We regret to inform you . . .” are the words that no parent or loved one wants to hear. Often times such words are followed by tragic and terrible news such as the injury or death of someone who is dear to us. Thirty-two times like words were spoken this past week to parents and relatives of the students who died at Virginia Tech. Many more times have such words been spoken to the loved ones of our brave soldiers fighting terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. More words still are spoken by police to families of those who have died in auto accidents. (Our prayers are with them all.) In an information driven society, those words echo around us 365 days a year.

As tragic as such words are, there are yet sadder and more tragic words. In Matthew 7:23 Jesus says to those who failed to honor His Lordship, “I never knew you; depart from me . . . .” How tragic will such words be for those expecting to be with Jesus in eternity when they will not. Here are those who supposed they were Christians, but they were not. They failed to adequately “prove all things” and “test the spirits” and ended up being deceived and for their error. Eternally lost! Tragic!

Matthew 25:41 records similar words. Jesus speaks to some who failed to serve him appropriately. His words: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels.” When Jesus words are so readily available for us to follow, how sad that such will be said to those who failed to live according His standards! Tragic!

There is yet a more tragic situation. Consider Peter’s words in 2 Peter 2:20: “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state is become worse with them than the first.” Here is one who knew the truth, who lived according to it, who served the Lord and knew the blessings of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 6:4-6), yet chose to abandon these things and return to worldliness. Their last state will be worse than their first. If there is one thing more tragic than being lost, it is having been lost, saved, and returning to being lost yet again. Tragic!

Friends, such things don’t have to be! Spiritual tragedy can be averted. We can do something to prevent such from happening. Sinners must accept the Lord’s terms of pardon. How? Through hearing the gospel (Romans 10:17), believing it (Hebrews 11:6), repenting of sins (Acts 17:30), confessing Christ (1 Timothy 6:12), and being baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16, Galatians 3:27, 1 Peter 3:21). The erring Christian must repent, pray to God and ask others to pray for him (Acts 8:22-24). The faithful Christian must take the word of God to others (Acts 8:4) and let them know of their hope (1 Peter 3:15). We may not be able to avoid a tragic ending in this life, but we CAN avoid one in the next. Let us do what we must to be right with God and live with Him forever.

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