How many times have you received an announcement with the bold letters, IMPORTANT? It's meant to catch your attention, but, of course, the sender has determined its importance. Eventually you decide if the message is important to you.
"IMPORTANT" Here is a very straightforward but simple message from the Bible: "Prepare to meet thy God" (Amos 4:12). Three relevant facts should make it important to you. First, you are ultimately accountable to God; all must "meet God." Paul preached in Acts 17:30, 31, "God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because He hath appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness." Second, this important message confronts you as an individual; you must meet "thy God." For those who choose to do so, putting God out of their mind doesn't alter the fact that He has created all things and gives each of us "life, and breath, and all things" (Acts 17:25). The Bible's statement is striking: He is the God "with Whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13). Third, God's message tells us we need to "prepare." Sin in our nature and sins we have chosen to commit are the reason we come short of God's holy requirement (Romans 3:23); we are not acceptable as we are.
"APPROVED" Facing these biblical facts should bring us to the conclusion that the forgiveness of our sins is our greatest need. For centuries, capable minds have asked, "Can our sins be forgiven? Can we be sure that God accepts us and will stamp our preparation 'approved'?" God has provided exactly what we need in order to be prepared to meet Him. Paul preached concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, "through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified" (made right before God) (Acts 13:38, 39). The Lord Jesus died on the cross, suffering for sins. Only through this sacrifice will God forgive sins. Because He loves us, the Lord Jesus gave His life to pay all that God required for the debt of our sins. Raising Him from the dead, God assured the world that Christ's payment for sins was accepted - approved. All who trust this Savior have God's promise that He accepts them. They are approved because God approves of the sacrifice Christ paid for them. Have you ever admitted to God that you need forgiveness? Have you, as a sinner, discovered that the death of Christ was a complete payment for your sins? Have you simply received Him as your personal Savior? Are you prepared to meet God? "Urgent" You have likely received mail or a notice marked,
"URGENT!" The obvious intent was to prompt you to action as soon as possible. God's important message requires an even greater urgency. The time to prepare for an inevitable meeting with God is now. "Behold now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor 6:2). Nothing that happens after death can prepare a person to meet God. The fragile moments of life are our time of opportunity. Today, God offers you the opportunity to be forgiven and thus saved from meeting Him unprepared. In our lifetime, we have had many reminders of the truth expressed in this ancient Bible verse, "Thou knowest not what a day may bring forth" (Proverbs 27:1). Mentioning only one date, September 11, 2001, is sufficient to impress us with the urgency of God's message.
"PERSONAL" Normally, a message marked "personal" is for you only. God intends you to respond to His important message as though it were for you alone. You will have a personal meeting with God eventually. Preparing for that meeting is a personal matter between you and God. No religious leader, valued friend, or family member can prepare you. Receiving Christ as your Savior is your personal responsibility. By taking God's message personally, you can know that you are forgiven and prepared to meet God. From the first century, Christians have had this blessing through Christ, "In Whom we have . . . the forgiveness of sins . . . In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard . . . the gospel of your salvation" (Ephesians 1:7, 11). Will you trust Him today? "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (John 3:36).