By John Larkins
On Friday the 13 of last week, 3,000 Alabamians were diagnosed with COVID-19 virus. The great majority of these cases will probably only require a short quarantine and experience mild symptoms. But, unfortunately, some people will die.
So far in the pandemic, Alabama has recorded a little over 3,000 deaths. Many government leaders are concerned over the present cases because of the need for hospital beds and for other resources by the more serious patients. A casual observer will notice that many people openly walk about in Gadsden while conducting their business without face masks, even though citizens have been told to wear masks when among other citizens. Perhaps more dangerous is the participation in purely social groupings, including close contact and prolonged exposure to strangers or mere acquaintances where the air is filled with moist breathing. Is this clear defiance of government a mark of bravery?
A question that seems most serious is, do these citizens believe they will have life after death? Surely, if people actually trust the existence of God and His promise of eternal life, they would avoid unnecessary risks that entail a move to eternal life, with the necessity of Jesus Christ’s promised judgement. Are these people so sure to believe that despite Jesus’s many documented promises of a personal judgement for our sins, they will be exempt and found acceptable to God’s kingdom as they are?
The Apostle Paul was not so confident in a successful judgement, for he said, “I run my race daily.” Saint Paul was a well-educated man with sound instincts as to conduct acceptability to God. Yet, he would not have been worried about the health of his soul on any given day if he had thought that he was somehow already saved.
The question of entering heaven has always been in terms of whether or not we were forgiven our sins. Only a very few instances of sins being absolved are found in the Bible. This process is always accompanied by a necessary and overt plea in the form of acknowledgement of our guilt and surrender of our will in repentance for offending God.
Jesus spoke to Peter as the chief apostle, that “whosever sins you forgive, they are forgiven, and whosever sins you retain, they are retained.” Can you face the possibility of eternal punishment without Jesus’s gift of the forgiveness of your sins through His Church?
It seems that many of us are beginning to see the COVID-19 virus epidemic as just another inevitable cause of death for which there is no convenient protection. We are weary of seeing the numbers of deaths from car accidents, cancer, random firearms assaults, heart attacks and other risks. So perhaps we will ignore the recommended steps we might take to avoid a particular cause of death.
However, and this is a highly significant point, we do not have to go to Hell! We all have to die, but there is no requirement to spend eternity in agony. As a matter of fact, God went to considerable effort to give us a method of spending eternity in Heaven with Him, rather than in Hell with Satan. Why not investigate Jesus Christ’s one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? If you are brave enough to face death, are you brave enough to face the possibility that you have not yet received Jesus’s most important gift?
John Larkins’ formal education includes a BS certified for science teaching, an MBA from the University of Missouri and an MPA from Jacksonville State University in public administration and environmental management.For the past 15 years, John evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.