I WAS DYING. My mind frantically raced,
planning half a lifetime into 7 months. The
walk home from the hospital was longer than
the ten blocks it took to walk it. I needed to
walk. Walk and think; all the things left undone;
all the thanks that may never get said. The
playing field got much smaller--in football, they
call it the red zone. It was the two minute
warning with no time-outs. I felt so crammed, so
hurried, so rushed. I was already feeling guilty,
wasting so much time thinking
instead of doing something, like
crying my head off, for starters.
As I turned the corner on 5th
and Mulberry, half a block down,
coming toward me with that
unnatural smile on his face, was
the last thing I wanted to
see--Henry P. Maxwell.
He waved, hurrying toward me.
I didn't gesture. Maybe he'd take the hint.
"Mark! Good to see you. You got the day
"Doctor appointment," I said.
"Routine checkup." I never stopped walking.
You'd think, since he was heading the other
way, he would keep going. You'd think he'd
have a life--a real life, one where he wouldn't
be ramming his belief down a reluctant throat.
But he turned and tagged along. What do you
expect from a Bible-thumper?
"Say, my church has a special speaker tonight,
and I thought maybe you would--"
I shook my head, almost tearing it off. "Sorry,
got better things to do." Why don't you go
away? my mind screamed. Bug off! Not now.
JUST PLEASE GO AWAY!
"Oh . . . Well, he'll still be around for
Sunday's service. Maybe we can have lunch
I stopped. I wanted to cry; curse this world for
making me work my tail off thirty two long
years, only to give me a measly 7 months in
return. Henry P. Maxwell had made a grave
mistake. The worst timing in the world. At that
moment, he was the world's ear.
"WHY DON'T YOU GO TO HELL--" I said,
choking on the rest of the sentence. My tears
were welling up. I turned, putting distance
"I can't," he cried, his voice
growing louder as he caught up.
"Heaven's my home; I have
eternal life, thanks to Jesus
"Look! Leave me alone!" I didn't
care if he saw the tears. "I've told
you a zillion times, I don't want to
give up my freedom! I'm not
gonna be some gullible slave like you. It's my
life. I want to enjoy it my way, doing what I
want to do. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!"
Of course he didn't understand. How could he
understand? Eight months from now he'll still be
around, annoying some other poor soul,
"fortunate" enough to cross his path.
Confused by the tears, he quietly listened.
"If you don't stop following me, I'm calling
the cops." I looked around as if trying to find
"Okay," he said, finally getting the hint, "I'm
sorry. I won't bug you anymore. But--"
I walked away. It didn't stop him from
finishing his sentence. A sentence I'll never
forget. It was a sentence you'd only expect from
a mind reader.
He said, "But without eternal life, how much
freedom do you really have?"
Confined to a cell called life,
waiting for your inevitable
judgment, you are no better
than the prisoner on death row,
awaiting his execution. Your
time is limited. What kind of
freedom is that?
BORN AGAIN CHRISTIANS are often
viewed as "Jesus freaks;" religious
slaves, forced to obey rules made by
others; unable to think for themselves; brain-
washed and, for all intents and purposes, void of
Many perceive the price for following Jesus
as too great: life is too short to be submitting to
behavioral restrictions. A life surrendered to
Christ has no freedom; too many "do's" and
"don'ts": "You can't do this," or "You must do
that." Life's goal, after all, is to "have as much
fun as possible; the world has too many rules
People will often refuse to
surrender their lives to Jesus
Christ because they feel they'll
lose their freedom by doing so.
However, it's the other way
around. We all desperately need
Jesus Christ as our Lord and
SAVIOUR. Without Christ's
saving power, there can never
be true freedom. Here's why:
The Result of
Sin is Death. . .
The Bible teaches, in 1 Cor. 15:3, that "Christ
died for our sins." Most people don't even bat
an eye at the fact that Christ died on a cross to
save them from the penalty of sin. Sin to them
is something that, at worst, causes problems
and inconveniences. Many will try to either live
with those problems, or deal with them in a way
that doesn't require them to "surrender their
freedom"--avoiding having to be born again.
