Okay, so let’s get one thing straight: Jesus is absolutely everything that matters for me. The only reason anything else matters for me is because it matters to Him.
But why, oh why, have I gone so far “off the deep end” for Him?
It’s because I love Him!
Why do I love Him?
Because He saved me.
You see, we would all probably agree (or at least we should) that we’ve done things wrong in our lives. Plenty of times. That includes me.
We’ve all messed up and been a jerk at some point. And to be truthful, that’s exactly what we are until Jesus gets a hold of us.
Soooo, where does Jesus come in to all that?
Well, you’ve heard of those religions that make sacrifices and offerings and stuff. They’re doing that because they messed up and they know it and they want to get right.
Now, I’m not lifting their religions up in any way whatsoever, but they have one thing right: they know they need forgiveness because they screwed up. Plain and simple.
But they also have a few things wrong – the main one being that they think that will get them to heaven.
The fact is, we all sin so much that we can’t earn our way to heaven.
“Well, I’ve done enough right in life, I think.”
It’s not about that. A good judge judges by the wrong, not by the right.
Let’s say a man goes on trial for first-degree murder. There were at least fifteen eyewitnesses, all with corroborating stories. There’s convincing evidence from many sources. The case is practically closed.
The defense attorney doesn’t have much to work with at this point. But what he would absolutely forbid his client to do is this:
Run up to the front at the last minute and beg the judge: “Okay, so look, I get that I’m guilty. I mean, duh, that’s obvious and all. So I did a few things wrong in life. Everybody has. But I mean, look at all the good stuff I’ve done. Look, I served at a food pantry for three summers in high school, I went on a mission trip when I was 14, and I’ve been actually pretty nice this week.”
And that’s pretty much exactly what we do when we say we’ve done enough good. Yeah, we haven’t committed first-degree murder. But God says that one sin is equal to another in his book. So the point remains, and that’s a pretty good analogy.
So, yeah. Your works won’t get you in heaven. So what will?
Well, back to the sacrifice thing.
Jesus offered himself as a kind of offering/sacrifice so we wouldn’t have to die in hell. So essentially, it’s either die to self here or die eternally in hell. Your choice.
But as a blogging friend Ezekiel said in this post, Jesus is not simply a get-out-of-hell-free card. This is not simply a game of Monopoly. If you have Him, have Him because He loved you and you want to love and honor Him for the rest of your life.
You see, Jesus is not a stiff-necked ancient carpenter with a clergyman’s collar on. He died for you, basically as a sin offering. Because He is perfect, He’s worthy to do that for all of us. And He obviously loves you. I mean, to do that, you would have to love pretty strongly.
And don’t even give me that excuse that you might go to hell, but that’s where all your friends will be anyway. In my opinion, I don’t think anybody who’s there cares about the inhabitants anyway, with the exception of Satan.
It’s eternal fire, torment, destruction, sin, pain in all imaginable ways, terror, stress, and ultimately, death. And there’s no cold drinks – not even beer.
But really, that’s not what matters. What matters is Jesus loves you, wants you, and died for you so you can get rid of that guilt, shame, sin, and other stuff.
So it’s your choice. I can’t force heaven on you. I can’t force hell on you. No one else can do either of those, not even ISIS. It’s totally, completely your decision. And there’s no way out of that decision. No answer is equal to answering no.
So picture this: you text a friend inviting them to go to the movies with you. They don’t answer. Will you assume that means yes? Probably not. You’ll probably assume it means no, if anything.
Well, it works the same way here. Pretend God had a phone. He just texted you inviting you to heaven by way of accepting His Son as a sacrifice for your sin. You can ignore it, which is equal to no. You can decline it, or accept it. It’s totally up to you.
Your friend may not die because they ignored your text, but you will die eternally if you ignore God’s.
So what’s your choice?