An invitation is a written or verbal request inviting someone to go somewhere or to do something. Have you ever been invited to a wedding or a bridal shower? Do you remember that your invitation had an RSVP date? What the invitation really meant was your presence at the event would be appreciated, but you have to respond by the stated date. Otherwise it will be assumed that you were uninterested or unavailable, and you’d not be included in the count.
Here’s another example. Manufacturers are in business to make money, and their target market is the public. After all, if we don’t buy their products, what will they do with them, and how would they earn a living? It is common knowledge that competition is fierce among manufacturers, so many of them use all kinds of advertisements to draw sales away from their competitors.
One of the strategies they use is price reduction—commonly known as sales. Another one is the provision of coupons. What’s interesting about both strategies is that both are dated: they have expiration dates, forcing the buyer to purchase products by the specified dates. If products are not purchased by the expiration dates, the discounts no longer apply and one has to pay full price for the products in question.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve thrown money away when I let a coupon expire. Still, I misplace them all the time, or forget that I even have them. In other words, I don’t treat coupons as if they are as valuable as I say they are. The fortunate thing in this situation is that the products will probably still be available, whether or not there’s a sale or coupon; I just have to pay a bit more.
God loves us and would like us to respond to Him. Although we are unaware of a specific date, God’s invitation into a relationship with Him also has a time limit. That date is not readily available as one might see on coupons, but I can assure you, your invitation to come to God expires when you die, or when Jesus returns to earth, whichever comes first; the Bible says so. God knows when, but we don’t, which is why each person needs to take this invitation seriously and treat it with urgency. It is better to have the assurance now that God has a place for you in heaven, rather than get to the end only to find that your name is not on the list. What a disappointment and loss that would be!
Having explained time limits, let me explain God’s invitation again. Through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, our first parents, sin was passed on to us. That sin caused a separation between God and man. In order to restore that relationship, Jesus died to pay the price for our sin. God’s love through the death of His Son, Jesus, is enough to cover every single person, but each person has to choose what they want. God will not force salvation on anyone, neither is He going to wait forever while people toil with the idea of loving God or something else. People have to take responsibility for their sins and make plans for their eternal future. Living now without faith in Jesus means living in eternity later without God: in other words, living in hell. Using the word hell is not a scare tactics; it is the truth, and should be addressed as such. Sugar-coating it or calling it by any other name won’t change what it is. Jesus’ invitation to you is, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NLT).
How will you respond to this invitation? Time is running out every day that passes. You probably don’t have as much time as you think. This is God’s assurance when you repent and put your faith in Jesus, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God” (1 John 5:1 NLT), and “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13 NLT). Respond to this invitation before it’s too late for you!