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If you died tonight 

By Jim Killebrew

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[March 11, 2014]  "So, if you died tonight, would you go to heaven?" That was a question I asked my friend.

His response: "Of course. God has too much grace to leave me behind."

I continued: "But you are living like you don't even believe in God. You drink a lot, you never attend any church service, and I have never known you to pray."

After a bit of silence, my friend said: "Yeah, but God doesn't expect us to live some kind of 'holier than thou' kind of life. He expects us to enjoy life and have fun. Besides, I don't do anything really bad," he continued. "I've never killed anyone, I don't rob banks or liquor stores. In fact, I am better than a lot of people I know."

"That may be true," I responded, "but are you better than Jesus? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?"

He lowered his head, shuffled his feet and seemed a bit embarrassed. He said: "You know I don't talk about all that religious stuff like Jesus and angels and sheep. I am just part of the whole outdoors. I can worship in the woods while I hunt for deer, or at the lake where I can fish for my dinner."

"But," I started to say.

"No," he interjected, "you believe all that stuff about God and Jesus, but I'm not sure I believe all of it. I mean, after all, who says that there is a heaven, or a hell for that matter?"

Silence hung for a minute or two, and he raised his head and looked at me square in the eyes and said, "Do you believe all that?"

"Yes," I whispered. I told him I believed in God the Creator and told him the account recorded in the Bible about God and the fall of mankind, Adam and Eve. I then went through some of the Scriptures that foretold about the coming of the Christ, how Abraham was chosen by God to form a nation, about the nation of Israel being God's nation through which the Son of God would be born. We reviewed the Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to read about the birth of Jesus and His working on this earth.

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I then said to my friend: "It really does make a difference to me. My life is built on the foundation that God is real, He has communicated with me through His Word, the Bible, and He has said to me that to be with Him forever I need to have faith in Him, submit to Him and take Jesus as my Lord and Savior."

Finally, I said to my friend: "What if I die tonight and on the other side of this life there is absolutely nothing. I am gone completely, death is absolute and there is no hereafter. Then it really didn't make any difference what I believed. I would not be facing anyone. I would be dead."

"Yeah," he said, "so then what was the difference?"

"Suppose on the other hand," I continued, "You die tomorrow and what you believe about death being the end is not really true; in fact at that moment you find out there is a God waiting for you on the other side, and everything the Bible says is true. Will it make a difference to you as you stand in judgment in front of God's throne?"

"So how do I defend myself?" he asked.

"You don't; there is no way to defend yourself. If you are covered with sin, you are guilty. You pay the price of sin, and that price is eternal separation from God in a place of eternal torment," I said.

"However," I continued, "in the same situation I will not have to defend myself because I have yielded to Jesus and He has become my Advocate, my Lawyer if you will. When I stand before the throne of God, it will be Jesus Who will argue my case. Sin will try to condemn me, but Jesus will have covered me with His blood that He shed on the cross to redeem me from my sin. Because of that blood God will not even see my sin. Because of my Advocate, Who covered me with His blood, God will declare me no longer guilty and confirm that I was justified and redeemed by the blood of Jesus."

[By JIM KILLEBREW]

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