1. Waiting for the Train: Assurance of Salvation and What it Means for this Life

I approached the train station, surprised no one was there.

As I stood on the platform looking from one direction to the other, the station master approached. “Need any help?” he asked. 

“Can you tell me when the next train is due to arrive?” I said.

“Depends on where you’re headed’” he replied. 

“This is what I have.” I showed him my ticket. “I think it’s good for a one-way trip to glory.” 

“Where did you get this?” the station master asked, and then added, “Do you know what it means?”  

“I got it from a fellow on a corner downtown; he was talking about glory and giving out tickets.” 

“I know him,” the station master replied. “He’s a good one!  How much did you pay?” 

“Nothing,” I said, “the fellow promised it was free.” 

“Good,” said the station master. “That’s the only way it works. Someone else paid the full price, so you only need to accept it. You couldn’t buy this kind of ticket even if you tried. You’d be surprised how many people show up here with a worthless ticket. There’s a lot of shock and sadness when I tell them they were sold something that’s no good. But that’s another story for another day.”  

Then he asked me, “What about you? Did you think you could get on any train you prefer, at any time?” 

“Well, I’m not sure,” I replied, “but I’m real tired of where I am and anxious to leave. The ticket fellow made glory sound so good, I want to get there as soon as I can.” 

The station master shook his head. “That’s not how the ticket works. Do you see any people just standing around waiting for a train?” 

“No,” I said. “That’s what surprised me about this station. Can you tell me more about the train to glory? Is the ticket any good? Do I need a reservation?” 

The station master smiled. “Yes, the ticket is good, and no, you don’t need a reservation. When the train arrives, there will be a seat for you.” 

“Great!” I replied. “So when’s the next train going to arrive?” 

 “I don’t know,” he said. 

“You don’t know? That’s a funny way to run a railroad.” 

“It’s not up to you and it’s not up to me,” was his solemn response. 

“But what am I supposed to do? Just sit around and wait?” 

”No,” said the station master, “you are to give away tickets.” 

Now I was exasperated. “I don’t have any tickets to give away,” I whined, “and there’s no one here anyway!” 

The station master answered with great patience. “The people who come to this platform already have a valid ticket. Your duty is to leave here and find people who lack tickets. And don’t worry,” he added, “you will be given tickets to give away when the time is right.”  

“But what do I tell people? I don’t understand the tickets myself.”  

“You will be instructed,” was all he said. 

“But if I leave here, give away tickets, and tell people what the ticket means, I might miss the train when it comes.” 

“Won’t happen” was his quick reply. “The train will only come when you are on the platform, and you will know when it’s time to come back to catch the train.” 

Still confused, I asked, “Can’t I just stay here until the train comes?” 

The station master laughed. “You might get awfully tired of standing! Do you see anything to sit on? I want you to note especially there are no rocking chairs and none of those fancy chairs that recline. This platform is intended for one purpose only, and that is to leave for glory.” 

I was silent, so he continued. “If you did choose to stand around waiting, the train would eventually arrive for you. But that would be pure folly and a waste of your life. So many people not only don’t have a ticket, they don’t even know there’s a train. And a whole world of ticket holders don’t know the true meaning of what they have been given.”  

Then, in a voice of real authority, the station master said, “Go and tell people about the train and where it goes. Give out tickets as opportunity arises and explain what they mean. When it is time for you to return to this platform, you will have done what was expected of you.” 

With his gentle smile, he added, “I will be waiting here to open the train door for you.” Then, overcoming all my hesitation, he repeated the command: “Go.” 

And that is what I am seeking to do. 

___________________________________

Bible verses to consider: 

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16. 

And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3. 

Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. James 2:26. 

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13. 

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of salvation through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Thank you that I know where I am going when it is time for me to step into eternity. It is clear that you have work for me to do before then. I ask you to lead me and help me according to your will. Thank you that I can bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen. 

Think on this: What does the “ticket to glory” look like? What does it mean that it cannot be bought? Do you have your ticket? If no, do you know what it takes to get one? If yes, do you know what you are to be doing while you wait for the train? Are you stuck on the platform, or have you left the station to give out tickets and explain what they mean? If so, what does that look like? If you aren’t doing it, but want to, do you know how? 

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