We talk sometimes about living in the present, of seizing the moment. Waiting almost always is an option. There will be another day to do the thing we want, or need, to do. Tomorrow is coming.
But we know that procrastination isn’t always the right decision. Some things ought to be done today – right now.
Some of our family the other night was watching a documentary about extreme sports – like people who try to surf the biggest waves in the world. These are waves that could swallow a person up and crush him or her. And yet those extreme surfers keep going out there – to challenge themselves, to experience the thrill, to seek satisfaction. One of those surfers said he had chosen to live his life “now.” Tomorrow, he said, is too late.
The apostle Paul said, “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
In the vastness of God’s plan of salvation, the people of Israel – and all the other nations – were in a season of waiting. Israel knew it was waiting. The rest of the nations simply were living, never anticipating what was coming.
God’s plan was in the works. He was watching and waiting himself.
In Christ, the plan was brought to fruition. Salvation came to Israel, and it came (unexpectedly perhaps) to the rest of the nations as well. “I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).
Salvation suddenly was laid right in front of the world. Faith in Jesus Christ was the way. Grace was the method. There was no boundary, and no need for any more waiting.
And the apostle Paul reminded the church in Corinth, which was struggling through a season with some false teachers in its midst: “We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” The church had heard the good news. There was nothing to do but say “yes.” There was no need to seek out compliance with every aspect of Israelite life. The answer was Jesus. And Jesus is available now.
“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Paul didn’t want anyone to wait, to hesitate. He wanted people to grab hold of the salvation that had been offered, to seize the day of eternal life. It is available right now!
And the only thing, it seems, that Paul could do was “commend” himself (and his faith in Jesus Christ) to anyone who would listen or observe. You can read Paul’s list outlining his way of life. It includes endurance, afflictions, great hardships, beatings, riots, sleepless nights, knowledge, patience, the Holy Spirit, and both honor and dishonor.
Paul had chosen to live his life “now.” It was a life of faith and a life devoted to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with anybody and everybody. It was more important than surfing or seeking thrills. In fact, it was a painful life in many ways. But it was full to the brim with HOPE.
Paul wanted his life to be a testimony in itself. It was not a perfect life. But it was a life that was open for anyone to see. There were no secrets. Nothing was held back. “Our heart is wide open.”
Is this the kind of life you are living – or the kind of life you desire to live? Who around you is living like this, staying in the present with Christ because “now is the day of salvation”? If no one is doing it, maybe you should.