The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What if it Were Today?

“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” – 2 Corinthians 6:2


What if life as we know it were to end today? Are you ready for that to happen? Almost all religions speak of an end of the world. There are some very interesting things happening in our day. When we look at Jesus’ Olivet Discourse and His teaching on what to expect in the End Times we see a great deal of the unprecedented activity He warned about (cf. Matthew 24-25). What if the days He spoke of were about to occur? What would you do? Would you have any regrets if you had to stand before your Maker today, tonight, would you wish to have done anything differently?

In Genesis 1:14 God through Moses said that the lights in the heavens such as the sun, moon and stars serve as “signs” or a flag, a signal, a warning of things to come. The LORD through Joel said that, “Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD” there would be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and evidence in the sky of that day of the LORD. The signs Joel mentions are, “Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood” (cf. Joel 2:28-32). Interesting. There have been blood moons in our forecast of late. Five new earth-like planets were just discovered. For those so inclined there are always "signs" in the heavens to see.

Personally, I look at the world, the mass of humanity and its downward spiral into deeper and darker sin and it brings to mind Jesus’ statement that the End Times would be debauched like the Days of Noah (Mat. 24:37). Jesus spoke of unprecedented “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Mat. 24:21). There are more ways to exterminate the world today than ever before. The militaries of the world are proliferating. (Each day seems to bring another ballistic missile test by North Korea.) Humanities alterations of nature are unleashing a host of mutations that we can’t even fathom the full effects of. I’m not a tree hugger but humanity has abused nature and we see the consequences in the extremity of weather patterns. We see earthquakes in every part of the world often accompanied by the compounding problem of tsunamis. Global greed and oppression is rampant. We are a world militantly divided religiously, economically, and culturally. Perversion in its various pornographic forms is one of the most profitable multi-billion dollar businesses in our day. Violence against the image of God in humanity is viciously seen in abortion and a growing inclination to rationalize the euthanizing of the weak and infirm. We see decapitations, genocide, and a myriad of other consequences of departing from and rebelling against the God of creation.  Globalism seems inevitable the recent response of nationalism notwithstanding. Even an atheist has to question and be concerned about the state of the world today. Can things get much worse? Are all of these death producing variables aligning to a critical mass of cataclysmic proportions?

Regardless of how you view prophecy and in particular the “blood moons” and other “signs” that will eventually come, you still must consider my initial question, “What if it were today?” And you know what? “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). NOW, no matter what time it is on the prophetic calendar or your personal life calendar, it’s time to consider salvation. God tells us to consider the brevity of our days (Psalm 39:4-5). God says in His word that our days go up like smoke; they’re like a shadow in the night (Psalm 102:3). God holds our days in His hand (Psalm 102:23-24). And He says “today,” right now is the time to consider the salvation He so graciously offers to us. He guarantees us no more than “now” to get right with Him.

Why the hurry? The Bible speaks of a day of God’s judgment on sinful humanity. “For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth” (Psalm 96:13). You can’t plead ignorance anymore. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man [i.e. Jesus] whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). Those words were inspired and penned over two thousand years ago. We’re closer today than ever before (cf. Rom. 13:11-14). Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was God’s imprimatur on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The resurrection proves Jesus conquered death and the death penalty for sin. The resurrected Jesus leads the way to forgiveness and eternal life. God did all of that to save you from your sin (cf. Romans 8:31-32). “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation”? (Hebrews 2:3). You won’t escape if you neglect to decide to accept Jesus as Savior. There are no second chances after death; no purgatorial options. Indecision is decision. You must decide. If we miss our “day,” we will spend eternity in torment and regret for our sinful stupidity. The choice is yours (cf. Matthew 25:46). Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.

What if the world as we know it was to end today or tonight and we were brought to stand before God to give an accounting? Are you ready for that? Maybe you don’t believe in any of this? Okay, but whether or not we believe in something does not affect the truth of something. You can jump off a bridge in defiance of gravity. But you will plummet and crash into the truth of that law of God’s nature. The same is true of God’s Law. If you break one Law, you break them all.  That is God’s holy standard of righteousness. It’s the only standard that matters (cf. Galatians 3:10-13; James 2:10). God states each person will die one day and stand before Him to give an account (Heb. 9:27). There are a myriad of personal end times before the final global End Time. What if you are near your personal end time? Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.

How can God justifiably sentence a person to hell for eternity based on one sin? Let me illustrate. If you have a snowball fight with your friends and hit them, that's to be expected and very forgivable. But if you throw a snow ball and hit a senior citizen, that is far more serious an offense. And if you throw a snowball and hit a dignitary, say a president, you would be swamped with secret service agents piling on you to protect the president. Then it’s an entirely different ball game. Then you would be locked up for a long time. It's not only that we sin, but that all our sins are primarily against God, “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords” and His holy law (1 Timothy 6:15). David was inspired to write, "Against You, and You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight - that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge" (Psalm 51:4). Seeing sin that way makes a big difference doesn't it. Our sins involve others and causes great pain. That is bad. But more importantly, our sins are against God, that makes them makes them a determining factor in our eternal destiny. What if today was the day you had to stand before God to give an accounting of your sins?

