How many times have you seen people write “RIP” after someone dies? We see it all the time. This means either rest in peace, or rest in paradise. It is a nice sentiment, I suppose, but it kind of bothers me.
If we truly want to rest in peace or in paradise when we die, or if we want that for someone else, it requires action while we are living. Once we are gone, there is nothing that can change our eternal destination. My Bible teaches that once you are deceased, all your opportunities are gone. You have two choices, and two choices only. You are either going to heaven, or, sadly, you are going to hell. That is it. That is all. Only two choices.
People say a loving God would never send anyone to hell, and don’t we teach that our God is a God of love? Both of these statements are true. God truly is a God of love and grace and forgiveness and compassion. Very true. And those who say God would never send anyone to hell are also exactly right. God does not send anyone to hell. But, when we refuse His offer of salvation and eternal life with Him, we choose hell. He does not want us to go there. He wants all of us to live eternally with Him. It breaks His heart to see people die without knowing Him and accepting the free gift of salvation.
In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter writes about the Savior, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
What he is saying here is that our God truly is a loving God. He really does not want anyone to die without knowing Him. He gives us free choice and allows us the option of choosing to follow Him. He is no dictator, but has does have one mandate. That mandate is accept His free gift of salvation if you want to live eternally with Him. If you choose not to follow this mandate, then you are choosing hell. It really is that simple.
If you want to rest in peace or paradise, then you must choose Jesus. Today, ask Him to come and live in your life. Ask Him to forgive your sins. Tell Him that you truly do want to live your life with Him and for Him. That is all it takes. Oh, He knows you will mess up, that is why His gift of forgiveness is available every second of every day. He offers you grace. He offers you a life of peace, even when everything is going wrong around you. He offers you that true rest in His promise that He will always be with you, and that He will one day take you home to live with Him.
It is great to think about resting in peace, but the gift for now is to live in peace, knowing that your salvation is secure and that you will one day live eternally with the Savior in paradise.
Give your heart to Him today, if you haven’t already. It will make a difference for all eternity. But it will also make a difference today, while you still live. Trust Him with your life and your eternity. Make sure your loved ones all know the Savior. He wants no one to die without knowing Him, and neither do I. Trust Him today.
It will make the greatest difference!
By Gina Caswell Kelly