The Ferndale Fortitude (Vol. 2 No. 1, February 1, 2022)
One life. That’s all we get. How are you living it? Are you living it as a Christian? If not, why not?
Scripture teaches us not to delay in finding our answers. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 says, “not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” There is truly no time like the present. In fact, all we have is the present. “Today, if you hear [God’s] voice, do not harden your hearts,” (Ps. 95:7-8).
Today is the day of salvation. Not tomorrow. Today.
There is no guarantee that there is tomorrow for you or for anyone. This is what we learn from Psalm 90:12. “Teach us to number our days, O Lord.” Today could be your last. Are you ready for what comes next? Are you ready for eternity?
In Luke 12:20 Jesus teaches us that we can spend our days pursuing present goals: a nice house and car, a padded retirement, extra toys and gadgets, vacations, comfort, leisure, experiences, etc., but if we do not prepare for the inevitable end of life (everyone dies), we are nothing but fools. It’s because our souls do not die that we should concern ourselves with what will become of them when our bodies die. To this end, the ancients developed what is possibly the best bumper sticker phrase ever. Memento mori, which means remember that you die. Or as Genesis 3:19 puts it, “out of [the ground] you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
This is enough to get the attention of anyone who does not suffer from a petrified heart. All of it is to say repent of your sin. Repent of your short-sited view of life. Repent of thinking that there will always be tomorrow. Repent of taking God for granted and not living as He has commanded. Look your forthcoming death in the eyes, and humbly turn to
Jesus Christ for help. He is the answer. He is your soul’s deliverance from an eternity of regret, misery, loneliness, and despair. He is how and why your forgiven body will be resurrected from the grave, and He is the only way for your soul to be reunited with your resurrected body so that the whole you can live forever in pleasure and peace.
A lot of people call themselves Christian. 70% of Americans claim such an identity. How many of them go to church (Ex. 20:8-11; Heb. 10:24- 25)? How many don’t know the Ten Commandments? How many can’t summarize their faith, and tell their neighbors about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? How many don’t know how to pray, or have forgotten the prayer our Lord taught us (Luke 11:1- 11)? How many deny that they’re sinners and think that the way to heaven is found in morality, you know, being a “good person”? How many have been baptized or know that Jesus makes Himself present with His people every week to serve us His very own holy Body and Blood, which is not only the substance of our redemption but also what strengthens us for daily living, spiritually and physically?
How many “Christians” are Laodiceans?
It was to the church in Laodicea that Jesus said, “because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth,” (Rev. 3:16). There are a lot of lukewarm Christians in the world today. May you and I never be numbered among them! To this end, let us consider Jesus’ words from Matthew 7:21. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Let us trust in the one who did and does the will of our Father. Let us be truly Christian, dying to self and living in Christ (John 3:30; Gal. 2:20- 21; 5:24-25). Let us believe in Jesus Christ, crucified for the forgiveness of our sins. Let us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, live our baptismal faith, humbly trusting the Scriptures, and clinging to Jesus’ cross. Let us each live like the ancients who used the phrase memento mori (remember that you die) to keep them from taking for granted God’s will, Word, and way, so that like all true Christians we may memento Christi (remember Christ).
Your servant in Christ,