Just as there is a first time for everything, so is there a last time. And just as that is true for life in general, so is it true of the bible too.
Because at the beginning of the bible, there is the story of Adam and Eve, with their act of disobedience, and their subsequent punishment—being thrown out of the Garden of Eden. And at the end we have the story of Jesus coming again, with the story of everyone being given their due.
So those who have sinned, but have not been cleansed, are excluded and locked outside the New Jerusalem. And those who have made mistakes, but have been cleansed through their faith in Jesus Christ, enter to be with God forever.
In regard to God’s judgement, then, the bible ends where it begins, with man’s sin and God’s punishment.
And that’s odd, in a way, because in our society, there is a greater belief in the concept of Jesus being gentle, meek, and mild. Indeed, the popular belief is that when we die, we will be reconciled with our loved ones in heaven, whether they (or we) believed or not. There is that idea that when people leave this earth they automatically go to a better place.
As a consequence, there is a great difference between what the bible—and the Christian faith—teaches, and what people generally believe. And sadly that means when the majority come face to face with Judgement Day, they will be excluded from the New Jerusalem.
And that leaves all Christians and the church with a challenge. Because the challenge is to confront the people of this world with God’s plan before it is too late.
The question is, though, not “How does one do it?”—because it only takes a willingness to do it and leave God to do the rest—but “When does one do it?” Because the trend amongst many churches is to leave it to last. People don’t want to get uncomfortable; people don’t want to do anything until they’ve had meetings and been trained (and those are usually just delaying tactics.) People don’t want to do anything that involves change or anything that makes them uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury. Because only when we put other people’s spiritual welfare first, are we likely to grow as individuals. And only when we put other people’s spiritual welfare first, is the church likely to grow.
There is a place for doing things first and last. And we need to get our priorities right.
Posted: 10th March 2020
© 2020, Brian A Curtis