The Gospel in Two Words
A few days ago I read a pre-publication manuscript by Julie-Allyson Ieron called “The Overwhelmed Woman’s Guide to … Caring for Aging Parents.” One chapter talks about the challenge of sharing Christ with aging parents, grandparents and other relatives. As your loved ones grow older, the importance of sharing the Good News takes on new urgency. Julie focuses on one particular question. How do you share with a parent who is near death? Circumstances may have taken away much of their ability to communicate. Often you won’t be sure how much they understand. Before they slip away, you want to make sure your mother or father (or uncle or aunt) is prepared for eternity. But how much can you say? Julie said she took comfort in the promise of the Bible that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). If you want to be saved, call on the name of the Lord. Cry out to Jesus for mercy. Even in the last moments of life, call on the name of the Lord and he will not turn you away.
At one point Julie was called to the hospital to read Scripture and pray with her uncles before they died. Worried lest she might say too much or too little, she asked her pastor, Colin Smith, for advice. He advised her to be quiet, not to push, but to wait for the Holy Spirit to open the door. Then she asked him to pare down the gospel to its most basic form. Those near the end of life often have shortened attention spans due to pain or disease. If she only had a few moments, how could she share Christ effectively? What should she say? Pastor Colin’s answer surprised her. “There is a one-word answer and a two-word answer,” he replied.
“The one-word answer is ‘Christ.’”
“The two-word answer is ‘Trust Christ.’”
I love the simplicity and the clarity.
Trust Christ. That’s all you have to do to go to heaven. God made it so simple that a child can be saved. He made it so simple that a dying thief can be saved. He made it so simple our aging parents can be saved.
Anyone, anywhere, any time, in any situation can trust Christ.
During my seminary years one of my professors said that he loved a particular invitation song because it is so biblical. It’s one that was never as popular as “Just As I Am,” and is not sung very often today. The song is called Only Trust Him. The professor said the title puts it just right:
Only–the right condition.
Trust–the right action.
Him–the right object.
The most beloved verse in the Bible tells us God gave his one-and-only Son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). You can't get any clearer than that.
If you want to go to heaven, trust Christ. That’s the gospel in two words.