“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian”. Acts 26:28
King Agrippa’s comment to Paul is the only time in the New Testament that anyone said to a disciple that they were almost persuaded to become a Christian. These eight words give a sad testimony to King Agrippa and yet, many people say this today, nearly word for word. It is a frightening thought to me to see or hear someone say that because the punishment for those who have rejected God‘s offer of salvation is spiritual death, eternal separation from God!
God loves all of us and yet we, in our own ignorance, tell lies, we cheat, we commit all kinds of sinful acts daily which cut us off from communication with Him even now. He can’t and won’t hear us when we have become defiled by the world and the things in it that draw us away from Him. In many people’s eyes, the things which come between us and God on a daily basis doesn’t matter in the here and now. But, just for a moment, think about this: we are going to be in eternity whether we are in heaven or hell!
True, what you say or do on a daily basis may not hurt anyone right now but if you are the one saying something hurtful or out of character for a true Christian, who is it hurting? You in the long run, because you are going to pay for it by losing something which you would have gained in eternity! It also may hurt someone who hears what you say or sees what you did. Your witness as a Christian is visible to those around you all the time, especially your family but also your students, your friends and co-workers. Every word and deed, small or large will have an impact on your life now and in eternity and it will have an impact on someone else’s life too!
Being “almost” a Christian is like not being one at all! Any little misstep that you make in front of someone, regardless of who it may be, can be eternally damaging. That is why we have to crucify our “self”, the person who wants to say what they always said or do the things that they have always done; it has to be done daily because if you don’t stop that “old you” from showing up, it will happen again and again until no one will be able to tell if you ever changed or not!
Jesus was ordained to follow the path that He did from the beginning. It was not as a result of what happened in Eden, God knew it was going to happen. and we were purchased with His blood, every person from that point until the last person on earth is born and chooses to follow Christ or not. They and we are all forgiven, it only matters who decides to choose and which choice is made, whether to follow Christ as your Savior or not. That is the only choice which really makes a difference in your life now and in eternity!
What about those people who have not accepted Jesus as their savior, do they have to follow the same rules as we do? Actually, they don’t because they are not bound to any commitment to Jesus. They are free to do as they please. Many people would comment that that is unfair but how is it unfair? Being bound to Jesus is a choice, a choice that we make as Christians, while the same is also true about people who have chosen not to follow Christ. They have chosen to be committed to their own beliefs and moral codes, regardless of the eternal consequences.
Their choice is for their immediate satisfaction, right now and they choose not to worry about eternity until it gets here, if it ever does. Now, we know that eternity is true because Jesus spoke of it in the Bible, by many who do not believe don’t think that there is anything beyond this life. Many who do not follow Jesus, don’t come to church and even if they do, they don’t believe what the Bible says so they don’t “listen” to what they hear in church anyway. Their ears heard it but they choose not to listen, yet when they cross through the door of death and find their judgment waiting for them, it is too late to decide then.
What can we do for our loved ones if they are un-decided about their Christian life or whether they will even follow Christ? Pray for them, witness to them, answer their questions, bring them to church with you. After all of this and they are still un-decided, pray for them some more, but don’t push because other than prayer will seem as if you are doing just that, pushing. Many people don’t like “pushy Christians” and they will put even more distance between themselves and you and Jesus! At this point, the seeds have been planted so let God grow them. The Holy Spirit will take over as the gardener and it is out of your hands.