Read: Genesis 7; 2 Peter 3:1-13; Luke 23:39-43; Acts 24:24-27
There is a new one pretty much every day in the e-mail. The offers differ from day to day, but I know that the on-line plant and bulb vendor will hold out yet another lovely combination of plants even after I have passed up my last chance to purchase something today. The truth is that the offers are enticing, but I look at them and generally delete the e-mails because another opportunity to purchase will arrive and just maybe, I'll say yes, another time. Isn't it fun to have pretty much unlimited chances to buy just the right item at just the right time?
Even so, the Bible warns us all that there is an offer of the utmost importance that is held out for a limited time, and once it is withdrawn, there will be no more chances to receive this most precious of Gifts. Unlike not purchasing bulbs which makes no difference in the long run, passing on God's offer of salvation, John 3:16, brings the most dire of consequences, Revelation 20:11-15.
With this in mind, let's look at the certainty that God's offer will not be held out forever and how people reacted when they were given the chance to receive His most precious Gift. In 2 Peter 3:1-13, the old apostle gave a strong message to God's people. He said that in the last days, there would be scoffers who would mock the truth of scripture. And what did they mock? They said that God had not brought judgment upon the world through a flood. They said that it would always be business as usual and laughed at the thought of Jesus coming back. In essence what they were saying is that there will always be another tomorrow, and it will look much like today.
To refute this lie, Peter reminded his readers that judgment had come and that God had indeed judged the world through a flood. Peter was affirming the veracity of the account we read in Genesis, something that Jesus also did, Luke 17:26-27. In Genesis 7, we read about God's offer of grace which Noah and his family received and the rest of the people rejected. In Genesis 7:16, we read the heartbreaking truth that the offer of safety had been withdrawn when God closed Noah and his loved ones safely inside the ark. The act of closing the door was performed by God. He alone set the time when the offer of grace came to an end for those who were living on the earth. Peter and Jesus want everyone to know that although the earth will never undergo a flood of worldwide proportions, a time of judgment is as certain as the devastating flood was. Only God knows when that will occur, a truth also affirmed by Paul, Acts 17:30-31.
In Acts 24:24-27, we read about Felix. Okay, I can't hear that name without the little cartoon song about Felix the wonderful cat getting into a fix and reaching into his bag of tricks. Yes, I know that I'm showing my age :-). Anyway, the biblical Felix was given a grand opportunity as he listened to Paul. The governor even liked listening to the Pharisee turned bond-servant of Jesus. Yet, Felix's reaction shows a lack of urgency on his part to decide one way or another about what he heard. The governor was more interested in receiving a bribe than he was in acting on the truth that he had heard. It makes me think of Jesus' parable of the sower and how the deceitfulness of riches steals away the word from the one who hears. As far as we can humanly know, Felix never found the time to benefit from the truth that came no further than his ears.
In Luke 23:39-43, we read about two men's stories. At the last and most important day of each of their lives. One goes on to unending joy, and the other chooses unending sorrow and regret. Matthew tells us that at first, both the criminals who were crucified with Jesus mocked Him, but as death for each of them came near, one of the criminals had a true change of heart. He repented of his ways and sought to be with the Lord. Both of these men heard the Savior as He cried out to the Father to grant forgiveness, but only one took hold of the opportunity to be with Jesus in Paradise. The other man missed it, and sadly, when he drew his last breath, there were no more chances, Hebrews 9:27. There would be no more chances on any of his tomorrows; however, that is not true for anyone who is alive right now.
Those who have already said yes to Jesus can still hold out His offer of grace, and anyone who has thus far said no or has put off receiving Jesus, can still do so, John 1:12-13; 2 Peter 3:9. By God's grace, may this be the day when lives are changed because today is the day of salvation, Hebrews 4:7. No waiting until tomorrow which might or might not come.