I assume that most of you have heard the good news found in the gospel. We sin, God forgives!
I assume that while most of you are thankful… I wonder how many really understand what that means and to cherish your renewed relationship with the Lord.
Does it feel like you just won the Mega-Lotto? And if you won the Lotto, would it change the way you live your life?
Truly believing that you have God’s gift of forgiveness makes the Lotto seem like chump-change. Knowing that you have already been given the priceless prize of the sweet gospel, raises the all-important question “now what?” Does it change your life?
Once there were 2 identical twins named Martin and Morgan. They looked so alike that even their closest friends could not tell them apart by their looks. But looks were the only way they were alike. They certainly didn’t act alike. Martin was the perfect child. He always obeyed his parents, and he was kind to other people. He studied hard in school and he had high moral standards and values.
Morgan on the other hand was a different story. He was constantly being disobedient to his parents. He mistreated other kids. He lied. He took things that didn’t belong to him. He was always in trouble. He was continually breaking his parent’s hearts. As Martin and Morgan grew older the differences between them also grew. Martin continued to be the model student applying himself and excelling in everything he did.
Morgan however got into deeper and deeper trouble. He began to have run-ins with the law. First, it was for minor offenses like traffic violations and truancy. But the older he got the more serious the trouble became. He was in-and-out of jail as a teenager. Then as a young adult, he committed the ultimate crime. He killed someone and was found guilty of 1st-degree murder. He was sentenced to die in the electric chair. He was placed on death row. Finally, after he exhausted all the appeals… The execution date was set.
The day before he was to die, Martin came to visit him on death row. The guard opened Morgan’s cell and let Martin in and then walked away. Immediately Martin began taking off his clothes and told Morgan to do the same. Martin then put on Morgan’s clothes and had Morgan put on his.
A few minutes later the guard came back to let Martin out of the cell but instead it was Morgan who walked out down the Hall and out the door to freedom. The next day they came to take Morgan to the electric chair. Without realizing he was actually Martin, they walked him down the Hall to the electric chair, strapped him in, and ended his life.
Morgan was free. But he had a decision to make. He could either continue to live his life as he had always lived it (chances are he would be discovered and end up back on death row) or he could take on Martin’s lifestyle and try to imitate his life.
That’s an interesting story but “so what?” How does that impact you and me? You are not a murderer like Morgan was most likely not going to the electric chair.
And yet you have sinned. Romans 3:23… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
And the fact is that the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23…For the wages of sin is death… It won’t be the electric chair, but you will die, and the cause of death is sin!
Has that reality sunk in? On your own, you are doomed! You are on death row!
That’s where the gospel comes in. Romans 6:23 continues by saying, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You were booked for eternity in a very hot (and not nice) place…and someone (Jesus) has made your reservation and paid the price for you to join him in paradise instead.
God gives you His mercy (does not give you what you deserve) and then He gives you His Grace (He gives you what you do not deserve)!
Based on Martin’s sacrifice in my opening story, Morgan is free! But now what? Does he go back to a life of deliberate crime…or does he change? He took on Martin’s identity to be freed, will he continue to follow Martin’s example and aspire to live as Martin did?
The good news is that Christ willingly took your place on the cross, willingly died in your place, to free you! Like Morgan, you now have a decision to make. Will you live for Him, trying to live a Christ-centered life…or continue to live for yourself? Ephesians 4:22-24…You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Sound good? Of course, it does! So now what?
Well…on your own, you will fall short, live in sin, and follow your sinful nature. But there is Hope!
Ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life. Don’t just nod your head and say ok. STOP RIGHT NOW and say: “Jesus, I am a sinner. On my own, I am helpless and sitting on death row. My thoughts, words, and deeds convict me. Help me to assess, confess, repent, and turn my life over to you. Take me by the hand and lead me to accomplish your will in my life. Help me to avoid sinful temptations…and to resist the ones I can not avoid. Thank you in advance for your promise to forgive me, and to renew me, and to set me free from the wages of my sins.”
Then, seek His will! Pray to Him throughout the day, especially when temptations are knocking at your door! Read and memorize His Word. Assess who you are hanging around with! Join a Christian group. Worship weekly (online or in-person)! Ask the age-old question: “What Would Jesus Do” in this situation?
To you be the glory Lord!