Pondering Paradise Lost

PARADISE, CA – “Workers fanned out across the cinders, looking for those who didn’t escape the inferno that transformed this town into a wasteland.” That was the lead-in of a Daily Beast article about the California wildfire that destroyed the town of Paradise, California.

If any of us had been in Paradise prior to the fire and known the way to escape, we would have warned others and shown them the way. Not everyone would have listened, but some would have.

The fire came upon the people so quickly that there was barely time for fortunate few to escape. As of November 19, 2018, 80 people are known dead and nearly 1,000 are missing in a fire that burned acreage at the rate of 80 football fields per minute. The fire moved so quickly that numbers of people were burnt alive in the cars trying to escape.

We may eventually learn that more than 1,000 people died in the fire because no one had been able to warn them or rescue them before it was too late.

The scenario reminds me that Scripture says a day is coming when sudden destruction will come “and they shall not escape.” (See I Thessalonians 5:3)

How many people would have survived if only someone had warned them and showed them the way to escape the fire?

One of our greatest responsibilities as Christians is to make others aware of the impending danger of missing Paradise and being lost for eternity. We are the only ones who know the way of escape. We must get to the people before they are lost in the fire of eternal judgment.

There are three kinds of people who need our help.

Those who are unaware of the danger.

These people are unaware of God’s Word that tells us of our sin, His righteousness, and judgment to come because of our sin. (See John 16:8) We refer to these people as “the unreached.” They need to be made aware of the danger and be shown the way to escape.

Those who see no way to escape.

These people face each day without hope. They don’t see any way out of their present condition. Many are in bondage to false teachings of their cultural or religious traditions that place an unbearable and unachievable burden of good works on their shoulders to escape judgment. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Those who are not concerned about the danger.

These people think they can ignore the approaching danger. They believe they are righteous enough in their own right that they will suffer no harm. These people need to know that there is no way to escape if we neglect so great salvation as is found only in Jesus. (See Titus 3:5 and Hebrews 2:3)

We are God’s chosen messengers to warn the unreached, the hopeless, and the unconcerned. We are the ones the Lord has sent to make people aware of the danger, to show them that Jesus Christ is the only way of escape and that only Jesus’ righteousness is sufficient for our survival and eternal salvation.

If any of us had been in Paradise prior to the fire and known the way to escape, we would have warned others and shown them the way. Not everyone would have listened, but some would have.

We cannot convince everyone but that is the Holy Spirit’s job. Ours is to explain the danger, point them to the way, and lead them to the safety and security that is available through faith in Jesus Christ.

There are millions in South Asia, Gospel for Asia’s geographical ministry area, who are unaware, unable to see a way of escape, or unconcerned. Please pray for our field partners as they reach out to people to lead them away from the sure and certain danger to the sure and certain hope that is in Jesus Christ.

Let us commit today to bring the Good News to the unaware, the unable to see, and the unconcerned who are numbered among our own family, friends, and neighbors.

To read more news on the Unreached around the world on Missions Box, go here.

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