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If you only had weeks to live, what would you do?

A photo of the Titanic, thought to be the last known image of the ship, as she sets sail from Queenstown for New York. The White Star liner, touted as 'unsinkable,' sank in 1912 with the loss of 1,523 lives.
A photo of the Titanic, thought to be the last known image of the ship, as she sets sail from Queenstown for New York. The White Star liner, touted as "unsinkable," sank in 1912 with the loss of 1,523 lives. | REUTERS/Christie's/File

When the ocean liner Titanic sank after striking an iceberg on April 15, 1912, Captain Edward John Smith went down with the ship. Some of the wealthiest people in the world were among the roughly 1,500 who perished in the maritime disaster. 

Captain Smith had previously said, “We do not care anything for the heaviest storms in these big ships. It is fog we fear. The big icebergs that drift into warmer water melt much more rapidly under water than on the surface, and sometimes a sharp, low reef extending two or three hundred feet beneath the sea is formed. If a vessel should run on one of these reefs, half her bottom might be torn away.”

God warned Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden 6,000 years ago about the iceberg so to speak that could sink their ship. And that iceberg was disobedience. “The Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die’” (Genesis 2:16-17).

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Nevertheless, Adam and Eve chose to eat the forbidden fruit, and at that moment the world hit an iceberg and began to sink. “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way, death came to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

The next time you are tempted to blame God for bad things that happen in the world, just remember that the ship has been sinking for the past 6,000 years. By the way, the history of man is a different issue than the age of the Earth, as I explained in my 2018 CP op-ed, “The Age of the Earth is God's Business,” and my short ebook, “Open-Ended Creationism.”

Do you realize you are on a sinking ship, or are you living in a spiritual fog? When Jesus returns to Earth one day, everything will instantly change. “The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the Earth and everything in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). 

The Apostle John was given a vision: “Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea” (Revelation 21:1). God's Word also declares, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).

One day Jesus was asked, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:28-29). Do you believe in the Savior who was sent to Earth to die on the cross for your sins? Once a person accepts Christ as Savior, he or she immediately begins to live for the Lord.

The greatest gift ever given is absolutely free to you and me because the Lord endured the tremendous agony of the cross. “Christ died for sins once for all” (1 Peter 3:18). It is easy to become a Christian, but often difficult to follow Jesus. Many Christians in the world face severe persecution, and every Christian on the planet faces the daily challenge of saying “No” to sinful thoughts, words and deeds. 

Perhaps you are currently making plans for retirement, a summer vacation, your wedding, or a new job you are considering. But what if your death is only weeks or months away? After all, “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

You are getting closer to the point in time when you will vanish. Think about all the people who have vanished in the past year. “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him” (Hebrews 9:27-28).

Are you relying upon Jesus’ death on the cross as the payment for your sins? Are you a follower of Christ? Are you eagerly anticipating the Lord's return to Earth? Your eternal existence is infinite, whereas your earthly existence is fleeting and will soon pass away. The minute God decides to shut off your oxygen tank, so to speak, you will immediately be confronted with a whole new reality.

Australian filmmaker James Wan said, “It's pretty scary to know how quickly time flies.” Wan has directed some popular horror movies, but the real horror is what awaits those who have not bowed their knee to King Jesus and received Him as their Lord and Savior. Thankfully, God can save you from a gruesome existence in Hell and give you a glorious existence in Heaven (see Matthew 7:13-14).

The bottom line is that the world is a sinking ship, and you and I are on it. “For this world in its present form is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:31). With that impending reality in mind, what are you doing to address the needs of your immortal soul? Once you take your final breath, it will be too late to make your reservation in Heaven, and too late to enter into a personal relationship with your Creator. (See my 2012 CP op-ed, "Is Your Name in Heaven's Reservation Book?

One of the last verses of the Bible states, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17). Will you take the hand of Jesus being offered to you today? 

I realize that you may still have a number of weeks, months or even years left on this planet. But that is not guaranteed, any more than it was guaranteed to those who boarded the Titanic 112 years ago. “No one has power over the day of his death” (Ecclesiastes 8:8). Just take a look at today's obituaries if you need a fresh reminder.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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