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Friday, 2 September 2016

A better place!

It's interesting, is it not, that in our "western" culture and society, with its apparent emphasis on secular humanism and so-called atheism, that there is still a desire to believe that physical death is not the end?   I was looking for something on YouTube last evening and, as usual, had loads of "recommendations" offered to me.  One that caught my eye was a clip of a news bulletin on the day of the death of the much-loved comedian, Ronnie Barker.  I watched most of the clip.  I also read a lot of the comments.  So many were along the lines of "RIP" ("requiescat in pace"; "rest in peace"); "You're in a better place"; "You'll be making the angels laugh"!

I have also seen so many intimations of the death of, e.g. a beloved grandparent whose spouse is already dead.  So many express the thought: "At least you're together again", and similar sentiments.  It would appear that the Preacher knew exactly what he was talking about when he wrote: "... also He has put eternity into man's mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." (Eccl 3:11; emphasis added).
What I find interesting is that, first of all, the folk who make these comments are assuming that physical death is not the end - as the Richard Dawkins followers would have us believe. Secondly, it is assumed, it would appear, that the abode of these departed spirits is a "good and pleasant" place in which one may rest peacefully; be with one's previously-departed loved ones; and have generally happy existence!   Of course, on the other hand, there are those of whom it may be said, with considerable conviction, "May (s)he rot in hell"!

So where is this "better place", and may we assume that all of the 'nice' people we know will go there when they "shuffle off this mortal coil"?  Speculation about heaven and hell has been rife for millennia.  But, without going into any specific detail, the Bible makes it quite clear that the former is the eternal abode only of those who have been accounted righteous by Almighty God, Himself - the Creator and Sustainer, of all that has ever existed, currently exists, and ever will exist.   For you and me, in the post-Calvary world, in which we have the opportunity to read the Gospel narratives; to hear the message faithfully preached (but be sure that you listen to those who are true to all of God's Word, and not just the little bits that suit their own message!); to discuss, and share, that message; then the only way in which we may be righteous in God's sight is through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus at Calvary.

Paul, writing to the believers in Rome, said: "But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies him who has faith in Jesus." (Rom 3:21-26).
So that's the answer - "... faith in Jesus".  It's accepting that I am a sinner (and no human being knows that better than I!); that I am unable to either make appropriate amends for my past sins, or to stop myself from sinning; that Father God has done what was required by coming, in the Persona (not a typo!) of the Son and, on the cross of Calvary, taking upon Himself the punishment that I deserve.  Then, having accepted all of that, I respond with the genuine love of my own heart, to this amazing Saviour.  I place my trust in Him for the future, whatever it may hold.  I seek to live the rest of my life as pleases Him.  I claim His sacrifice for myself; I claim the promise/assurance that "... the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7; emphasis added).  The result is that I am justified in His sight - that just means that He treats me "just as if I'd" never sinned!

Do you want to go to a better place when you shuffle off this mortal coil?  There is only one way - Jesus.  I commend Him to you.

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