Letters To Rosemary -- V
"It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement," we are reminded in Hebrews 9:27. In the letter of James, Chapter 4, verses 13,14,15 we are told "Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."
On Monday afternoon February 4, 1957, Joanne Crilley and Patrick Crilley lost their lives in a race with a passenger train on 165th St. in Hammond. This was a great tragedy for they were not prepared to meet their God. Paul tells us in Hebrews 10:31, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." This young couple had been warned many times by several different persons that they should put their lives in order. They knew the Lord's plan for salvation. They knew that if they were to die before they accepted Jesus as their savior and obeyed the gospel, they would be lost. They neglected to accept salvation. On Monday afternoon it became too late for them. What can we say to their family and friends? We know that at the Judgment day "whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire," as we are told in Revelation 20:15. In II Corinthians 5:10,11 we read, "For we must all appear before the Judgement seat of Christ that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men." There is nothing more that we who are left can do for or to Joanne and Patrick Crilley. They will be judged by Christ. We must direct our prayers to God for the living and try to teach the living so that they might not be lost. We know that each of us will be judged and saved or condemned to the "lake of fire" according to the way we have lived during our lifetime. No one else can take our punishment for us and we can't take the punishment someone else has earned. However, those of us who obey the Lord's will won't have to take any punishment. In obeying the Lord's will, let us notice that we must obey it completely. It is not sufficient to partly obey the Lord. We must obey Him in all things. Let us look at James 2:10,11, "For who so ever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law."
Let us study again the Lord's plan for our salvation. Let us notice that it is the LORD'S plan, not invented by any mortal man. Plans invented by men will be thrown out at the judgement along with those people who follow them. The Lord's plan is easy to understand and easy to follow.
It is necessary for us to know that Jesus is the Christ who was to be sent to a lost and dying world to save his people. In John 20:30,31, we are told, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
In Mark 16:15,16, we hear Jesus, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Let us notice that a person must believe before he can be saved. Let us notice that a person must be baptized before he can be .saved. The two conditions are equal. Therefore, it is wasted effort to baptize a baby who is not capable of understanding, much less believing. Believing and baptism are for those who know why they are being baptized. I will not do so here, but I can prove that whoever baptizes a baby commits a SIN.
We know that before we are baptized it is necessary for us to repent of our past sins and make up our minds to live for the Lord, instead of for Satan. In Acts 2:37,38, we read, "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do ? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." I doubt that there was an infant in that group of people.
We know that we must confess our faith in Christ. In Matthew 10:32,33 Jesus is speaking, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
How many infants can repent of their past sins and confess Jesus as the Christ? We have noticed that each one of us will be judged according to what we do. No one can repent of anyone else's sins. No one can confess belief in Jesus for any one else. We see that each of us is accountable to God for our own lives and for no one else.
I wonder what advice Joanne and Patrick Crilley would have for us if they could come back to talk to us. Do you suppose that they might wish us to know as the rich man did in the story of the rich man and Lazarus recorded in Luke 16:28 "For I have five brethren; that he (Lazarus) may testify unto them, lest they also come to this place of torment."
We know that life is short and uncertain. We are a heartbeat from death and judgement. In I Peter 1:24 we read. "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth and the flower thereof falleth away." We know that the life of the grass and the flower is uncertain. It fails to rain and the grass withers and dies. The frost comes and the grass and flowers die. These things are unpredictable. The grass and flowers are cut down sometimes in their prime and sometimes before they come to maturity. We see young people lose their lives before they come to maturity. This should remind us that we do not know when it will come our turn to die. Let us hope that when it comes our turn to die we will be safe and .won't discover that it is too late to avoid condemnation.
It is a joyous thing to die — when we have obeyed the will of the Lord. In Revelation 21:4 we learn "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." What a happy thought that is! What a terrible fate awaits those we read about in II Thessalonians 1:7-9 "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from your heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord." So let us prepare ourselves to die, for we do not know how long we shall be allowed to live. Jesus illustrates a lesson in Luke 12:39,40 "And this I know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through, Be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not." So let us put our lives in order and keep them in order so that it will be a joy to meet the Lord and not a dreadful experience.