Aren’t you a bit concerned? A little interested? A bit worried at your delinquency toward God? Aren't you a little concerned about your eternal destiny? There’s an end of the world spirit in the world today. People are curious about what is happening around them. They are wondering whether or not what is happening today has a more vertical transcendent meaning. There are problems in the world today that seem unsolvable. That’s exactly what Jesus said there would be in the Latter Days. “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25). “Perplexity” means a state of confusion over an unsolvable problem. It expresses the idea of anxiety over the unknown, a fearful apprehension over a dark cloud of doom approaching. I read an article today which estimates that every person in the world has an average national debt of $21,714 (and that I believe is a very modest estimate; it is probably far greater especially in Western countries.) The world debt is estimated to be 152 trillion dollars![1] A trillion is a million-million.  If we stacked a trillion one dollar bills it would be a pile 67,866 miles high; that's about a quarter of the way from the earth to the moon!  152 trillion dollars of one dollar bills stacked would measure approximately 20 round trips to the moon! A trillion dollars in one dollar bills weighs 22,000,000 pounds or about 125 blue whales in money. 152 trillion dollars would weigh 19,000 blue whales in weight! [2] It shouldn’t surprise us then that economists are predicting a global economic collapse of biblical proportions, and no one knows how to solve this problem. Socialism and more government isn't the answer; it’s a big part of the problem. The world is trying to fill the void in their heart with spending. But nothing in this world can fill such a void. The only answer is Jesus; only He can fill an empty heart. People aren't turning to Jesus like they should. And as a result, people in the world today can’t figure life out. The unknown is frightening. But more frightening is knowing doom is approaching with no way of escape.  Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.

How can we get ready for the approaching storm? Jesus said, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). The escape Jesus spoke about is the Rapture. Jesus will remove true believers from this world before the worst befalls it (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:1-9). In light of the above illustration a question is raised: Will the Christian who lives in massive debt be eligible to go with Jesus at the Rapture? That’s a good question. Hopefully such a person has good life insurance to pay off the debt, or has relatives or some plan to pay off their debt. Hopefully what they leave behind can pay off their debt. Otherwise those who are left behind will have to pay for the monetary sins of those leaving. Maybe that is a just recompense for those who refuse to accept Jesus as Savior. But it certainly is a poor testimony for those who leave such debt behind. Best thing to do is get out of debt now so that when the time comes, there will be no doubt and those left behind will have a good testimony to contemplate. We need to do more seeking God and His kingdom first than playing in the world (see these verses: Matthew 6:33-34; 1 Timothy 6:3-10, 17-19; 1 John 2:15-17).  

Jesus exhorted His disciples to pay attention; to watch the signs; to be ready. Christian, if you are playing around with sin, STOP! Repent and get right with God. “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:11-14). “Beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation . . .” (2 Peter 3:14-15).

If you have no personal saving relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, get one. I’m not talking about being religious. Jesus spoke of a righteousness that exceeds mere religiosity (cf. Matthew 5:20). Jesus said there would be people who speak of Him and even do things in His name but who were not known by Him; they had no relationship with Him (Mat. 7:21-23). You must be “born again.” Jesus said you must be born again, spiritually regenerated if you want to enter His kingdom. Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.

How can a person be born again? Admit you are a sinner; a rebel against God; and that your sin has separated you from life with God (cf. Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:1-2; Habakkuk 1:13; Romans 3).  Then turn from your sin and ask God to forgive you of your sin. Don’t ask Him to forgive you because of any work or effort of your own. Your sole means of salvation, the only basis for or way God can and will forgive your sin, is by accepting Jesus as Your Savior by faith. Receive Jesus by faith (John 1:12). Jesus paid your death penalty for sin justly on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21). Believe in Him, trust in His cross-work and His cross-work alone and God will have the just and righteous basis to forgive you. When you trust in Jesus as your Savior God will forgive you and He will give you spiritual life, a second birth, a spiritual birth, you will be born again to eternal life in Christ by the Holy Spirit who will indwell you. When the Holy Spirit comes within you, you will be transformed from darkness to light, from death to life, from a life of sin to a holy life; an abundant eternal life (e.g. Acts 26:18). You’ll never be the same. You’ll never look back; you won’t want to (2 Corinthians 5:17). That’s what Jesus requires of those who would live in His kingdom (cf. John 3). Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.

There’s a lot more that could be said on the topic of the End Times and Bible prophecy. Is this the end? It might be. It might not be. But what if it were? What if your personal end comes before the end of the world? Are you ready? Is your house in order? These really are unprecedented times. All of these signs, what might they be a sign of? Time will tell. Some will say it’s just a coincidence. Others will say it’s a warning sign from God. No matter what you think it’s worth your time to consider what you would do if it was the end. What if your personal end is near, today, in a moment? What if the end of the world is near? “What if it were today?” Today is the day of salvation for you! Don’t let it pass.



[1] Global Debt Bomb Ready to Explode - $21,714 For Every Man, Woman and Child

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