Robert C. Oliver Contributing columnist
August 30, 2013
Speaking generally, there are only two classes of people, the saved and the lost. However, there are what one might call sub-classes of these. For instance when speaking of the lost, there are those who are lost who do not know it and those who are lost and know that they are lost. Among those who are lost and know they are lost, yet another division can be made. Those who don’t care that they are lost and those who do care. What we are doing is gradually getting down to a specific group of people that we wish to consider. There are many in this world who realize the truth of God’s word, the necessity of obedience to the will of God in order to have eternal life, who know they need to make some changes in order to have that home in heaven in the end and even intend to make those changes, but they keep putting it off. Procrastination is a dangerous thing. Even in the carnal realm, often procrastination is harmful. The person who puts off going to the dentist with what is at the beginning a small cavity ends up loosing the entire tooth because of procrastination. The person with some pain or other problem who puts off going to the doctor to get it checked out only to end up with cancer spread beyond treatment. Other such examples can easily be seen, but the most dangerous procrastination imaginable to man is to put off acceptance of and obedience to the God of heaven. Let us note three great dangers involved in this procrastination.
The first danger of procrastination concerning obeying God is that we do not know when we shall die. It is true that occasionally one will be told by a doctor that they have a specified amount of time to live, but generally speaking, we do not know when we shall die. Experience has shown that both young and old can die unexpectedly. Accidents, sickness and violence result in people who had no idea at all that they would die that day departing this life. James said, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14). Solomon said, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1). And, don’t forget the rich man who was building all the bigger barns and was told by the Lord, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20). Let’s face it, once death has claimed us, all opportunities to obey the Lord will have expired.
The second great danger of procrastination concerning obeying God is that we do not know when the Lord will return. Though there be many so-called men of God attempting to show the date that the Lord will return, God tells us quite clearly that we can not know when that event will occur. Jesus said concerning that day, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt. 24:36). Just a few verses later He states, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matt. 24:42). The parable of the ten virgins follows, not only showing the inability of man to know the when, but also what happens to he who has procrastinated. He concludes that parable with, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 25:13). The Lord will come as a thief in the night (I Thess. 5:2; II Pet. 3:10). Jesus came as Saviour, but when He comes again, He will come as Judge (II Thess. 1:7-9; Acts 17:31; II Cor. 5:10). So long as we are alive, and until the Lord returns, we are free to come and become children of God. But, at the point of death, or the point in time when the Lord returns, such opportunity has expired.
There is yet one more great danger to procrastination concerning obeying God. This one is often overlooked. It is the danger of hard heartedness. Since the heart of man must be actively involved in one becoming a child of God and faithfully serving Him (Matt. 22:37; Rom. 6:17-18; Luke 8:15), it is deadly to one’s soul to allow their heart to become hard. Yet, the Hebrew writer warns, “exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13). In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, he describes some “Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Eph. 4:19). Their hearts had become numb, no feeling, dead! And, Paul foretold the day when many would “depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy” (Tim. 4:1-2). Note that in this process their conscience has bee seared with a hot iron (I Tim. 4:2). Sin has cauterized their heart!
Paul said, “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor 6:2). There can never be a better time to obey God than the present, and in fact, the present may be our last opportunity.
(Editor’s note: Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)