'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' Luke 16:30
I have been told, although I can’t prove it, that after a Christian evangelism crusade in Australia, a lady sent a letter to the editor of a Melbourne newspaper. This is what I was told she said: “I am heartily sick of the type of religion that insists my soul (and everyone else’s) needs saving—whatever that means. I have never felt that I was lost, nor do I feel that I wallow in the mire of sin … Give me practical religion that teaches gentleness and kindness and acknowledges no barriers of color or creed, that remembers the aged, and teaches children about goodness and not about sin. If, in order to save my soul, I must accept such a philosophy as I have recently heard preached, I prefer to remain forever damned.”
When I first heard those words, especially the last sentence, I debated whether this person was extraordinarily foolish or just hadn’t spent any time thinking about what she was writing. I couldn’t believe she had spent any time considering the eternal impact of her words! With one sentence, she had denied the seriousness of sin, denied the damnation which is a direct consequence of disbelief, and minimized the redemption for which Christ had come. Her creed for salvation was: "I'm pretty good and God should be pretty glad." I doubt if she would change her mind, even if someone came back from the dead.
That’s a thought, isn’t it? Whose word about the afterlife would be more impressive than someone who came back from the dead? Which, of course, is exactly what God has done. So that all vestige of doubt might be removed, God has brought back from the dead His own Son, Jesus. Crucified on the cross of Calvary, His heart pierced by a Roman spear, Jesus died. But Jesus also arose again to life. Three days after they placed Him in His tomb, He came out of that grave and showed to the doubters and deniers that their redemption was complete.
Since that day, the Christ has continued to reach out to those who, knowing their souls need saving, come to Him with a repentant heart. He has saved hundreds of millions who were lost and washed those who were mired by sin. I pray that you, unlike the woman from Australia, may know how much you need Him and rejoice in how much He has done for you.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on October 10, 2004
THE PRAYER: Gracious God, You are the giver of all good things. Open my eyes to all of your blessings today, so that my heart may overflow with thanksgiving. I rejoice in all that You have done for me. Amen.