Published December 13, 2016

Paul's Epistle

Not long ago, a reader of this newsletter shared with me a compelling and timely article he wrote. With his permission, I'd like to pass it along, slightly edited, for your prayerful consideration.

- Paul

"Holding Back"
by Rick Hughes

Last night as I sat watching the news and saw how evil the world has become, I truly became convinced it is in worse shape than I have ever seen it in my 61 years.

A serious thought came to my mind, sparked by a commercial about wearing seat belts that says, "What's holding you back?" If I could ask God one question it would be, "What's holding You back? What's holding You back from turning to your right and saying to Jesus, ‘Son, go get my children?'" As God sits on His throne in Heaven and looks down at a world that He created as a perfect place for us and sees what it has become, really, what is holding Him back?

A selfish thought came to me, wishing He would send Jesus down here to get us and take us out of this mess and send the evil people to hell. But I thought some more. I don't want Him to come back right now. Maybe what's holding Him back is that He's waiting for one more person to get saved. Maybe it's one of my loved ones, a family member, a neighbor, a friend, someone I passed in the aisle at Walmart. If He came back right now a lot of my family would go to hell while I would go to Heaven, so I don't want Him to come back yet.

God is merciful, but He won't hold back forever. Someday He is coming back. Good for us, sad for those who aren't ready.

Then something occurred to me: What's holding me back? What's holding me back from witnessing to those people so they won't go to hell? That family member, neighbor, friend, that person at Walmart? If one of my grandchildren were getting ready to accidentally do something that would harm him or her I would do everything in my power to protect them — to save them from getting hurt, or worse. Isn't that what we would be doing if we witnessed to a person who isn't saved? Try to save them? Why is it so hard to witness to someone when their soul is at stake? Do I do that? Guilty as charged.

Are we as Christians doing our part, what is required of us, to try to keep someone we love or know from going to hell. God is NOT going to hold back until everyone in the world is saved. He is going to tell Jesus, "Son, go get my children."

As I turned off the TV and all the evil and violence that's going on in our world and went to bed, I wondered while lying there if God might finally get tired of it all and stop holding back once and for all. But as I got up this morning, I saw that God is still holding back. He doesn't want anyone, not one person, to perish. He's still holding back. But am I? Are we? God forbid.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16).

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