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Some years ago in Russia, a man was traveling on foot through a desolate part of the country, and as night came on he found himself in a dense forest. He knew there were many wild animals roaming about and realized that his life would be in danger unless he kept a fire going all night. They would not harm him as long as he stayed beside it.
Searching through his pockets he found his matches—just three left. Then having gathered together a pile of dead leaves and dried wood, he took the first match from his pocket and carefully lit it. The fire began to burn a little, then smouldered, and finally went out. Very carefully, he lighted the second match, but to his dismay a sudden puff of wind blew it out as he held it. Alas, he had but one more—just one match between himself and death!
Let’s pause! Haven’t you had opportunities to hear the gospel and be saved? Do you realize that, just as that man’s life depended on those three matches, so your eternal destiny depends on how you treat these opportunities? As you read this, you can’t tell if it’s your last chance to be saved.
How that man’s hand shook as he held the last match and struck it with the utmost care! Then carefully shielding it with his other hand, he put it to the dried leaves, and trembling he watched to see if it would burn. What relief to see the flames begin to shoot up, and he knew as he stood by the fire that he was safe from the wild animals.
The traveler had three chances and he didn’t treat any of them casually. He fully intended to light his fire with the first match, he was still more anxious with the second, and he was in dead earnest with the third, knowing it was his last chance.
How have you treated these opportunities of salvation that God has given you? The Bible says, “God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not” (Job 33:14). This traveler knew his danger and he was not thoughtless or indifferent to it. He was really concerned. How many men and women are in a more serious position than he, yet they “perceive it not.” God has spoken to them not only once or twice, but many times, and they have closed their ears and hearts, refusing to listen to His voice of love.
But God still speaks, just as He is speaking to you today, unsaved one. It may be your last opportunity. Judgment—far worse than being torn to death by wild beasts—is coming. God says, “After [death] the judgment”—the lake of fire forever. How dreadfully solemn this is!
Would you like to be safe from this judgment? God has provided a way of escape for you. His own beloved Son left heaven’s glory and came down to earth that He might “give His life a ransom for many.” At Calvary’s cross, God poured out upon Him the full judgment of all who believe on Him by faith. After bearing it all, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The work of redemption was gloriously completed. And just as the traveler stood by the fire in safety, so you, as a sinner, can stand under the shelter of the blood of Christ and be safe for all eternity.
Don’t be thoughtless or indifferent. God wants to bless you. From heaven He offers you salvation. It may be your last chance.
“There is but a step between me and death” (1 Samuel 20:3).
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).