By Dick Blackford
This is the question of the Ages. Try as one might, it is an inescapable question. Whether he phrases the question orally or not, every man makes a decision concerning what he will do with Jesus. All are confronted by it. We are told that Moses made a decision regarding Christ (Heb. 11:24-26). As it appears in the title of this article, the question was first phrased by Pontius Pilate when he faced a blood thirsty mob who demanded the crucifixion of Jesus. Though he thought he had avoided the question, he had not. And though he thought he was dealing with a temporary problem of the moment, it had eternal consequences. And so it is with everyone.
Perhaps you have heard sermons on this subject that show how some in the Bible answered this question. The answer of Judas was sell him (Matt. 26:14-16). The Jews’ answer was crucify him (Matt. 27:22, 23). Peter dealt with the question by denying him (Matt. 26:69-75). Some of his disciples decided to walk no more with him (Jn. 6:66). Felix thought he could postpone a decision, but that was a decision! Agrippa was almost persuaded, but too many things stood in his way. Pilate thought he could be neutral, but his balancing act showed which side he was on (Matt. 27:24-26). It amounted to a rejection of Jesus. “He that is not with me is against me” (Matt. 12:30). The 3000 who obeyed on Pentecost will be eternally in the presence of God, if they kept their commitment to Jesus.
One may find himself described by one or more of these, for they cover all the basic reasons why men reject the Christ. However, this article is not about Moses or Pilate. Nor is it about Judas, Peter, or others. It is about you. What will you (put your name in the blank) do with Jesus?
Why You Should Make A
Decision Of Complete Acceptance
1. Because Jesus Deserves It. At any moment Jesus could have called a halt to the process that was pushing him toward the cross. He didn’t have to become a man. His doing so benefited us, not him. His ministry was spent in a struggle with the opposition who did not recognize him for who he was and is. “He went about doing good …” (Acts 10:38). The people he tried most to help treated him horribly. Nevertheless, his love for you was stronger than the opposition of the whole world and he forged on to a terrible destiny.
2. Because of the Value of Your Soul. Here is some-thing on which Jesus and Satan agree. Your soul is valuable. Consider the price Jesus paid for it. Would he have done such a thing if he didn’t believe in your soul’s worth? It was “redeemed, not with corruptible things .. . but with precious blood . . . even the blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18, 19). If you lose your soul, God’s grace will have been in vain. He taught that it has more value than the whole world (Matt. 16:26). Men handle their money and other valuables with caution and care, but seem to give no thought for the soul. He said, “Fear not him who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). It is more valuable than your body or any member of it (Matt. 5:29, 30). Men often spend great sums to insure the body (2 Cor. 4:16; 5:1).
The devil also knows your soul’s value. The powers of hell are constantly laboring for its everlasting ruin (1 Pet. 5:8, 9). Your soul is in imminent peril of being lost. The loss of your soul is a total loss. It is a loss irreparable. It is an eternal loss. You only have one soul. If it is lost, all is lost. It is the greatest of all tragedies possible that can hap-pen to a human being. Who can deny the value of the soul?
3. Because of the Brevity Of Life. Life is short (Jas. 4: 14). You live in an emergency situation. It is urgent that you become a Christian now. With every tick of the clock and with every beat of your heart your time to obey the gospel is running out. Both of these will eventually happen. The clock will stop ticking. Your heart will stop beating. Whichever happens first, the other won’t matter (Heb. 9:27). There are others whom you want to see go to heaven. You only have this chance to teach and be an influence upon them.
4. Because of the Certainty of The Judgment. When you appear before the judge of the universe it will not be to go on trial. You are on trial now. The purpose of the judgment day is to pass sentence. God has told us everything we need to know about heaven and hell. He has told us everything we need to know about the consequences of sin and the blessings of righteousness. He has not kept it back as a surprise to spring on us at the day of judgment.
5. So You Will Have Hope And Happiness. How can anyone be genuinely happy without hope? Jesus is the only one to die and be raised, never to die again. Thus, he is the only one who can give us hope of doing the same. No one can enjoy genuine happiness unless he is a Christian. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for the righteous (Jn. 14:1-3). In the black days as well as the bright days; in the days of fasting as well as the days of feasting; the dreary days of winter as well as the sunny days of summer, you can have hope.
6. So You Can Avoid Eternal Torment. Hell is depicted in the Bible as a place of punishment, torment, and suffering. All three of these words imply consciousness. There is not a word in human language that expresses duration with-out end that is not applied to the future punishment of the wicked. You can weaken the word hell to its lowest possible level and it still remains a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
If You Deny Jesus
You will be denying infallible proof of who he is (Acts 1:3). You must explain away what he did (Jno. 21:25). You must explain the empty tomb, which the enemies could not explain. You must line up with the scribes and Pharisees who said he was possessed by Beelzebub, the prince of demons (Matt. 12:24). You must put yourself with the cowardly rulers (Jno.12:42). Jesus will be ashamed of you (Mk. 8:38). You will die in your sins (Jn. 8:24).
What Is Your Excuse?
We can often “justify” ourselves before our boss, our friends and our judges in courts of law today. But is your excuse for not becoming a Christian one that can endure the all-seeing eye of God? God is not a man that can be deceived.
If we could call all of the most intelligent men together (all who ever lived) the Solomons, the Einsteins, the Werner Von Brauns and have them spend one year together devising the very best excuse for not becoming a Christian, guess what would happen to that excuse upon the day of judgment. It will fall just as flat as the one you are using! There is no excuse (Rom. 1:20).
I used to say, “I wish I possessed the right words that would cause a person to obey the gospel.” I have quit saying that. If I have preached the pure gospel then I have said the right words! It doesn’t depend on my intelligence or ability. It depends on your heart. If the words of Christ and the apostles are not enough, then there is very little that the feeble and frail children of dust, such as I am, could to do persuade you.
If you have any intention of obeying the gospel, do it now! You have no guarantee this offer will be extended after you pillow your head tonight. What will you do with Jesus who is called Christ? What will your answer be?
Finally, I plead with you to find a quiet place by yourself and give solemn consideration to the words of the hymn writer, Will Thompson.
There’s a great day coming, A great day coming,
There’s a great day coming by and by;
When the saints and the sinners shall be parted right and left,
Are you ready for that day to come?
There’s a bright day coming, A bright day coming,
There’s a bright day coming by and by;
But its brightness shall only come to them that love
the Lord, Are you ready for that day to come?
There’s a sad day coming, A sad day coming,
There’s a sad day coming by and by;
When the sinner shall hear his doom, “Depart, I know ye not,”
Are you ready for that day to come?
Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready for the judgment day?
(Author’s Note: I want to express my appreciation to the brethren who agreed to participate with me in compiling the material for this special issue of Guardian Of Truth. I have read all of the articles and believe it will be useful in our efforts to carry out the Great Commission. We regret that the article by David West would not fit with this issue. It will be printed in the next issues of Guardian of Truth.)
Guardian of Truth XL: 1 p. 22-23
January 4, 1996