When was the last time you were wrong about something that really mattered? You had been convinced you were right, only to find out later that you were dead wrong.
If you could go back in time, what changes would you make? Would you do it the same way and believe the same things, even though your firm belief turned out to be false, and your behavior created havoc in your life? I suspect you would do things differently and believe things differently, based on what you now know to be true.
After all, hindsight is 20/20, right?
“If only…” These words are felt intensely by multitudes of people. You are not the only person to have regrets. And you are not the only one to have beliefs that you found credible when you were younger, before you knew any better. “If only I had done it differently. If only I had believed then what I now know to be true.”
I wish there was a way I could convince you my friend that your soul is immortal. Perhaps you already know it. Every single person who has lived and died has come to know for a fact that their soul is immortal. They know it from experience. They know it because they are living in it at this very moment.
I wish there was a way I could convince you of this fact before it is too late. It becomes too late when people can only look back on their life and wish they had believed things differently and done things differently. “If only I had accepted God’s offer when I was invited to place my faith in the goodness, grace and love of my Creator.” I wish there was a way I could help you see into the future, and realize that death is only the beginning.
I wish there was a way we could rescue people in Hell today and help them escape their eternal sentence. I know that God wanted them to repent of their sins and trust him and follow him during their few brief years on Earth. But for whatever reason, they lived according to their misguided assumptions without any awareness of what they lacked. I wish they could go back in time and place their faith in the Messiah. Sadly, there is no going back.
But here is something we can do. We can reach out to our family members and friends and neighbors today with the love of Christ. We can invite them to place their faith in Jesus while there is still time to be saved. The day is coming when each one of them will take that journey from this world into the next realm. Your soul leaves your body at death and is instantly transported either to Hades (Hell) or to Heaven. There is no layover in Cleveland or Shanghai or any other location on planet Earth. And the false notion of purgatory is only mythical. In reality, there are no second chances after death.
If there was a webcam in Heaven and a webcam in Hades that you could access online today, you would know exactly why believers are so concerned for the souls of unbelievers. And you would suddenly realize why “God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, and God wants you to know it because God wants you in Heaven forever. (John 3:16)
How often do you get things wrong? Is it possible that you are wrong about Christ and about eternity? Or are you the only one who never gets things wrong? And are you the only one who will never regret your decision to reject Jesus and His offer of everlasting life in Heaven?
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” And then he asked Martha, “Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
The same question is being presented to you today. Do you believe this? Do you believe Jesus can raise your body from the grave and bring you to Heaven? Will you trust Christ to do it, or will you leave this world one day in unbelief?
Eternity is a long time to be wrong, whether you currently realize it or not. I wish there was a way I could convince you to trust Christ as your Savior. But I suppose only God can pull off that miracle. (John 3:1-21)
There are only two trains that bring souls into eternity. Jesus said so in Matthew 7:13-14, as well as many other places. Will you look into your future to see where the train you are on is heading? And if it is not heading to Heaven, then it is heading to Hell. God wants to keep you out of that horrible place. And he wants you to spend eternity with him and all of his children in the beauty and ecstasy of Heaven.
Have you ever been wrong about anything? What if you are wrong about the Lord and about the immortality of your soul? If you have been wrong about Jesus up until now, what do you plan to do about it while there is still time to embrace God’s love for you in Christ? Will you renounce your sins as you confess them to Jesus and are saved, or refuse to believe in the Messiah and remain lost in your sins? The clock is ticking. Your decision is needed. And to delay your decision on such a critical matter is to nevertheless make a decision.
You can be wrong about many things my friend and still recover. But this isn’t one of them. There are no do-overs after you die. You see my friend, death truly is just the beginning.
Why not call on the Lord today with these words: “Wash me, Jesus, with your precious blood. Save my immortal soul, and turn me into one of your followers. Amen."
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.