Borrowed Truths

The First Time

the first time
Borrowed Truths

The First Time

“To the victor goes the spoils.” “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) The thoughts of the other man, the one hanging on the other side of Christ? Good question, but even in his preparation to die, he would not submit, he would not yield to the truth.

It is possible that he had never heard one thing about Jesus, one must always presume when thinking of others that they are possibly acting out of ignorance, that they simply are simple, but that does not negate the fact that he did not repent, he did not believe, and so he, when he died, went to the other side of the great gulf.

It is not so much that man or even that moment in time that I would ask you to contemplate here in this letter to you, but the place that man went to, the other side of paradise. The account of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31) may be one of the most telling of that place, hot, no rest, a place of torment, not only of the body, but of the mind, a place of the knowledge that hopelessness will never end, there will be no reprieve, no appeals, it is eternal.

How many people alive today would repent and follow Christ if they were allowed to spend just one day, one hour in that place, and then were returned back to their normal life, the life they have become accustomed to. “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (Luke 16:31) That answers that question, doesn’t it? And how did the Lord answer it? “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

We, as human beings, as a whole, do not generally believe what we have not seen, even the most ardent observer that has been to a place that we would like to visit cannot fully explain that place to an individual, we must experience it, we must see it, touch it, know it for ourselves.

One of the best ways that I can describe it to you is when my beautiful wife and I on one of the last days of our first trip to an island decided on impulse to purchase two very inexpensive snorkel kits. When we stepped into the ocean with them and my wife put her head under the water with that mask on for the very first time, her entire life was changed, in an instant, never to be the same. She had, in a sense, been seeing through a glass darkly, (1 Cor. 13:12) but in that moment she found something that she never knew existed, and it became the drawing passion of her life in many ways. Sadly, because of the state of the world, we will never experience that again, our relatively expensive snorkeling gear will remain in the drawer that they occupy, useful only in the memories they enable her to recall.

The moment that man on the cross opened his eyes in that terrible place, he knew, he knew that he had been mistaken about the One who hung between him and the other thief, he may have even seen him from across the great gulf, yelled at him, screamed in repentance, and then knew that same utter hopelessness that the rich man knew, and he still knows it today, he understands it much better.

We are the victors in Christ, we are the ones who will not just receive rest, but will know it for all eternity, we will never experience hopelessness, but we also are the only ones who have seen the truth, and we are responsible to those who will end up in that place that we will never experience. Not for their salvation, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God,” (Romans 14:12 but we are the messengers. You must be able to see that lost soul on fire, you must be able to see the look on their face when they realize that hopelessness will last throughout all eternity. Only then will you lose all embarrassment for Christ, only then will you be able to love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31)

When my lovely wife stepped onto the beach of an island for the first time she was enthralled, when she saw the vast expanse of the ocean in front of her she was mesmerized, but when she put that snorkel mask on, an entirely new world opened up for her, that is what we must do for them, the expanse of heaven is available to all, we have seen it in our spirit, we must show it to them, and the only One who can offer it to them.

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