you feel but cannot see will be over, you will be someone’s eternal prize, the victory forever determined. I wish you well.