out to the general public at the bottom of the news program, scrolling across the bottom of the screen. There had been another terrorist attack, this time in Manchester, England, this time at a concert being given by Ariana Grande...not an artist that I was familiar with, but the aftermath of the attack is beginning to become all too familiar.
At least 19 (the toll is now up to 22) people were killed Monday night, including an 8-year-old girl, in the explosion at the end of Grande's concert. Manchester hospital officials raised the number of people wounded to 119, which include 12 "seriously injured children." The total number of injured jumped from the previously reported 59 because of the "walking wounded" who sought medical treatment after the attack.
I couldn’t help but think about the reality of the situation...the reality is...nineteen souls were separated from their physical bodies in an instant...and thrown out into eternity...their destination either heaven or hell.
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, Hebrews 9:27 (ESV)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (ESV)
Let me ask you a question. What do you think? Out of the nineteen souls flung out into eternity, in an instant, on Monday evening...if you we’re trying to make an estimate...how many do you think went to heaven and how many do you think will spend an eternity separated from God in that place named hell? There’s no way for us to know...it could have been all nineteen went to heaven or it could have been that all nineteen went to hell, or some other number in between...the only thing we know for sure is that their life on this earth was ended by evil, and they are now residing in their eternal abode.
We would like to think that all of them had an opportunity to hear the good news that Christ came into this world to die on the cross, as a substitute, in their place, for their sins, and offers forgiveness of sin to all who repent and trust Him as their Lord and Savior thereby receiving the gift of eternal life in heaven. We would like to think that someone cared enough to tell them that Jesus came to make the only way to heaven possible and available for those of faith instead of there remaining no hope for people, perishing in their sin and having nothing to look forward to, except eternal death in hell.
Reality is hard to type out at times, it’s difficult to think about on occasion, but it has a way of bringing to focus the most important need of any life...and that is salvation...a deliverance from the power and effects of our sin.
It really happened on Monday night, people went to heaven or to hell.
When confronted with the truth, there is brought with that truth an urgency to help and to pray and to make a difference...and while there is much that can be done with the broken families and friends who are left behind in this world in their grief and pain. No longer can anything be done for those that are gone. It will not matter for them. Their eternal destiny is sealed.
What if it happened...the sudden deaths of a football team...in a stadium, or family and friends attending a concert...in a local venue, or in your place of employment, or in your neighborhood, or in the hospital you visit, or anywhere, where people you know and work with, and play with, and worship with...were gone...in a second. How many of your fellow workers would go to heaven? How many of your neighbors would go to heaven? How many of your Bible Study group would go to heaven? How many of your teammates would go to heaven? How many of them have heard about eternal life and Jesus and the way of salvation?
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)
Shouldn’t those who are saved reach out immediately to those who are perishing with the good news of salvation through Christ? Can we just take our time?
Are we so arrogant that we think we know when someone will die and someone will live? I would imagine that all nineteen...were completely amazed at where they were...five minutes after they died.
Our hearts mourn for those that are dead, for those that were lost...for those we have no knowledge of their personal relationship with God through Christ. We hurt for their friends and family, we hurt for their nation and their peoples. There is so little we can do...confronted with the reality of it all.
If you’re like me...when confronted with the reality of it all...I have asked the Lord to help me...to mourn...to care...for those who are living...especially for those I know and live life with...for those who can still make a decision about whether they will receive the gift of eternal life offered to them by Jesus or not. There is still so much that we can do...confronted with the reality of it all.
I have asked Him to help me care enough to share with them the information that they need more than anything else in life...the gospel. So that they can know and be certain that they will go to heaven when they die.
Shouldn’t everyone you know have an opportunity to hear about Jesus. Shouldn’t everybody you know have a chance for eternal life?
There were two tragedies, at least, on Monday night. One, that broken men...lost in their sin...can take the lives of the innocent through a barbaric act of terrorism.
And two, that if those who died, never had a chance to hear about and receive the salvation offered to us by Jesus. The tragedy that Christians are not motivated enough...do not care enough...do not believe enough... to share with them...what they needed most. Good news.
We cannot prevent the first tragedy...they will continue to happen...because this world is broken...and broken people are lost in their sin. We will try to prevent them...but try as we will...they will occur.
The second tragedy can be averted. In our world, where we live, with the people we encounter. We can care enough to share the truth...and leave the results to God.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (ESV)