Night Passages: A Sailing Story

When the roll is called up yonder, will you be there?

There are two tracks. There is sin and death, and there is repentance and life. That's it.

Because we are not God and we cannot see what is in a man, and man hides his sins well, we think there is a middle ground. That middle ground man calls "sort of good." Or, "pretty good." Well, we're not pretty good. We're not good at all.

Man is totally depraved.

Total Depravity is the doctrine that fallen man is completely touched by sin and that he is completely a sinner. He is not as bad as he could be, but in all areas of his being, body, soul, spirit, mind, emotions, etc., he is touched by sin. In that sense he is totally depraved. (source)

Not all men are as bad as they can be. So do not be surprised when a Hitler comes along, because he was simply a little further along on the spectrum than many. Or a Pol Pot. Or a Jeffrey Dahmer. Or an Idi Amin. Or a Stalin. Or Vlad the Impaler. Hm, I guess there are many more men that are worse than we thought it was possible to be.

There is a reason why not all men on earth are all totally bad. The Spirit restrains men.

And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8)

Wikipedia, USAF, Tech Sgt., restraining an attack dog
The Spirit is restraining the antichrist. The Spirit restrains sin. The Spirit fights sin. (Acts 7:51) The Spirit will not do this forever.

And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. (Genesis 6:3)

Matthew Henry says of that verse,

"But the Lord declared that his Spirit should not thus strive with men always; he would leave them to be hardened in sin, and ripened for destruction."

That moment will be the one Paul spoke of in Thessalonians, when the Spirit will leave off His restraining ministry and sin will be unleashed. God is about to unleash the attack dog of sin.

You know sometimes it is best to let a fever run its course? It is the same plan God has for sin. It is going to be allowed to run its course, with no intervention or remedy. He will allow sin to burst forth as a rabid dog unleashed on the world. It will not be restrained. At that time men WILL be the worst they can be.

The model for this will be the antichrist. He is called The Man of Sin for a reason. I'd posted the Thessalonians verse above, speaking of the restraining ministry of the Spirit who restrains sin and particularly restrains the antichrist. Back up to verse 3, Paul calls him by a name in which the main qualifier is his sin, not only permeated through every molecule of his body as we all have, but actually active and working in every molecule of his body. Man. of. Sin.

"Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction" (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

At that time, sin will roll over the world like a tsunami. There will be no middle ground, no "pretty good" people. Man will be released to his independence, which in fact is slavery to satan. It will be abundantly clear that except for the Tribulation saints in Christ exhibiting Christ's goodness, no one is good. Which is the point. Jesus knew what was in a man

"But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people." (John 2:24)

But during the Tribulation what is in a man will be seen, evidently, clearly and clearly. No middle ground. No hidden evil, no coy sin. Only obvious Good, and total Evil.
1930 census roll, Wikipedia CC

The Good News is that if you repent of your sins, and trust Jesus you will be made a new creature. That's part two of the two tracks. There are the sinners, waxing worse and worse, and the righteousness ones, made ever more beautifully transformed into His image through sanctification and finally glorification when the resurrection of the saints occurs.The old man of sin in you will be made a slave to righteousness and the Spirit in you will transform you into an image of Christ. You will be raptured into heaven alive or raised from the dead if you die before then, given a glory body and taken to the place Jesus is preparing for us. When the roll is called from the Lamb's Book of Life, you will be there! Not one spot of sin will ever be in us again! Best of all, we will celebrate the glory of His resurrection! His propitiation! His Sinlessness and righteousness and sacrifice and love!

There's an old Christian song called "When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there." By God's grace I'll be there! Thank you Lord, your mercy is boundless. And for the record, I can't wait.