However, did you know that the worst
consequence of sin is not even experienced
during one's lifetime? The Bible says that "The
sting of death is sin." (1 Cor. 15:56). Death
exists because of sin--man's sin. You can't
blame the existence of death on God. A world in
which death has the ultimate victory is not the
world that God intended. Death began with
Adam's sin: "Wherefore, as by one man sin
entered into the world, and DEATH BY SIN; and
so DEATH PASSED UPON ALL MEN, FOR THAT
ALL HAVE SINNED." Rom. 5:12
"Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth
forth sin: AND SIN, WHEN IT IS FINISHED,
BRINGETH FORTH DEATH."
(James 1:15). Death prohibits
sinful man from living forever,
thus preventing him from
propagating his sinful acts
indefinitely (Gen. 3:22). Death
puts a natural end to the sinful
acts we find all around us. As
sinners, we are allowed to
expire, thus halting our sinful behavior. You may
not see yourself as a sinner; but, the fact that
you will die one day, proves the very sinner that
you are. Death is what we have all earned
because of our sin: "For the wages of sin is
death" (Rom. 6:23). And as long as there is the
prospect of death--eternity in Hell--no one is
Death is also
The Door to God's Judgment
The Bible teaches that: "It is appointed unto
men once to die, BUT AFTER THIS THE
JUDGMENT." (Heb. 9:27). Death puts us into the
How ironic that so many refuse
Christ, not wanting to "lose
their freedom," and yet, Christ
is the ONLY SOURCE of true
freedom--how ironic indeed!
hands of an angry God, a God that must judge
our sin. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith
the Lord" (Rom. 12:19). Thus, every lie we have
used against another unsuspecting soul, every
thing we have stolen from someone else, every
hateful thought aimed toward a fellow human
being, EVERY SIN COMMITTED, will finally be
recompensed. The justice against sin and evil
that the world so eagerly hungers for will finally
be meted out at death--one sinner at a time.
And as long as judgment awaits us, there is no
The world's Freedom
Is an illusion . . .
My friend, after reading
all this, ask yourself: How
much freedom do I really
have right now as I
stand? With death and
its subsequent judgment
looming ahead, can
anyone really say they are free? The fact is,
there is no freedom without the forgiveness that
comes with the eternal life God offers.
Think about it. Without the assurance that
your sins have been paid for, you can't really
claim freedom. You are confined to a cell called
life, waiting for your inevitable judgment. You
are no better than the poor prisoner on death
row, awaiting his execution. It is only by the
grace of God that your waiting period isn't cut
short by some tragic, unforseen accident.
Jesus Christ provides the only
True Freedom . . .
Jesus said, "And ye shall know the truth, and
THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE" (John
8:32). Christ came to this earth to die in our
place, paying the penalty of sin on our behalf.
His death appeases God's wrath and judgment
upon us: "And as it is appointed unto men once
to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ
was once offered TO BEAR THE SINS OF
MANY." Heb. 9:27-28
Because of Christ's shed blood, we no longer
have to fear death. Because of His death, the
Bible says: "this mortal shall have put on
IMMORTALITY, then shall be brought to pass
the saying that is written, death is swallowed up
in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave,
where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin;
and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth
us THE VICTORY THROUGH OUR
LORD JESUS CHRIST" (1 Cor. 15:54-
"For the wages of sin is death;
But the GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL
LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. 6:23
There is no freedom
Without eternal life . . .
As long as there is death with its subsequent
judgment looming over our heads, there is fear
of the inevitable. The Bible even refers to those
fearing death as living in bondage. Christ's death
and shed blood delivers us from this bondage.
The Bible says that Jesus Christ can, "deliver
them who through fear of death were all their
lifetime subject to bondage." Heb. 2:15
My friend, please take the time to learn how
one receives God's free gift of freedom.
You will find it written on the back [below] . . .
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) Baptism, good deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are all examples of good works that cannot save you, because, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he [Christ] saved us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8-9
THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner and can't save yourself. And call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you. "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9
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