ONLY SIX SHOPPING DAYS LEFT UNTIL JUDGMENT DAY
(Note: I am indebted to my friend and fellow gospel preacher, Steve Kirby, minister of the Hilldale Church of Christ in Clarksville, TN, for the idea behind this issue of “Hugh’s News & Views”).
TV, radio, and print media remind us that there are only six (or whatever the number) shopping days left until Christmas. The Bible tells us about the great day of final judgment, but it does not tell us how many days there are until that day comes. Of His second coming and the day of judgment, Christ said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36).
Yet, the Bible is quite clear that there will be a day of judgment and that to enter into eternal life in heaven one must be prepared for it. In a masterful verbal picture of that day, Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. And all the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left” (Matthew 25:31-46).
Paul, the great apostle, declared that God “has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all, in that He has raised Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Paul further affirmed: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether it is good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:10). He emphasized: “So then each one of us shall give account of Himself to God” (Romans 14:12). Yes, “it is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Where should one “shop” in preparation for the day of judgment? Not among the councils, creeds, catechisms, and church manuals of men! Not among family and friends who are wed to their religious traditions and long standing denominational affiliations. Not among preachers and priests and televangelists who refuse to give people a Bible answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Not the advocates of the “sinner’s prayer” or “just receive Jesus into your heart.” Not among the “faith only” advocates.
Christ alone is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and it is to Him and His inspired apostles and prophets and their message as set forth in the New Testament that we must do our “shopping” and “buying” (see Proverbs 23:23) in preparation for the day of judgment. On the day of Pentecost, when inquiring sinners had been convinced of the Messiahship and Lordship of Jesus, they asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:37-38). Those who gladly received the word were baptized (verse 41), and all those who were saved from their sins that day were constituted into Christ’s church which had its beginning on that momentous occasion. Those who have continued down through the ages to hear, believe, and obey that same original message of the inspired apostles have been saved from their sins and added to the same church to which those first converts were added (Acts 2:47).
The rest of the book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament is a confirmation of this divine plan of human redemption. “And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). “Therefore we were buried with Him in baptism (not sprinkled or poured, hf), that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Just as new life for Christ began after His resurrection, just so new life for us begins after our death to sin by repentance, and after our burial and resurrection with Christ in baptism! After all, why would anyone who is already spiritually alive be buried in baptism? We bury dead people, not live people!
A thousand years before the birth of Christ, the wise man Solomon said, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
If you knew there were only six “shopping” days left before the day of judgment, what would you be “buying”?
December 19, 2017
(Note: There will be no “Hugh’s News & Views” next week. We wish for all of our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. We will return on January 2, D.V.)