Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Suicide Plunger Survives Niagara Falls

It was troubling, but even more rare. Just recently a famous landmark was the site of an incredible event. It occurred when only the third person ever, without a safety device, lived after throwing themselves into the turbulent waters at Niagara Falls. In addition, another person also attempted to end their lives there but sadly succeeded.

Experts claim that some depressed people want notoriety and their final act monumental, and therefore use famous landmarks to achieve their tragic ends. Officials have long been aware of this lure, especially in places like The Empire State Building and The Golden Gate Bridge. Accordingly, officials have tried to take precautions as best they can. It is estimated that more than 1,400 alone have jumped into the violent waters below San Francisco’s famous spot since the first suicide there in 1937 just weeks after its opening.

In Hebrews 9:27 the writer declared, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Most all will agree with part one of that most sobering truth. How could they not? But far too many ignore or don’t believe the latter aspect. Death will come to all at some point even though some may help it along early due to a variety of unfortunate circumstances. But as terrible as succeeding at taking one’s own life may be, it is what occurs instantly that then takes center stage.

Eternity and judgment indeed await every man and woman. But in that awesome moment, the only issue that quickly arises becomes whether they face it alone or not. The Bible confirms the absolute seriousness of this by relating a universal problem written by the Apostle Paul in Romans 3:23. He states there, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” He also writes in the same epistle, and in others, the unimaginable and eternal consequences that human sin incurs. There are none that know even the bare basics of biblical truth, who can say that more than ample warning about sin has not been repeatedly stressed by God.

Judgment follows death – pure and simple! Passages like Hebrews 10:31 confirm the reality and ultimate need to be fully prepared. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” And while that scenario is painfully true, so can be the opposite side of the spiritual coin. The writer John said it all when he penned, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 2:1-2)

Dr.Charles C. Ryrie, in his book, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth, spoke about ‘propitiation’ by writing this: "The word propitiation carries the basic idea of appeasement, or satisfaction, specifically towards God. Propitiation is a two-part act that involves appeasing the wrath of an offended person and being reconciled to them. Propitiation is that "by which it becomes consistent with his character and government to pardon and bless the sinner. The propitiation does not procure his love or make him loving; it only renders it consistent for him to exercise his love towards sinners."

This infinite and miraculous quality of divine love comes only by one exclusive means. Paul in Ephesians 2:8-9 reveals that most incredible of all possessions. He records there the lone great solution to the most dire of all problems. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Yes, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” There is no escaping the reality of eventual physical death. That is fully known even aside from the input of the Bible. But it is the second part of that verse where God’s Word could not be more crucial and clear. This verse, as well as other related passages, make clear the ultimate need to be spiritually prepared to face the grave - despite how one physically enters it! And that most special confidence is seen nowhere better than in 1 John 5:11-13.

“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.”

 Bill Breckenridge