Sometime in June, I shared with us how life alarms go off to remind us of the realities of life and to keep the proper perspective in life. One of such alarms is death (of a close friend/relative), natural disasters, personal near death experiences and if I may add, whole number birthdays (30, 40, 50, 60… you get the drift). My own birthday comes up in a few weeks (*hint, hint) and I am quite taken up with assessing my life from the last birthday to now. I’m asking, “Have I just added a year without significantly improving the quality of my life in God’s perspective”? It is a sobering thought.
|There is 'time' after 'time'. Pix from www.thinkpoint.wordpress.com|
How did I go from yapping about Christian community to this? Well, Governor Philip died. I don’t think you know him but here is a bit: Philip was our faculty governor during my post graduate studies. Philip was a great guy. He was uber-cool, friendly without being a clown, warm towards everyone, knew us all by name and he would try to say a good word to individuals from time to time. He was a true leader. The departmental class governor was another story entirely but that’s for another day.
If good works and stewardship only are the basis of spending eternity with God, Philip has a VIP ticket and a chauffeur-driven limo ride on the streets of gold. However, that is not how it works. I don’t know if Philip was a believer but with all my heart, I hope he was. I sincerely do. I desperately do. I was so desperate that when I got the text announcing his death, I started praying for his soul-until it struck me, isn’t this rather late?
It led me to do some reading about life after death and related issues. I discovered that Catholics believe in a state/place called purgatory. This I understand is a temporal state after death from where sufficient prayers by living human beings can help propel a person to heaven. It is a sort of second chance after death.
Well, I don’t know. The concept is entirely new to me and I can’t say that I have seen anything like that in the Bible. The scriptural backup I saw for the existence of the purgatory are in the book of Maccabeus (which is not in my version of the Bible). There is also the thought that when Apostle Paul prayed for Onesiphorus here, the brother was already dead.
It sounds like a comforting idea to people who are mourning a loss but I don't believe that this concept is true. I have never been to the other side of life but my Bible says here that it is appointed for man to die once, and after that, judgement.
I do not intend to get into a debate on purgatory and other things that are still mysteries to me, but here is the bottom line: we have some really nice unsaved around us- at work, in the neighbourhood, our families and even in church. Are we going to wait till they die so we can pray for them? Wait till they enter purgatory? How much prayer is sufficient to move a person from purgatory to Heaven? 2hours? 4hours? 12 hours? If it requires 12 hours but one person is only able to garner a total of 11 and half hours, does the person get a third chance or do they get yanked off the list? At this point, is their soul doomed?
Many things that we won’t know until Jesus returns but this we know: that anyone who calls on the Name of Jesus now, will be saved, other scriptural references are here, here and here.
We are mortals bound by time. Like an examination, one day, either by death or the Second Coming of Christ, the examiner will say “time up!” After then, it wouldn’t matter that we still have a few brilliant answers to put down, it wouldn’t matter that you studied hard but blanked out 1 hour into the test. When the time is up, it is up. There is nothing left to be said.
So I ask myself today, do I want to leave my life to chance? Do I want to wait till I get to purgatory and hope that my grieved loved ones will pause from crying to devout enough prayer to get me in? Why don’t I fix it here and now with this simple heartfelt prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to you today, believing in your miraculous birth, your death and your resurrection. I believe you died for my sins and you said whosoever comes to you, you will not cast away. This day, I confess my sins to you and I repent of them. Please forgive me, wash me clean with your blood. Make me a new creation in you, write my name in the book of life. Save me O Lord. I believe You have heard me. Thank you for saving me and for helping me grow in you. Amen.
My sincere desire and prayer is that we will lean on the Grace of Jesus that it may keep us in the Faith until His appearing. Help us Lord Jesus. Help us. Amen.
Did I get the concept of purgatory wrong? Did I misrepresent what it truly means? It is pretty new to me. Please leave a comment and share your scriptural thoughts on this issue.