This past week, people in South Africa and around the world have been gripped by the news that anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has once again been hospitalized, and that he is in critical condition. Ongoing prayer vigils are being held in South Africa each night for his recovery. Starting in 1952, Mandela rose to prominence in the African National Congress party, and he began to lead a campaign against the apartheid practices of the government. The government, angered by his activities, had him arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment on Robbin Island. He spent 27 years in prison, and was finally released after an international campaign calling for him to be freed.
Back in South Africa, which was being torn apart by civil strife, Mandela published his autobiography, was once again re-elected as president of the African National Congress, and led negotiations with then South African President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections. The negotiations were successful, and in 1994, Mandela was elected as president of South Africa. He served for five years in that role, and he was celebrated and praised by the leaders of other nations and people around the world. Even today, the people of South Africa see him as a beloved leader who delivered their country from a very dark and difficult period.
Now, at 94 years old, Nelson Mandela is in the twilight of his life, and he faces the same path that every person who has ever lived has faced and will face for the Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die and after this, the judgment.” At this point in his life, Mandela’s accomplishments, accolades, and wonderful leadership mean little. As he faces death and eternity, the only thing that matters now is, does Nelson Mandela know Jesus Christ as His Saviour? When he dies will he go to Heaven to be with the Lord?
Again, the Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” When Nelson Mandela dies, and when you die, you will go to meet God and you will then go to one of two eternal destinations — Heaven or Hell — based on an all-important decision that we make in this life. Now, I do not know Nelson Mandela’s personal beliefs about Jesus Christ, and strangely, no one is saying much about his faith. It is our prayer that he is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. . . But the same question that matters for Nelson Mandela matters for you and me. For when we face death, we too will have to ask ourselves, Do I know Jesus Christ? Do I have a relationship with him? Because, at that point, when we are getting ready to meet God, that is the only thing that matters.
How can we prepare for the day when we meet God? You might be thinking that always doing what is right will prepare you for this meeting. However, the Bible tells us that even our good works are not enough to get us into Heaven. Isaiah 64:6 says, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses (good works) are as filthy rags.” Your good works, no matter how numerous they are, cannot save you. Nelson Mandela’s good works cannot save him. My good works cannot save me. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Just one sin condemns you to eternal punishment in Hell, or the Lake of Fire. Romans 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
The only way we can be allowed into Heaven is if we place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept the grace and mercy offered to us on the cross. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
This mercy and grace is given to us because of God’s love for us; He does not want us to die and be punished forever. This mercy and grace was secured when Jesus Christ sacrificed himself on the cross taking the punishment for all of our sins on himself. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Dear friend, none of us can make a decision for Nelson Mandela, but we can each make a decision for ourselves. Are you willing to accept God’s mercy and grace? Are you willing to give your life to Jesus Christ, trusting him to save your soul from eternal punishment so that you can enjoy eternal life with him in Heaven? Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you accept Jesus Christ into your heart, you will begin a relationship with God that will last for eternity. And when you face death, you will know without a shadow of a doubt, that you will see Him welcoming you home to Heaven on the other side. If you want this assurance, you can pray a short prayer right now to let God know that you have decided to trust Jesus Christ as your Saviour so that you can spend eternity with him. Please repeat after me and mean it from your heart.
Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today and forever. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Believe by faith. Share the faith. And keep the faith! God Bless You!