Published January 31, 2017

Paul's Epistle
"Negative Options"

Many years ago I joined a Christian music "record club." (Remember those?) They made membership extremely attractive. "Buy 10 records for the price of one!" Wow. Who could resist?

Then the "club" part kicked in. Each month there would be a new "club selection" — a record that was selected by the club which would be sent automatically – at full price plus shipping. Wow, so easy! And all I had to do as a member was... nothing (within a specified period of time).

In the marketing business this is called the "negative option." You are automatically signed up for something unless you specifically say you don't want it. There is a lot of "negative option" marketing still out there today.

Recently I received an invitation to join an e-mail mailing list. The announcement said, "Do nothing and you will be automatically added. If you don't want to join, you must click here." You know the drill. Sometimes these are good, sometimes not. But if you don't want it, you have to act anyway.

And then I got a notice regarding my bank account outlining some changes in the account's rules. "Do nothing and these changes will be implemented." (That's what they're counting on.)

But has it occurred to you that life, too, comes with a very significant "negative option?"

The "negative option" is that if you do nothing to correct the matter, you will spend eternity in a place of eternal torment apart from God.

To put it even more explicitly, hell is your default destination for eternity. If you want to go there, do nothing about it and you will be automatically added to hell's ever-expanding membership rolls. And that's a very negative option.

Oh, just like that record club I joined, it sometimes appears extremely attractive to "join the club" – engaging in worldly pleasures; having "fun." That's why so many do it. After all, ever since sin came into the world way back in Adam's time, it has been the "default" condition of mankind.

To exercise my right in that record club not to receive a club selection, I had to mail back their postcard – affixing proper postage. So it cost me even to say "no."

But you can change your "default destination" for eternity very easily – and it's absolutely free. Romans 6:23 tells us, "For the wages of sin is death [separation from God -- that's the default]; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Have you accepted this free gift? If you haven't, then consider these Scriptures:

But to take advantage of all of this you have to take action. And it's not difficult. I received an e-mail recently from someone asking me to pray for him because he wanted to be saved, and he wanted it "really, really, really bad." I wrote back that I would be happy to pray for him, but he, individually, has the ability and the need to settle the matter himself — and right now! God tells us how:

If the Holy Spirit causes you to recognize your need of Christ, why not earnestly and truthfully pray, in your own words, something to this effect:

"Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner. I believe that you died on the cross to pay the penalty of all my sins, and then arose from the grave so that I, by faith, could live eternally. I thank you for doing this, and I now receive you as my Savior and Lord. Come into my heart to cleanse me of all my sins and to grant me, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the assurance of salvation. Help me to faithfully live according to your Word all the days of my life. Amen."

If you prayed and accepted that free gift of salvation, praise God! Now please tell a Christian friend or pastor. Ask about being baptized as an outward testimony to your conversion. Tell others! Ask God to bring godly counselors into your life to answer your questions and help you grow spiritually, remembering that God's Holy Word is the final authority. Nourish your faith by attending a Bible-believing church nearby and fellowshipping with other true believers.

Remember, though, that, just like that record club which required me to notify them within a specific period of time or the "default" selection would be sent automatically, God's offer of salvation is available only for a limited amount of time. If you die, you've missed it. That could be in 20 years, 5 years, next month – or today!  The daily newspapers are full of stories of people who die in accidents, and not one of them expected it. Not one!

Exercise your option to say "no" to sin and "yes" to all that God wants for you – here and in the hereafter.

- Paul

PS: If you've already taken care of this matter (and I hope you have), be an eternal friend to someone you know who hasn't and forward this message — or simply tell them about it.

Comments on this? paul@thegospelgreats.com

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