Monday, November 13, 2023

‘It’s a one way ticket for me … but I’m ready.’


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

When I saw the above headline, I wondered if the words were spoken by someone who was about to die but was ready to do so, and I read further.  The article was, in fact, the touching story of a Ukrainian man who had taken the decision to get his wife and family safely out of Ukraine, then, having done so, to return to his homeland, alone, to join the national effort to defend it.  As he said, it was a 'one-way ticket’: he had assessed the situation, and made the difficult choice to travel to that place of danger, having no plans to leave again, and with the very real risk that he would lose his life.

Although the actual story was different from the possibility I had anticipated, I strongly urge you to consider what was on my mind: death, and being ready for it.  Most of us will never make the journey that the Ukrainian man-made, but, unless the Lord Jesus Christ returns soon, all of us will die. That man set off voluntarily, but we have no choice regarding death: it is unavoidable.  Although he had a ‘one-way ticket’, it is possible that one day he will come back, but there is no ‘return journey’ from death.  A wise woman once affirmed, “We must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again” 2 Samuel 14. 14; Job declared, “When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return” Job 16. 22.  We die because we are sinners: “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” Romans 5. 12, and after death comes judgment for sins: “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” Hebrews 9. 27.

In light of the solemn reality of death and judgment, it is vitally important to be ready.  People do things to prepare for their death, such as making a will.  However, while it is wise to make preparation for what will happen here after you have gone, it is immeasurably more important that you prepare for what will face you personally when you leave.  The Bible tells us that there are only two destinations after death: Heaven and Hell.  So that we could be saved from Hell, and go to Heaven, God gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer, bleed and die for our sins upon the cross: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3.16.  It is only by trusting in Him, Who died and rose again, that you can be ready to die: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” John 3.36.

Long ago, God gave this clear message to Israel: “Prepare to meet thy God” Amos 4.12.  That same appeal comes to you today.  Are you ready to depart on that journey from which you will never return?  In other words: have you repented, and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, to save you from going to Hell, and to take you to Heaven?  If not, then turn from your sins, and put your faith in Him, today.  He will save you, and you will be ready to die, without fear of perishing.  Like Paul, who was facing the possibility of dying in the near future, you will be able to say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain … having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” Philippians 1.21,23.

Used by kind permission of Assembly Testimony


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