A few weeks ago I wrote about how the death of the Reverend Billy Graham had impacted me. How the thought of his glorious homecoming after a life of faithfully sharing the gospel was a reminder that we all need to be following his lead. Today I read that the famous scientist and self-proclaimed atheist Stephen Hawking died. And this served as another reminder of the importance of sharing the gospel from a completely different perspective.
It is possible that in the waning hours of his life, Mr. Hawking acknowledged that there is a God and that the only way he could have an eternal relationship with him was to turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. But if he stubbornly held to his espoused views until he breathed his last breath then he was immediately met with the horrible truth that he refused to acknowledge before he died. There is a God and he is now separated from him for all of eternity in anguish and torment.
Jesus tells a story about a man who ended up in this very situation. (Luke 16) Many believe it is not just a parable but an actual story since it is the only time Jesus uses a name – but regardless, it illustrates the scary truth of hell and eternal separation from God. The man in the story lived his life without acknowledging the truth and when he died he ended up in torment and agony in the fires of Hades. He begged for someone to come from heaven and provide just a little bit of water to relieve him but was told that there was a chasm between heaven and hell that no one could cross over. Realizing that he would never have relief and suddenly being terrified that those he had left behind would follow him to hell, he begged for someone to at least go from heaven to his loved ones to warn them. But no one would go because the truth is that if they did not listen to the Word of God revealed through Scripture and proclaimed by the many faithful witnesses, then nothing would convince them.
This is a terrifying thought! One that should create an insatiable sense of urgency in us to tell people the truth! That there is a God! That he loves them and wants to spend eternity with them! That their sin has separated them from him and there is nothing they can do to make themselves good enough. But – God made a way! He sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for their sins. The only thing they need to do is grab onto that truth and accept that it is Jesus alone that can usher them into heaven.
Don’t miss the chance! Don’t ever let it be too late! TODAY is the day of Salvation! (2 Corinthians 6:2)