By Ada Nicholson Brownell
I worked on a newspaper story about Jesus’ return, based on an interview with a pastor. As we discussed it in the newsroom, I observed fear among the non-Christians.
The tragedy is that many of those people had no idea how to meet God. They are among those whose religion, steeped in ritual, makes it difficult. Not only are they to participate in religious rites, but they must pile up good works too, and they still have no peace.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be good enough to get to heaven,” a neighbor told me over the fence one day. Week after week I saw on her clothesline white baptismal robes she’d been washing for the church, which teaches that you can be baptized for the dead.
I explained to her the reason Christ came is because we can never be good enough in ourselves. That’s why we need a Savior.
Sometimes the message of salvation is lost in the gobbledygook of theology.
I surveyed several denominations on beliefs about how man gets to heaven. One spokesman for a church said, “Call me back next week, and I’ll tell you.”
I wondered if I would have received the same answer if I had been dying.
But getting right with God, our Heavenly Father, is simple.
First, we acknowledge God’s authority and right to respect.
Second we no longer rebel at His commandments, His love, and His Word.
Third, we ask forgiveness for our sins—wrongs we have done against God and people.
Fourth, we commit ourselves to doing His will; and follow Him and His Word.
As we are clothed in the garment of His salvation, we throw away our worn blanket of self-righteousness.
People who have the right relationship with God need not fear the return of Jesus Christ. In the book of First Thessalonians we are told to comfort one another with words about His coming. His coming also is referred to as our hope.
If everything is clear between us and our Heavenly Father, we’ll anticipate meeting Christ in the air with joy and be ready to live a better life here if Jesus should tarry.
It won’t matter when it happens because we’ll be ready. It won’t matter whether we are dead or alive, for if we have accepted Jesus as Savior, we’ll be changed in the twinkling of an eye be resurrected to life immortal.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
When you know the Lord, you don’t have to be afraid.
--THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL