SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2010.
THE ASSURANCE OF IMMORTALITY
BY ERNEST ONUOHA
TEXT: 1Thess 4V14: “We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep”.
November 2nd each year is set aside as: ALL SOULS DAY. On this day, thanks are returned to God for in Him believers have great hope of living forever. This is a great assurance we need to hold very dear to our hearts “…God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep.”
To the non-believer, therefore, he is pre-occupied with thinking in terms of catalymistic end. A belief that, everything perishes. There is no need living and believing in a continuum. Man die go, some say. But we know even if it is a philosophy, it is a dangerous belief. Such can lead to fallacies and heresies. In fact, it can induce false living and its end is doom, condemnation and punishment.
What does the bible say in I Cor. 15V16-19:
For if the dead are not raised,
Then Christ has not been raised either.
And if Christ has not been raised,
Your faith is futile; you are still
in your sins. Then those also who have
fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
if only for this life, we have
hope in Christ, we are to be
pitied more than all men.
We need to be encouraged, assured of immortality as we run the Christian race.
The Christian should be on guard because the idea of immortality raises the basic teaching that there will be judgement. The judge is God, Holy, impeccable and a righteous one indeed. Certainly in God’s judgement, good shall be rewarded and evil punished. This is clearly illustrated in the Gospel according to St. John, Chapter 5V28-29; it says:
Do not be amazed at this, for a
time is coming when all who are in their
graves will hear his voice and
come out. Those who have
done good will rise to live,
and those who have done evil will
rise to be condemned.
The implication of the above is that there is no hiding place for the “Sons and daughters” of darkness.
In the days of Noah, people made mockery of the judgement of God. How can God destroy a world He created? But the great deluge did come and many perished. This type of deluge or flood is greater than the ones we are witnessing in some isolated areas of the world including Nigeria. Noah the righteous and his family were saved from the deluge that lasted for a hundred and fifty days. Sadly enough, those mockers died and never repented.
Even so in our own time, some people are still with this erroneous belief: HOW CAN GOD JUDGE THE WHOLE WORLD? To their shame they ask, where will God begin: America, United Kingdom, third world countries or developing nations such as Nigeria. No, He cannot just do that and He is a busy person. They forget that the day of the Lord will be but terrible; no one will escape His judgement. The writer of Ecclesiastes had been a little impatient. For him, he wants God’s thunderbolt to fall on the wicked. But God has set a day for judgement. The question now is: WHO WILL ESCAPE THE IMPENDING JUDGEMENT OF GOD?
One time moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Rev. Dr. Nnanna Ukaegbu (now late) while preaching at the then Synod of the Diocese of Owerri at All Saints Cathedral Church, Egbu, considering the volume of sin in our nation Nigeria then said “If God will not punish Nigeria He will apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah”. This was said before these days of kidnapping and ransom taking, both of high and low. I think the stand of the preacher then is more relevant even in our time today. Nigerian’s are skillful in evil but God will bring everything to book at the appropriate time.
Our level of sophistication, science or technological breakthrough cannot debar God’s judgement. After all, someone observed that “America can attack any nation of the world with their chemical and biological weapons, but they cannot attack or destroy heaven because they did not contribute in building it”.
Time has come for people to concentrate and prepare for the life of Heaven. How I wish the amount of time or money we are putting in, in preparing for the 2011, could cause also us to set a time to make peace with God. The soul shall not die but on the day of the Lord, people shall receive their reward accordingly.
There is still room to make amends. Jesus says:
“…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If really you knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” John.14V6, 7.
Let us stop to think:
Do you know Jesus? Does He know you? What do you think about immortality?
LET US PRAYER:
Into my heart; DC
Lord into my heart,
Come in to stay, DC
Come into my heart
Lord Jesus, Amen.
Ven. Barr. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,