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“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36)
The Bible is full of hard sayings, and perhaps none is harder than John 3:36. The assertion made here, and echoed throughout the New Testament, is that a person’s eternal destiny depends upon whether or not they believe in Jesus. It is not hard to comprehend the logic of the argument; rather, what is hard is allowing the full weight of this statement to impact our hearts. If these words are true, then every day we are interacting with people who, unless they repent of their sin and trust in Jesus, are headed for an eternity separate from the God who created them, experiencing forever the just wrath of a holy God. It is not a pleasant thought, but it demands our attention, careful consideration, and compassionate action.
C.S. Lewis, in his essay “The Weight of Glory,” captured the implications of this idea better than anyone:
“It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
“All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations… immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” Ask the Lord to help you to feel the weight of your neighbor’s glory, as Lewis put it. Pray that He would give you a burden for those who do not know Him that would move you to action, to prayer, and to sharing the gospel with others, that all would believe in Jesus and find eternal life.
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