(The pastoral letter to Hope Congregational Church, August 2013, from Pastor Riley Fraas)
Love, grace, and peace be yours abundantly from God the Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord! I rejoice greatly in the shared communion and life that we have together in Christ. It is something that should never be taken for granted, something that we will enjoy together forever with Him in heaven, of which we now enjoy a blessed foretaste.
For human beings walking through life, there is a choice between two roads. One leads to life everlasting, and the other leads to eternal death. In the word of God, in Matthew 7:13-14, we learn, “…wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” The narrow road which leads to life is characterized by faith in God’s promises, especially salvation through faith in Christ, and a way of life that indicates a changed condition of the heart which makes it to be oriented toward God. The broad road leading to everlasting punishment under the wrath of God in hell is easy to travel; and large crowds are going that way all the time. It is characterized by a coldness toward spiritual things, self-righteousness, self-centeredness, greed, pride, lust, and apathy.
When you see a sign on the road pointing to a desired destination, you are informed which way you ought to go to get there. We have recently seen one of our own go home to be with Jesus in glory and everlasting happiness. There are those like her, who, by their example of faith, walking with God, and service to the saints, leave by their lives a signpost in the fork of the road. Those who are on the way of life can be distinguished from those who are on the broad road that leads to destruction by the conduct of their lives and the ripe fruits that show the Holy Spirit’s work in them. They do good works of love and compassion for those they can, and abound with the peace, love, and joy that only comes from peace with God through Christ, applied to the soul by the Holy Spirit. It even shows in their personality. By the legacy of their lives, they show the way to heaven which is their destination. Like a sign in the road reading “To Heaven,” their path shows to those in their family and community the way of live which leads to everlasting happiness with the glorious Savior: a life by, from, and through grace, with steadfast faith in God’s promises in the Bible, which reflects the love of God in Christ to others out of thankfulness to Him for His precious gift of salvation.
Let us, brothers and sisters, consider carefully what message we are leaving to our children, grand-children, great-grandchildren, fellow Christians, and neighbors, minding our pattern of life, deeds, and conversations. If we walk consistently in love by the grace of God through faith, then when they day comes when we no longer walk this earth, we may leave by our life’s example a signpost pointing the way to heaven, so that if there were any doubt which way were the way to get there, it will have been made plain to those we know and love.
May the free and undeserved grace of God through Jesus Christ be our sustaining foundation for life, both now and forever.