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Rejection of Salvation

        Scene: Big Thompson Flood on July 31, 1976, in the 35-mile-long, mountain-rimmed canyon linking Estes Park and Loveland, Colorado. A 19-foot wall of water, resulting from a furious thunderstorm, roared through the canyon and killed 129 people. This account is given by the wife of one of the victims. The name of the husband has been altered to conceal identities:

        Gary was an engineer, and to his trained eye the narrowness of the canyon and the rapidly rising river spelled trouble. Anyhow, he came over to tell me that he was going to our friends’ cabin to warn them and the people in cabins across the way to leave at once for higher ground.

        Although I asked to go with him, Gary insisted that I stay at the hotel. He said that he would be back for me, but if he didn’t return in thirty minutes, I was to climb to the top of the mountain without him. He said he’d catch up with me there. He told the hotel owner and his wife (where we were staying) to be sure to get their two youngsters, an eleven-year-old boy and eight-year-old girl, out of bed and dressed right away. Then Gary drove off in such a hurry that he forgot to kiss me good-bye. I have no last kiss to remember.

        In exactly thirty minutes, I followed Gary’s instructions and started to climb up the rough, rocky side of the mountain… in the canyon down below, now filled with water, I saw the tops of cars bob by; even a Greyhound bus swept past. I saw the hotel where we were to meet our friends breaks apart and float away. I wondered it the hotel owner, his wife, and their children were safe. All four, I later learned, were killed.

        The warning of disaster and death was clear, the offer of an available salvation understood, the rejection tragic. In retrospect, we can all see the foolishness of those who rejected Gary’s warning. But can we see the foolishness of rejecting the bible’s warning about what will happen to those who do not accept God’s offer of salvation? ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Rejection of Salvation

        A certain atheistic barber was conversing with a minister as they rode through the slums of a large city. Said the unbeliever, “If there is a loving God, how can he permit all this poverty, suffering, and violence among these people? Why doesn’t he save them from all this?”

        Just then a disheveled burn crossed the street. He was unshaven and filthy, with long scraggly hair hanging down his neck. The minister pointed to him and said, “You are a barber and claim to be a good one, so why do you allow that man to go unkempt and unshaven?”

        “Why, why…” the barber stuttered, “he never gave me a chance to fix him up.”

        “Exactly,” said the minister. “Men are what they are because they reject God’s help.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Rejection of Salvation

        In the year 1829, a Philadelphia man named George Wilson robbed the U.S. mails, killing someone in the process. Wilson was arrested, brought to trial, found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged. Some friends intervened in his behalf and were finally able to obtain a pardon for him from President Andrew Jackson. But, when he was informed of this, George Wilson refused to accept the pardon!

        The sheriff was unwilling to enact the sentence-for how could he hang a pardoned man? An appeal was sent to President Jackson. The perplexed President turned to the United States Supreme Court to decide the case. Chief Justice Marshall ruled that a pardon is a piece of paper, the value of which depends on its acceptance by the person implicated. It is hardly to be supposed that a person under the sentence of death would refuse to accept a pardon, but if it is refused, it is then not a pardon. George Wilson must be hanged. So George Wilson was executed, although his pardon lay on the sheriff’s desk.

        So, too, do some of us reject the gift of salvation by refusing the pardon thereby offered. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching