From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: If the ultimate purpose of salvation is to be with Jesus Christ eternally, why does He leave us on this earth? — E.P.
A: For those who follow Jesus Christ as believers in the eternal hope that He gives, our ultimate destination is where Jesus is — Heaven. But He has chosen in His sovereignty that we remain on earth for a time to be His light in a dark world. Just as the light of His Gospel has driven truth into the hearts of believers, so He intends to use us to shine His light to others who have not yet found Him as Lord and Savior. What an opportunity He gives to us to proclaim His name and be a witness of His grace, mercy and love.
If God took us immediately into eternity to spare us all the problems and heartaches of this life, we’d never again have to experience worry or sorrow or suffering, and all the burdens and temptations that trouble us now would vanish. So why are we left here for a time? The reason is simple: God still has work for us to do right here. Heaven is our goal, but until that final moment when He takes us home to Himself, God has a purpose in keeping us here.
Earth isn’t just Heaven’s waiting room where we sit around doing nothing; earth is the stage on which the drama of the ages is being played out. It is the demonstration of Christ’s victory over sin and death and hell and Satan. And no matter who we are, we have a God-given role to play in that divine drama. “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8, ESV).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
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