A special message for my brokenhearted brothers and sisters is within the text of this article. You are not alone.
Also, there is a special message at the end of this article for those who might happen to read this and do not have Jesus in their life.
I have a much-beloved friend who is, unfortunately, unsaved. In spite of my witness to him over several years, the Spirit has not been able to convict him sufficiently to bring about even the faintest sign of repentance (at least that I can see).
I expect we all know someone under similar circumstances, and I am equally sure it is a source of heartbreak when the reality of their precarious and dangerous position rises to the surface.
I say rises to the surface because I believe that the Lord, in His compassion for his people, causes us to set that sadness aside for a time so we can function like “normal” and conduct everyday activities: something He knows that we all must be able to do.
But it comes back under the right circumstances. It is a burden we must bear and willingly do for the Lord to whom we owe so much that we cannot repay. This, coupled with caring for people’s eternal destiny, whether they be friends, relatives or strangers, always causes us to “try again.”
In this case, I thought I would share a part of the story of my witness to my friend in case it could prove helpful to any of my brothers and sisters who might read this.
As a little background, we have been friends since 1969 when I met him after he had returned from Vietnam. The following year, I would begin my journey as an unsaved 19-year-old who ended up in similar circumstances in Vietnam as well as other places in Southeast Asia.
My friend was a true friend, and he wrote to me faithfully during my time there. He knew just how important that communication was. My point being that our friendship has endured even to this day and has not diminished in spite of the Lord bringing me to the foot of the cross a few decades ago. Having said all this, we live in different states, and occasionally we meet at a location in between and have some “ketchup” time and lunch together.
During one of these visits, we were having a conversation, and he brought up the Rapture of the church (quite unexpectedly, I might add). Apparently, he had been giving some thought to some of what we had discussed during previous visits. He apparently had done some additional research on the internet. As risky as that can be, at least he had felt compelled to acquire more understanding.
He indicated that this “Rapture” might not happen for a hundred years. As with most people who take this view, there is a sense that they are trying to manufacture an excuse for ignoring the possibility that it could indeed happen at any moment. In his case, I believe he understands the concept of the Rapture even though he does not and cannot grasp God’s purpose in its execution.
This can be a challenging conversation to have with an unbelieving person, as you cannot be certain what they are actually thinking unless they are candid enough to tell you. I had taken the time to explain the Gospel to him numerous times over the ensuing years, and I had explained the Rapture and its purpose to him before as well. Because he does not have the indwelling Holy Spirit in his unsaved state, it requires very careful consideration of that fact when engaging in this kind of discussion.
I am always cognizant of the message of 1 Corinthians 1:18 when having these discussions, so I was not discouraged by some of his comments.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
However, we must not shrink away from having them when they arise because we cannot know what the Holy Spirit will be able to do with any individual at any time.
Since we have been friends for so many years, I shared this thought with him by way of trying to get him to consider things in their proper context and with an appropriate sense of urgency. I felt that the Spirit was urging me to be completely bold and candid with him, so I did just that.
“Do you see the traffic out there on the main drag?” I asked. He nodded. “When you leave here today, you could pull out into traffic and get T-boned by a semi-trailer truck, and instantly, your life on earth would be over. Your eternity starts right then! No hundred years, no second chances, no debate. There would not even be any chance to reconsider Jesus. No forgiveness. Done. Instead: Hell. Eternal separation from any trace of God, His Grace, Light, Hope. Some people have been known to flippantly say that they will ‘party with their friends in Hell.’ No, they will not. Eternal darkness and despair is what God’s Word says.”
This was said with love but with firmness as well. I further told him that even if he got really upset with me and never spoke to me again in this life, if it resulted in his eventual repentance and salvation, it would be worth the temporary heartache as we would be together with the Lord forever.
Eternal life, not eternal death. Eternity is a long time.
Lest I should become too discouraged, I have learned to take a realistic view of the results, or lack of them, that can occur when witnessing. So, while my friend is still unsaved, he is no worse off, and we are still friends. The Holy Spirit is still in control. I continue to pray and put my trust in Him. After all, He is the one who saves, and I, as much as I want to see the miracle of a repentant soul, am just the servant planting the seed.
I am quite well aware that some who read this narrative might view me as being too abrupt or too coarse. Maybe not gentle enough.
Most people who know me know that I don’t like to dance around the truth. In this case, I was prepared to accept the consequences of my candor as it was just too important to be timid. Dancing around the truth because of fear, I have found, never has good consequences. Never.
It is not the time to wave a sign that says “Stop in for free coffee and donuts” at people who are racing toward an eternity separated from Jesus. Eternity is a very, very long time. Try and imagine it. It is mind-numbing.
And now to the crux of this article.
I believe that time is very rapidly closing out on the Age of Grace, and all indications are that the convergence of prophetic indicators is so close that they cannot be ignored. A simple and practical view of this, to my way of thinking, is that the execution of the Rapture will happen at the time appointed by God the Father according to His Perfect Foreknowledge. When that moment arrives, I will be startled at its suddenness, but I WILL NOT be surprised!
My heart breaks for my friend as I see the blank look and sense his complete lack of understanding of the consequences of his sin, but I will keep trying whenever the Spirit opens the door of opportunity. If the day comes when that door is never to be opened again by the Perfect Will of the Holy Spirit, I will cling to the promise of Jesus in Revelation 21:3-6:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’ Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.'” (Emphasis added by me)
It is that Trust in God that keeps me from being incapacitated by sadness and heartache. He and He alone is Sovereign, and as much as I desire all people to be saved, He desires it even more than I can imagine. After all, it was He who stretched out His hands to be nailed to a cross for the sake of all who will repent and believe.
“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
Important: Lest anyone misunderstand, I am not saying everyone will be saved. God’s Word makes it clear that only those who repent and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior will be saved; however, all will have that opportunity.
You are free to draw your own conclusions.
In the meantime, my brothers and sisters: Pray without ceasing for those who are lost, and never give in to a presumption of the outcome. Instead:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
For anyone who may read this article and has not trusted in Jesus Christ and therefore has no hope or peace in your life:
You can have hope. You can have the peace that Jesus has promised to all who have made Him their Lord and Savior. The peace that passes understanding. It requires that you come before God on His terms.
And what are His terms according to His Word?
- Genuine repentance (turning to God instead of continuing to reject or ignore Him).
- Confession of sins (that you are a sinner and acknowledge that to God).
- That you understand that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
- To acknowledge to God that you are unable to pay that debt.
- Belief that Jesus Christ paid your death sentence for you on the cross.
- To believe that Jesus is the Way, the only Way, that God has established by which humans may be saved from the consequences of their sin and rebellion.
God has made it absolutely clear that there is no one who comes before Him, under His terms, that will be refused.
- No one: no race, no color, no country of origin, regardless of any previous belief system: no one.
- No matter what your past sins have been, God can and WILL forgive you because He says He will.
- Salvation is available to everyone without any exceptions.
If you put all your trust for salvation in Jesus, and Him only, you can follow that prayer up by simply saying, “Thank you, Father God, for hearing my prayer and saving me,” because we can trust Him to keep His Word. He always has. He always will.
“Truly, Truly, I say to you that he who hears My words and believes the One who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has crossed from death to life” (John 5:24).
There are no answers and there is no hope in the world by governments, organizations, politics, or politicians. There are only lies and deception. But you can have the Truth and the peace you seek.
The answers are in the Word of God—The Bible. If you ask God with all your heart, He will hear you.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
Pro Salvator Vigilans
To contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org