When It Is Finished


Two days ago, I went running in downtown Lynchburg.  The weather was great; a perfect day to go running.  As I was running on the path, I passed an overweight gentleman who wore a weighted vest and was speed walking.  I presumed he was drastically trying to lose weight the best he could.  As I passed him, he nodded at me in a friendly gesture, and I replied, “how are you doing today?”  As I kept running, I heard his reply.  He said, “we’ll see when it’s finished.”  I guess he was in some pain from working out, and wouldn’t be able to tell how he really was doing until it was over.  This brought up a theological point to my mind.  Many people in this world don’t believe they can know their position in the eyes of God.  For Christians, we know exactly where our position with God is.

God doesn’t tell us that if we believe in Jesus Christ, we might be saved.  He tells us that if we believe in Jesus Christ, we will surely be saved.

John 3:16 NLT  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

This is a common verse, that many people quote everyday.  We don’t have to wait for the finish to know whether or not we are acceptable in the eyes of God. Because of God’s son Jesus, everyone who believes in Jesus Christ is made acceptable by Christ’s sacrifice.

The book of 1st John is a perfect read if you struggle with wondering whether or not God’s grace covers you.

1 John 5:11-13 NLT “And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life , and this life is in his Son.  12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.  13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.”

There is no doubt.  If we believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, we have no doubt that we are saved.  We do not have to wait until the journey is over to find out how we did, or what “grade” we got.  Believing in Jesus Christ as our savior is the way to salvation, and the Bible clearly tells us that we can be sure of it.

Advertisements

Grace and Mercy


What is mercy? What is grace? Usually I would give a definition to explain what they both are.  I might reach into the mind of theological professors to find out what they believe grace and mercy are.  But today, I’m not interested in what the definition is.  I don’t need to know what others think they know about it.  Today, I have some real life situations I’d like to examine to show you what grace and mercy are.

Sometimes I get tired in my theology class, so I bring fruit chew candies to my class to keep myself awake. I decided I would offer two of my classmates a piece of candy.  The first guy declined my offer, and wouldn’t take a piece of candy.  The second guy accepted my offer without hesitation, and I gave him a Starburst.  But what if, in the minutes following, the first guy decided he did want the candy?  What if he changed his mind?  Would I have given him the candy? Would he have had the courage to ask me again? Or would he have waited until I again offered the candy?

In the movie Training Day, starring Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Dr. Dre, and Ludacris, there’s a great example that I’d like to use.  At the beginning of the story, Ethan Hawke is a rookie police officer and is about to get a one day evaluation by Denzel Washington. Denzel wants to evaluate him to see if he’s good enough to be on the undercover drug team.  Denzel is sitting in a Diner, and Ethan walks in and sits down. Denzel then offers Ethan breakfast, but Ethan turns down the breakfast.  After a few minutes of them sitting there and having a conversation, Ethan decides to get some breakfast after all, but Denzel yells at him, and tells him that he messed that opportunity up, and now, can’t get breakfast.

This scene in Training Day is a great example of what God’s mercy and grace IS NOT LIKE.  If we deny the grace God has for us, but ask for it at a later date, He will not hold out on us.  No matter when we ask for it, He will have that salvation for us.  Denzel Washington had no mercy or grace, and when Ethan Hawke asked for breakfast later, he wasn’t allowed to get any.  But when we say no to God, say no to God, say no to God, and then say yes to God, He is there with open arms.  God’s love is so abounding, that a sinner, someone who denied Christ, someone who spat at the name of God, can be saved.  That’s what we see with Paul in the Bible.  He murdered Christians, and laughed at Christ.  He hated these followers of Jesus, and did everything he could to put them in jail, and have them executed.  But when he realized Christ was the Saviour, and that he had been wrong, God did not hold out his mercy and grace.  God’s salvation was freely given, because God’s grace and mercy covers all.