While studying through the Book of Acts recently, an old, familiar question came to mind: Did Saul ever meet the Lord personally prior to his conversion? He says nothing of it, so, as a matter of conjecture, I don’t think he did. However, because Saul was a self-proclaimed defender of the Jewish faith and defended it zealously to the death, I think it’s highly likely that Saul saw the Lord and heard Him speak on occasion in Jerusalem prior to His crucifixion. As adamantly opposed as Saul was to the followers of Jesus, I personally think, again as a matter of conjecture, that Saul was present at Jesus’ trial and was numbered among those who called for His death and crucifixion. It is inconceivable for me to think otherwise.

Be that as it may, Saul was so totally convinced that he was right: Jesus of Nazareth was definitely not the promised Messiah; He was a deceiver who threatened to lead the entire Jewish nation away from the teachings and traditions of Israel’s esteemed rabbis; Jesus, His teachings, and His followers needed to be eradicated and stamped out!

But all this changed one day on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Saul “met” the Lord personally, believed in Him, and went on to become the leading evangelist and apologist of the very Church that he once sought to kill and destroy. Meeting the Lord personally changed his entire belief system. It changed his vocation from devoted Pharisee to devoted Christian. It changed his life forever.

Meeting the Lord personally has this drastic, life-changing impact as many of us can testify. Let me hasten to say that not every one who meets the Lord personally believes in Him. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day is ample proof of this tragic fact. But for those of us who are ordained unto eternal life, an encounter with the living Christ changed us forever. And it’s still changing us to this day. The point I’m trying to make, based on Saul’s conversion, is this. (Remember that I’m only talking about those who are preordained by God to eternal life.) WHEN YOU MEET THE LORD YOU BECOME A CHANGED PERSON. YOU BECOME A BELIEVER. You espouse the Person, doctrines, and lifestyle that you once hated, rejected, and opposed. Your Damascus Road becomes the beginning of a changed life.

In a sort of way, EVERYONE WHO MEETS THE LORD BECOMES A BELIEVER. Hear me out because I’m not being contradictory or heretical here. James 2:16 reads, Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. The Devil and his demons believe many truths that countless humans reject. They believe in God. They believe Jesus is the Son of God. They know that salvation is found only in Christ. They know the Bible’s true. And more. But for all their knowing and believing, the Devil and his demons aren’t saved because they’ve chosen to reject the very Person they believe. So, in a manner of speaking, the Devil and his demons are believers, but damned believers because of their rejection of Christ.

Like the Devil and his demons, every human being at the moment of death and continuing endlessly to the Day of Judgment and Eternal Punishment, becomes a believer. They finally meet the Lord face to face and realize, all too late, that what the Bible says is true after all. There is only one true God and one true, saving religion. Jesus is the Son of God. He is the only way to God and Heaven. There is a Heaven and there is a Hell. There is life after death. There is eternal torment and suffering in store for all those who refuse to believe in Jesus and who live defiantly and disobediently to the moral precepts of God’s Word. In a word, AT THE MOMENT OF DEATH AND ETERNALLY THEREAFTER, THE LOST AND THE UNSAVED BECOME BELIEVERS…BUT BELIEVERS TOO LATE. They refused to become believers while alive on the Earth. And so, as a Divine consequence, they become damned believers for all eternity in Hell and the Lake of Fire.

Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus is sobering proof of this sad and profound truth. The parable is found in Luke 16:19-31 if you’d like to read it. I encourage you to read it. It’s convincing proof of my contention that all men will eventually become believers. Some believe before they die and henceforth live forever with the Lord, even after death. And some believe after they die and henceforth live damned and tormented forever after. But this one thing is sure: THERE ARE NO ATHEISTS OR AGNOSTICS IN HELL. FORMER ATHEISTS AND AGNOSTICS, YES. BUT IN HELL THEY ARE NOW BELIEVERS. BUT BELIEVERS TOO LATE.

Seeing therefore that all of us will, sooner or later, eventually, become believers; the goal is to become believers now—while we’re alive—lest we die in unbelief and become believers too late. Hell is a million times more hellish than you can imagine. It is your absolute worst nightmare, only a million times multiplied. Take the worst pain you’ve ever felt, multiply it a million times, and you’ll have just a faint notion of what the suffering in  Hell is like. It’ll definitely be worse than that once you get there. Hell is irreversible. There is no way out. I do not wish this fate for anyone. If you don’t believe in Jesus right now, please reverse course and give your life to Him while you have a chance to do so. Mark my word. You’ll end up believing Him anyway. But if you wait too long to believe, then, after you die, you will be a believer too late. A damned believer. Friend, don’t let this tragic fate be yours.

1 Comment

  1. Nancy Ludden said,

    August 1, 2010 at 4:56 AM

    Amen, Brother!

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