Philippians 2:8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”
1 John 2:2, “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world”
If some people were to be absolutely honest, they would have to admit they are trying to earn their way to heaven through good works. Their faith is in their good intentions and admirable deeds, and not in the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, when our neighbor died, his wife said “Surely he is in heaven, don’t you think? He was such a good man.” I agreed that he had been a fine husband and a conscientious father, but I had to add, “He’ll be in heaven only if he believed in Jesus Christ as his Savior.” Our inability to save ourselves would be like a person trying to cross the ocean in a canoe. A person would be a fool to think he could cross the ocean through gale-force winds and swelling waves in a tiny boat like that. Even the most experienced paddler with the best of equipment would not try to travel from Boston to Liverpool in a canoe. The unstable craft just couldn’t make it across the Atlantic Ocean. My friend, just as the canoe cannot carry us across the ocean, our good works and worthy intentions cannot take us to heaven, like so many people think. Oh, our good deeds may make the circumstances of this life more pleasant, just as sitting in a canoe on a calm lake is pleasant, but it will never meet the just demands of a righteous God. The one and only solution is to put our trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us, “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
The story has been told of William and Mary Tanner who were crossing the railroad tracks when it happened. Mary’s foot slipped and wedged itself between the rail and the wooden crosswalk. She tried frantically to pull her foot free as the sound of an approaching train was heard. There were but seconds left as the express came rushing toward her from around a curve. Will Tanner pulled on her foot, desperately trying to free her. As the train came closer and its whistle screamed and brakes shrieked, Will held her in his arms. While people shuddered in horror, the train thundered over them. One witness said that just before the engine hit them, he heard the brave man cry, “I’ll stay with you, Mary!” That is great love! However, this story reminded me of our Savior Jesus Christ, who loved us with a love that can save all (John 3:16). Because of God’s love, the Son came to earth and was slain. On Calvary He died to pay the penalty for our sins. In John 3:16 we read, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Oh, my friend, how great is God’s love for us!
(1) What is your response to God’s love?
(2) Have you confessed your sin and accepted His forgiveness?
(3) If so, are you living in grateful obedience to Him?
The cross of Christ reveals the love of God at its best and the sin of the world at its worst.