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This, the Acceptable Time

“And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain– for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”–“ (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

As we claw and grasp our way down the path of our journey to the destiny that awaits us. We are faced along the way many trials, overwhelming challenges, great advances, and sometime great retreats. We go about our way setting the goals of our life with some achievement and some disappointment as we travel on. For most of us life here in this world is good and for far too many life here is not so good. The well off say that life is what one makes of it while the disadvantage might say their ship sunk before reaching shore. But this is life in an ever complex world where the lives of the populace interact and affect the lives of us all for the better or the worse. Life here passes as a whisper in the wind and too many of us consider the long term goal beyond the far shore that we are racing to reach. The question I’ve heard so many a poet ask is, “where do we go from here?” I can only say as I look out upon you all is it is no secret if you would but discover the truth from the Master of the Universe.

The universes operates on the grace of God. The sun shines on each of us each day and at night we gaze at the heavens filled with the uncountable lights of His glory. The rain falls on the good and the bad watering the earth and replenishing the life that feeds our bodies each day. A marvelous world hidden within the microscopic life giving creation created for the support of God’s crown of creation you and me and the rest of the seven billion souls living on this planet. Yet for each of us that gift of time draws to an end and we as the poet must ask, “where do we go from here?” I can only say as I look out upon you all is it is no secret if you would but discover the truth from the Master of the Universe.

The Master of Creation, God Almighty who is all knowing and ever present throughout eternity before His creation made the plan firm in His Word that man should return home to be with Him. When God created the world it was as heaven and then man stumbled into the temptation of the adversary and fell into disobedience. This is not hard to believe as we have been a disobedient people throughout all our lives. But God who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:20) had a plan of restoration for each of us if we would but accept it. God who is the definition of incomprehensible love, love which demand justice, by His grace towards man provided away of escape from our justly deserved wrath of His judgment. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.” (Titus 2:11)

Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God’s grace among men. Jesus did not come to judge us but to save us from ourselves and our worldly love affair with “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (1 John 2:16) No the Son of God did not come to judge us but to save us because we belong to His Father as we are in His image. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) I gave this verse to an associate of mine and he laughed and said, “But I am not lost, I know my way home.” I wonder, does he know where his home is that he was created to be? Does he know that he will never get there if he does not accept the truth of Jesus Christ and believe upon His name and follow Him in faith to His home with the Father in Heaven? I am afraid that my associate is so caught up in living for this world that he does not see the long term goal of a home in heaven with His Creator.

We go through our lives and do not even scratch the surface of the disobedience that we rack up on the books of heaven. Once in a while we realize that we are in error, or maybe we just get caught and can’t work our way around the penalty by deceit and lies. We come to do the right thing amongst our fellows and apologize and say that we are sorry. Then go on unchanged a living in the same mistake until the truth catches us once again. All the while we are just as guilty, as we do not know who we have actually sinned against. But King David knew and gave a redeeming confession to His Lord. “As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.” (Psalm 44:4) It is good to confess to one another as we have wronged them but the sins we have committed are against God. If I have transgressed against you and you have forgiven me that is a good thing. But or I cannot forgive one of his sins against God. If I sin against you it does not require the payment of my death, but it does require my death against God. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) We must realize that our sins are against God Almighty and the penalty for that sin is our death. How could I ever pay the price of my disobedience towards God. In the midst of that quagmire the convictions of the life that I had lived created an overwhelming sorrow and brought me to my knees before a loving redeemer Jesus Christ. “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Jesus is fully God, He is God’s Son, Jesus is fully man, He lived amongst us and experienced everything that we experience in life. He knows the trials and tribulations that we go though, He knows the temptations that we face, He know sorrows and He certainly knows suffering, even suffer on a Roman Cross. He persevered all that he could accomplish His purpose to save that which was lost, all of mankind. Jesus was born of the untainted blood of His Father, lived a perfectly righteous life, and sacrificed His life that the debt of sin, death, might be paid for all who would put their believe in Him and accept His free gift completely. For this reason Jesus and only Jesus is able to forgive my sin because He paid the price of my sin. Why? Because He loved me “just as I am.” “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

By God’s free gift of grace we are saved by faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) Faith in what, faith in God. Yes! Faith in God’s Word, Jesus Christ. (John 1:1) Man bogs the simplicity of his salvation down by adding terms and conditions to it. I heard one commentator say in reference to John 1:1 that “In the beginning was the Word” and since then man has been adding to it. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24) it is by faith that we are saved, faith in God’s Word and we gain our faith, we increase our faith, we fortify our faith, and we live our faith by following Jesus Christ. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

No one can doubt the truth for the truth is. Salvation domes by the grace of God through faith, believing in the Word of truth, Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, promises salvation to all who will accept it. Our salvation is full and it is free. This is the good news for a sin sick world that is weary and heavy burdened with their sins against a Holy and Righteous God. Jesus promises, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Why then do people not forsake their love affair with the world that is passing away and seek the world that is eternal? Are they gambling on the morrow? It is a false hope as all have seen that for far too many tomorrow never comes. It is here that the decision must be made, once we leave our destiny is fixed for all of eternity. “On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross the emblem of suffering and shame and I love that old cross where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain.” There were two thieves that were crucified with Jesus that day not so long ago. I have no knowledge what crimes they each had committed. But they were worthy of death on a Roman Cross. They each probably though prior to their sentence thought as I and many that “there has to be a morning after.” But they hung there that day each next to truth. One went the way of the world and mocked the truth while facing death square in the face. The other realized by the foolishness of the first that his was his moment to call upon the name of the Lord. Each one on that last day on earth fixed their eternal destiny. The one now will never again be known to any, he is fixed in a place without the love of God. The other is in heaven, where there is no more sorrow, no pain, and no death. He is in a state of happiness and joy, love and security, and more alive now than he had ever been. He is in the company of his Savior, Jesus Christ. We are all hanging on that cross today, every one of us, this is the hour of decision, and this is the day of our salvation. “And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain– for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”–” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Durant Bible College, January 29, 2015

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