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, God is such a holy God that even one of our smallest sins cannot be tolerated in Heaven. If it were so, Heaven would be very different.
“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. Sure, 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.
At this point, I do believe we have established that your works won’t get you into heaven. So what will? Well, back to the sacrifice thing. Jesus offered himself as a kind of sacrifice so we wouldn’t have to die eternally in hell. He, a literally perfect man, God in flesh, died an awful sinner’s excruciating (that’s where the word excruciating comes from, by the way) death, went to hell and got the keys, and rose again. That is a pretty awesome love right there.
After accepting His sacrifice here on earth, we get the opportunity to spend our lives with Him here thanks to the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and then eternity (that’s a long time!) after we die. That’s pretty awesome.
And that’s not all! You get the high privilege of loving Him back. Chew on that one for a little bit.
But wait: there’s actually still more! You get to share this awesome news with everyone you know for the rest of your life. It’s like sharing the coolest news ever over and over and over again–and there’s no one it doesn’t apply to.
And that’s the cool part! Not many pieces of exciting news are true for universally everyone you’ll ever lay eyes on … except this one. This exciting news is entirely universal. There’s no need for apology within evangelism–you have, living inside of you, what every human being needs and is seeking for, whether they realize it or not.
It boils down to that 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, even by ignoring His message to your heart. If you text a friend sending them an invitation to something, you will probably assume no answer means no.
Pretend God had a phone for a second. 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.
This is where it comes down to your choice right now. God has made His move on the checkerboard. It’s time for yours.
(If you choose to decline (run away, in checkers), He will continue to chase after you because He wants you that bad. He can go any way on the checkerboard to do so–after all, He’s King.)
Go ahead–text Him back. He’s been waiting since He thought of you before the beginning of time for this. He loves you, and He wants your answer.
(What do you do when someone gives you a gift? Say thank you, right? Well, someone just gave you a gift of eternal life whenever you said yes to that text, if you did. The only rightful response now is, “Thank you!”)
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