Apr 23, 2008, 8:01 AM
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
As we grow older, inching our way to the finishing line, we tend to look for answers to life by asking pertinent questions, searching and listening. Would I make it to heaven? To what can the afterlife be likened? Would my baggage of sins constitute a major impediment?Depending on where we look or the one to whom we address our questions we determine beforehand the answers to be expected.
Some of us have our minds already made up about the answers to the various questions and would not budge if a ray of enlightenment were to dawn on our horizon. The truth of the matter is that there cannot be two ways but one way to heaven and that way is offered by the One who declared: “I am the way and the truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) These words were uttered by none other than the Saviour of the world, Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Let us examine some of the assurances that the Bible gives to support Jesus’ statements. When angel Gabriel appeared to Mary he revealed that she would conceive mysteriously and give birth to a son whose name would be Jesus – “for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) ‘His people’ could mean Israel but today the whole of humanity is incorporated. Paul, the apostle states: “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:12-13) The name of Jesus is far above man-made religions. At his name “… every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9)
He who searches diligently is sure to find. When we look intensely for the answers to the questions that intrigue us, we also will come up with credible answers. Jesus himself recommends: “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8) How often have we sought and knocked and not received answers or doors have not opened? A lot would depend on how hard we knocked and how persistent we have been in our quest for answers.
How much hope do we have for our breakthrough? “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:25-26) God never comes late. Wait for him, he will not tarry. The psalmist urges: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14) Prophet Isaiah affirms “… but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will rise up with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
You might have condemned yourself to hell because you consider yourself past redemption, having committed so much sin. The good news is that as long as we seek the Lord and sincerely repent of our sins, he will graciously pardon. He will receive us with open arms. Like the lost sheep, he will bring us back to the fold; and like the prodigal son, he will receive us back home and restore us. That is the reason God sent his Son to die in our place that we may be forgiven. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came through Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23)
We inherited sin from our great, great ancestors Adam and Eve and like the spots on a tiger’s skin we cannot wash them away. Only the blood of Jesus can. That blood, shed on the cross of Calvary, has been made available to us in order that we may be set free from the shackles of sin; that death may no longer have dominion over us.
Sin is an impediment to accessing eternal life. There is not much time left. Therefore we need to heed what the prophet Isaiah admonished: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon,” (Isaiah 55:6-7)
As we flip over the pages of this New Year each day, may every page provide daily guidance from God as we continually seek him and seek his face. He is forever willing to lead us by his Spirit into quiet waters and green pastures in order to restore our souls …. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)