I think one of the most powerful Christian tracts I ever read was one entitled “Goodnight or Goodbye”. It is a story about a man about to die who is spending his last moments of life on earth with his family at his side. One by one he speaks to them. I could relate the story paraphrasing it from my memory, but instead I will simply post it here exactly like the tract shares it.
“A devoted Christian business man was struck by an automobile and rushed to a hospital. He was informed by the doctors that he had only about two hours to live. He had implicit faith in the goodness of God and in His Word, so to him death was only a gateway leading to the glory of heaven and the presence of God. He had his family called to his side, and thus addressed them:—
“Goodnight, my dear Wife. You have been the greatest woman in the world to me. Through sunshine and shadow we have walked together. You have been my inspiration in everything I have undertaken, especially in my walk as a Christian. Many times I have seen the Spirit of God shining in your face. I love you far more than on the day you became my bride. Goodnight, dear; I’ll see you in the morning. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Mary. Mary, you are our firstborn. What a joy you have been to me! How glad I am that in face and spirit you have always reminded me of your mother. I see in you the sweet, beautiful, young woman who left her home to be the builder and keeper of mine. What a Christian you are, Mary! Never forget how your father loved you. Goodnight, Mary, goodnight.”
He then turned to his eldest son:
“Goodnight, Will. Will, your coming into our home has been an incredible blessing. You were a manly boy, and you have become an exemplary man. You love the God of your father. How proud I am of such a son! May you grow in every Christian grace and virtue. You have my love and blessing. Goodnight, Will, goodnight.”
Charlie was the next. Charlie had fallen under evil influences and grievously disappointed his father and mother. The dying man skipped him, and spoke to the youngest child, a beautiful young girl.
“Goodnight, Grace. Grace, your coming was like the breaking of a new day in our home. You have long been a song of gladness and a ray of light, filling our hearts with music. When you surrendered your life to Christ, my cup of happiness was filled to overflowing. Goodnight, my little Grace, goodnight.”
He then called Charlie to his side:
“Goodbye, Charlie. Charlie, what a promising boy you were. We believed you would develop into a great and noble man. We gave you all the opportunities we gave to the other children, but you have disappointed us. You have followed the broad and downward road. You have not heeded the warnings of God’s holy Word or hearkened to the call of the Saviour. But I have always loved you, and love you still, Charlie. God only knows how much I love you. Goodbye, Charlie, goodbye, goodbye.”
Charlie seized his father’s hand and between his sobs he cried out, “Father, why have you said ‘goodnight’ to the others and ‘goodbye’ to me?”
“For the simple reason that I will meet the others in heaven. But all the promises of God’s Word that assure us of a reunion also tell me I can have no hope of seeing you there. Goodbye, Charlie, goodbye!”
Charlie, realizing his lost condition, fell on his knees by his dying father’s bed and cried out to God in the agony of his soul, praying for the forgiveness of his sins and the hope of meeting his father again.
“Do you mean it, Charlie? Are you in earnest?”
“God knows I am,” said the brokenhearted young man.
“Then God has heard you and saved you, Charlie. It is goodnight and not goodbye. “Goodnight, my boy.” With this the father was gone into eternity.”
My eyes tear up just reading this story as it is so powerful and so true. There is no hope without Jesus Christ! Oh what a blessed Savior! I cannot keep silent. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! I am redeemed, I am redeemed! Praise the Lord! Redeemed by His infinite mercy! His child forever I am!
I hope to see you in the morning!
In 1967 the James Bond movie, You Only Live Twice, was released. I, like many others, have always been a James Bond movie fan. This has nothing to do with what I am writing about today other than the fact that the title of this article is very similar to the title of that movie. Obviously I used the word DIE in place of LIVE. There is no truth to You Only Live Twice ** but there certainly is truth to You Only Die Twice. How do I know? The bible tells me so. I don’t think anyone would argue that we all eventually die. No one has ever managed to escape it with two exceptions and even those two will die physically in God’s timing. God’s Word (the bible) tells us ” And just as it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27 Amplified Bible) Yes, we will all die and then face God in judgement. So that is one death. Upon judgement those who have never repented of their sin and come to Jesus Christ for His forgiveness and salvation He alone offers will face a SECOND DEATH. There are various passages of scripture which speak of this, but probably the most profound is in the book of Revelation. In Revelation 20:11-15 we read … “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Those who die in their sin will face Jesus Christ as their judge. This judgement is called the Great White Throne Judgement. As you can see experiencing this second death is not good news. It is, in fact, bad news … the worst! It is a horrific fate everybody faces if they ignore and reject God’s salvation He offers freely. It is called death but it is not death at all … not as we understand death. Actually it is eternal life where one will experience a horrific fate in the Lake of Fire where they will be tormented and in anguish forever. They w ill wish they would die and end this punishment for their sin.
There is good news however … “JESUS SAVES!”
“Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” – Revelation 20:6
Those who have turned to Jesus Christ in repentance and received the eternal life He offers will not face the Great White Throne Judgement. Instead they will face a different judgement known as the Believer’s Judgement.
So we all have a choice. We can choose door number one or door number two … to say it is modern day vernacular (game show style). But this is no game. It could not be more serious! We will either face God in judgement on our own and find ourselves in deep doo doo as we will have to pay the penalty of our sin … or we can repent and call upon the Name of Jesus Who suffered and died in our place so that we would not have to face this horrific penalty for our sin. Jesus will not only be our Savior but He will be our Advocate (our defense attorney) representing us before God the Father as the charges against us are read. Those who have rejected Christ as Savior are on their own and will have no defense. And they will have no excuse which is acceptable. We have been warned!
What will you do with Jesus?
** I said that there is no truth to You Only Live Twice. What I mean by that is there is no such thing as reincarnation. We are born and die physically one time. There is, however, the matter of being born spiritually … born again … which some call a second birth. Truly those who are born again have a New Life in Christ. Never the less, we are still living only one life (one physical birth) and facing at least one death. Most will face this second death I am writing about.