With the Internet, smart phones, iPads, tablets, laptops and computers, most people have access to and use the free media apps and sites to keep up to date with news across the planet. This means our collection of news is no more restricted to the radio and television. I say this because I want to pose a question. What do Ace Magashule and Donald Trump have in common? No, it’s not the political party they serve, nor that they are both accused of crimes and corruption. It is simply that, although solid evidence stands against them, they are defiant and will not admit defeat or wrong doing and do not want to go. They do not want to leave office.
Today each one saw opposing views to theirs. Ace Magashule heard the ANC’s Integrity Committee tell him he needs to step down … but he still refuses to go. Today in the USA, the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell congratulated Democrat Joe Biden, calling him president-elect … yet Donald Trump refuses to admit defeat and even though the Electoral College voted Biden as the winner of the recent elections and the highest courts say there is no proof of major fraud in the election … the present president does not want to leave office.
Then, last night our South African president spoke to what he calls the “family” (the people of our country). In the most unintended manner and without realizing it, the president issued what I equate to a stern gospel warning without mentioning Jesus, heaven or hell! He said, “If we do not do things differently this festive season, we will meet the new year not with joy, but with sorrow. Unless we do things differently, this will be the last Christmas for many South Africans.”
Taking the last story first … across the planet many people will die during the festive season. Some through COVID-19, others through old age and terminal diseases, some because of crime and others due to reckless behaviour on our roads (maybe drunken driving and road rage). In any given month the death rate is high, but moreso over the festive season (and Easter period as well). So many loved ones and friends and colleagues will travel to various provinces as their holiday starts today … and for many of them … as the president says … “this will be the last Christmas” … not just because of Covid-19 but because of the other things I mentioned, particularly on the roads and through some form of crime. Where the focus ought to be “Jesus the reason for the season” … the focus becomes reckless living and reckless behaviour. Sadly, many will not have another Christmas because they will be in eternity … either in heaven or in hell!
Then, in the case of the Integrity Committee (let’s call them the high court) who have issued a ruling that is rejected or in the case of the Electoral College voting in favour of one (let’s call them the high court) … there is willful refusal to obey and accept the rulings.
Again, let me take the high death rate over the Christmas Period. So many people willfully refuse to follow Jesus. They have heard the message and have either put the Gospel call on hold or reject it outright. Others again have heard what is believed to be the Gospel but the call they hear is inadequate or incorrect in its presentation … and they are confused. A confused message leads to thinking the Gospel message does not make sense, causing it to be ignored. But then, many hear the call and believe and follow Jesus. So, amongst the many who will die at this time and enter eternity, some will be in eternity with Jesus and others will be in eternity without Jesus.
The way the Bible explains this is (and this is simplified) … to be with Jesus is heaven and to be apart from Jesus is hell. Even though it is unlikely that Jesus’ birth (God becoming incarnate) was at Christmas time … the real issue is not when, but why? Why did Jesus come? In the world of that time and still today … sin was and is rampart. Sin is separation from God. At death in a sinful (spiritually dead) condition, this separation becomes permanent … eternal. That is hell. Yes, we have grown up in a world today that is religious … at times aggressively or even passionately religious … but decidedly and mostly not Christian!
When one thinks of the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple at Jerusalem … its purpose was to prevent access into God’s holy presence because He is holy. Only the High Priest could enter God’s presence and once a year only. That barrier wall was torn in two when Jesus died, granting anyone and everyone access to God without the aid of a priest. Yet even though this barrier is removed through the merits of Calvary, and even though the Gospel offer is totally free (free grace), most prefer to deafen their ears and focus on their personal choice and live their lives as they please. The consequence of such a death is eternal separation from God! The bottom line is that just as the one refuses the instruction of the high courts of the Integrity Committee and the other the confirmation of the Electoral College … so the many refuse the instruction of the High Court of Heaven and its confirmation that outside of Jesus Christ, there is no heaven … no eternal life … only eternal death. There was Pilate acting as judge with Jesus before him. Look what he acknowledged and what he rejected:
Jn 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
Paul, however, gets provocative, saying:
1Ti 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
This salvation is from sin and its eternal consequences. Bluntly, have you been saved? If not, please consider doing the greatest good you could ever do for your soul by turning to and surrendering to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Know Jesus, know heaven. No Jesus, no heaven.
Dear Merciful God, help me to listen carefully to Your instructions and willingly follow them so that should my death be imminent or distant, I’ll have the assurance of eternal life with You. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.