For he says,
“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:2 (ESV)
In the 80s I was attended the Hiding Place Church that met at a middle school next to the Mormon Temple on Santa Monica Boulevard in West LA. A humble fellowship in the shadow of the proud Mormon showpiece. I met a middle-aged woman there who was on fire for the Lord. She was not ashamed of the Gospel, and was a personal evangelist working on the streets of Hollywood with those who the Lord appointed for her to meet. She told me about a neighbor of hers in her apartment building in Hollywood. He was a very bright young man in his thirties, she said, who was working in a business where he had great opportunity for material success, he told her. One night she had the opportunity to share the gospel with him, declaring to him that Jesus died for his sins and rose again, and is alive and ready to save him from his sins, and give him the gift of life eternal, if he will only call on the name of the Lord, repent and ask forgiveness and let Jesus be his Lord and savior.
She told me that he listened intently, and told her that he believed what she said. He believed that he needed to be saved, and that he wanted to have life after death in heaven. But, he told her, he was not ready to give his life up. He wanted to be rich, and he wanted to be able to enjoy the worldly pleasures now. He said that once he has success, he will get saved.
She was disappointed for him, she said, but she had shared the Gospel, and he had heard it.
The next day, she had been away from her apartment and returned to find an ambulance outside the building. As she was about to enter the building, the paramedics brought her neighbor out on a stretcher, and put him in the ambulance. They had put him in a straight jacket, and he was lying on his back with a blank expression on his face. She asked the paramedic what had happened, and was told that he had lost his mind, and a neighbor had called the police because of his loud screaming. He was sedated and taken away. She said he did not return. She told me that she saw this as God’s instant judgment on the young man for hearing the gospel, understanding it, and sincerely rejecting it. The story was chilling because that may have been his last chance for salvation. As the scripture cited above says, “now is the day of salvation.”
Salvation is the sovereign act of God, not a voluntary choice we can make when it is convenient.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)
There may be a point in a man or woman’s rebellion against God where God gives the person up to his or her sins for good. As Paul writes in his letter to the Romans:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Romans 1:18-32 (ESV)
Three times Paul writes that “God gave them up,” for the “wrath of God from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” The young man who heard the Gospel from my friend apparently reached his last chance, and God gave him over to a debased mind, in fact, God took his mind away from him, perhaps for good, but arguably, in reaction to his sincere rejection of the truth, that we are sinners, and that we are called to repent:
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matthew 4:17 (NKJV)
“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Luke 5:32 (NKJV)
“unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
Luke 13:3 & 5 (NKJV)
How long will God wait for a man or woman to repent and call on Him?
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV)
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. If you have not called on the Lord for your salvation, now is the time, and you may pray this prayer to be saved and to obtain the gift of eternal life:
Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.
I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.
You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God, that is, if we declare Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.
Right now I confess and declare Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.
Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.
Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.
If you said that prayer sincerely, and are truly sorry for your prior rejection of God, and sorry for your sins, you have been saved by God. You have the promise of heaven. You should ask God to help you find a Bible-based church that teaches the word of God and then be baptized. You can talk directly to the Lord. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)