The late Paul Harvey used to close his daily news program with a “For What It’s Worth” story. On one particular day, he told of a man in New Zealand, a gas thief, who was siphoning gas from a car at 2:00 A.M. As I recall, Paul Harvey reported that for illumination, since it was in the middle of the night and on that particular night very dark, the thief “flipped his Bic.” This “For What It’s Worth” segment followed a long series of news stories detailing catastrophes caused by hurricane Katrina. When Harvey ended his program with the story about the thief who flipped his Bic, I spontaneously broke out in a chuckle.
I know I should not have laughed, and immediately I lectured myself for doing so. After all, I soon realized the thief was probably lost and the instant he flipped his Bic he was catapulted into Hell. That is no laughing matter. But, with all the disasters so many thousands of people were facing through no wrong doing necessarily of their own, when my mind conjured up a mental snapshot of the thief flipping his Bic as he siphoned stolen gas, I just lost it (driving on I-465). I guess it was “relief humor.”
More soberly that afternoon back in my office, I thought of some Biblical lessons that might be drawn from the story that initially struck me as humorous. I suppose there are many, but here is one:
Paul says in I Tim. 5:24: “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment….” Boy, was his sin open beforehand! Evidently as he was in the act of stealing gas, he did not think of facing up to that sin. But the whole world heard about it via Paul Harvey.
And, he did not have to wait for Judgment Day to face it. He was immediately thrust into eternity as he was in the very act. That is a dramatic illustration of what Paul said in I Tim. 5:24: his sin was open (exposed to all) beforehand (before the day of judgment). What a striking demonstration of how that sometimes works out!
Most will never siphon gas from anyone’s car, and, thankfully, most will never die in the very act of sinning. But some will face their sins in the here and now, and some will face them in the hereafter, as the latter part of I Tim. 5:24 says: “…and some men they do follow after.”
If you are a believer your sins were dealt with at Calvary. You will stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ and the issue there will not be sins, but service. That does not mean sin committed as a believer will not yield negative consequences, for it does and it will, including most of all an interrupted fellowship with our Lord and Savior and unanswered prayer plus chastisement which will be unpleasant according to Hebrews 10. But at the future Judgement Seat of Christ before which all believers will one day stand, what you have done for Him since you were saved, including your motives and methods, your works or lack thereof, will determine your receiving commendation and rewards or not receiving His “well done.”
If you are not one who has accepted Christ by faith for salvation then you will appear before God at the Great White Throne Judgment to answer for your sins. First, the sin of unbelief if your name is not found in the Book of Life (Rev. 20:15). Then, as the “books” are opened, you will answer for the sins you have committed and punishment will be meted out in degrees of severity on the basis of light you have been exposed to having rejected. You will face your sins, for they will follow you.
Bottom line: Don’t flip your Bic around fuel ever! And, don’t leave this world without having put your trust in Jesus unless you plan to meet up with Him at the Judgment Bar of God where there will be no second chance.
Thanks Paul Harvey for the food for thought.
“And I saw the dead, small and great stand before God: and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works…And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:15)