Living away from home most of the time, and not owning yet my own car, I had hundreds of experiences riding a bus every time I come home for a break. I always take night trips because it’s less stressful than day trips and it’s also easier for me to sleep along the way.
But there were many times before that I end up being upset towards the bus drivers. Just because it’s night time and there are less vehicles on the road, that doesn’t mean they have the right to drive it too fast and act as if they’re stars on an action movie where cars are sometimes on speedy chase.
But those moments brought me to great moments of doubt. What if on the middle of this road we will encounter an accident? What if I’ll die then? Will I go to heaven after that?
I wasn’t a Christian during those times (or maybe I thought I’m already a Christian but people can’t see it in my actions). Ask me then if I’m sure to spend eternity in heaven, I’d completely answer you with ‘I don’t know’. I was just a church goer, but someone who lacks love for God and His Word. I flooded myself with thoughts that maybe if I will play as someone ‘good’ here on earth, I’ll make it to heaven. My perception of salvation then was a heresy –a complete contradiction of salvation through faith alone. It was only by God’s grace that I didn’t stay on that state.
My fear of dying on those moments moved me into numerous repentance to God. All I was scared about is maybe I will make it to hell if I won’t repent. But, sadly, after those trips, I’d be back to the old me who loves hating people and live again a messy and sinful life. That was no repentance at all.
Just like the bus rides I experienced, there are moments in our lives that we fear death or worry what is ahead of us. We fear leaving this world and the pleasure it gives. We more like hopping from cloud to cloud of our dreams than seeing our Savior face to face. We don’t want to end our lives easily without achieving what we desire and leave a mark in this world that the next generations will remember. But those moments are nothing but selfish ones. Those moments come from a vile heart who knows God but denies Him. A heart that fears death but not what can God do to human beings.
When we realize that we don’t want to die, and we know so well we’d go to hell for what we’ve done in our lives, we sometimes drive ourselves to shallow repentance, but no grieving to desire a new self; no mourning over the life we’ve lived. You just want to have an assurance of entering heaven without desiring a changed live.
But true repentance isn’t just about being ‘sorry’ and then do those things again. True repentance bears a new life who fears God and having a heart that is willing to walk in the counsel of His will. True repentance mourns over human’s sinfulness not just during scary moments but every single day.
I was never converted on those moments. It was more of a slow-mo and dramatic kind of conversion for me. More of a process-like conversion where God’s Word was the main reason why I’ve truly believed. He opened my eyes to show how sinful, selfish, messed-up I was. By His grace, I was convicted that I need to change –to give my all to the One who holds my life. God opened my eyes to the reality that He owns my life and He has the right to become my Master.
You can never experience true repentance out of fear of death in a suspense moment of your life. You cannot experience true repentance without seeing the great wall of pride you have in your heart that needs to be torn down. You can never experience salvation without letting go of your sinful life. It all starts in letting go of yourself and what this world gives you and obediently follow God no matter what happens.
Although we are not saved by good works, we are saved for good works. After your repentance, a changed life should follow. It may not be as speedy as a rocket ride to outer space, but that changed life should always be seen every single day. Sanctification from glory to glory should be visible in every repentant heart. Your heart will love to abide in God’s Word everyday.
You cannot be truly sorry of something and still consciously do it the next time. Yes, we sometimes fail but that’s not an excuse for us to mess up again. You cannot be in God’s kingdom but still desire darkness. You can’t be a servant of both worlds.
You’re fortunate if God has given you many chances to live your life again after numerous dealings He had with you. But when you realize you need to change, don’t waste that time and postpone living a godly life. Start it then and there. Make your repentance as a visible one. Don’t be driven by fear of death in your everyday repentance but be driven by your desire to please and love God.
I do still travel and visit new places alone. In fact, my latest bus ride was another speedy one but this time I had no worries. If I did die from that reckless driving, I know I’d see My Savior and He will welcome me in His kingdom.
How sure I am? I’m already justified; saved without a doubt by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). And He will not cast away those who will believe in Him.
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. -John 6:37
And death? Jesus Christ overcome it. There’s no more death to fear. No more speedy bus ride to be worried about. No more fear for what is to come or how I will die. Death can’t separate me for His love and that’s all that matters. 🙂
Repent and Believe (Mark 1:15). Ask and you will receive; Knock at it will be opened for you (Mark 7:7-8). Fear God and not death.
God bless you, reader.
All glory belongs to God alone.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:31-39