“Grace does not depend on what we have done for God but rather what God has done for us. Ask people what they must do to get to heaven and most reply, ‘Be good.’ Jesus’ stories contradict that answer. All we must do is cry, ‘Help!'” – Philip Yancey
I found myself in Portland one day on the heels of a week of intensive training, expecting my employer to fly me (after a couple of days of rest) to “assignment next”. As it turned out, “assignment next” would not come for weeks . . . and in the meantime . . . I could not find an airline ticket on such short notice inexpensive enough to fit my rather limited . . . okay, nearly non-existent budget. Charlotte was home and might as well have been a million miles away . . . left to my own resources, I wasn’t getting there anytime soon.
A friend in Charlotte learned of my predicament and would have none of it . . . I was generously given a “pass” . . . it pays to have friends in the airline business! This one pass would get me all the way back to Charlotte.
God has done the same for you. He knows you are on a journey, one with detours, speed bumps, delays, redirects, unexpected curves . . . all of which have left you far from His home, His destiny . . . for you (no, it’s not Charlotte, North Carolina!). His one pass will get you all the way to heaven . . . to Him . . . to life . . . eternal life.
“For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
A Life Rejected – A Story of Separation
I had a choice when I got to the US Airways gate in Portland . . . you see, my “buddy pass” . . . it also would take me anywhere in the continental U.S. I wanted to go . . . and it was entirely my choice. Lots of gates . . . lots of departures . . . the lure of destination “elsewhere” (no offense Charlotte, you are a gorgeous city) . . . the thought of entertainment, recreation, escape . . . well, to act on those impulses, those desires . . . required nothing more than saying “no” to going towards home.
I considered the kindness of a friend who would freely give up a “pass” . . . and I treasured the love waiting for me at home in Charlotte . . . so I got on board . . . a non-stop return flight to . . . my home . . . our home.
What about His “pass”? The choice, once again . . . is up to you. Even though He stands at the door with a “boarding pass” for the trip of a lifetime . . . many . . . in fact all, first choose to go in directions other than the one God intends.
“All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way”. (Isaiah 53:6)
This is the human predicament . . . the Bible calls it sin. Right in the middle of the word “sin” is the word “I”. To take our life to “destination elsewhere” breaks our relationship with God Who wants to be with us on every step of our journey. Sin not only breaks our relationship with God, it also hampers our relationships with others. Can you imagine a long turbulent flight to the wrong place with a Boeing 747 full of people? With time, everyone gets cranky. Nobody likes the trip. The journey is miserable.
“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death”. (Proverbs 16:25)
We medicate life’s bumpy self-directed flight with money, drugs, power, busyness . . . but nothing helps. Spend a life on the wrong “plane” headed in the wrong direction, and you’ll end up in the wrong place. The Bible states you’ll end up in hell. Not because God wants you in hell . . . His plan is for you in heaven. He’ll do anything to get you to heaven . . . with one exception . . . He won’t force you. The
decision is yours.
A Life Restored At Great Cost – A Story of Grace
If the problem is sin and all have sinned, what can you do? Well, you can go to morality, philanthropy, even church, but a life of religious good works won’t make you a Christian any more than going to the Super Bowl will make you a professional quarterback.
The answer is simple: Go to the right gate . . . accept His “boarding pass” He has provided the right aircraft for the soul . . . He has paid for the fuel . . . He has the right navigational and communications equipment . . . He can take you home.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
Relationships that matter always come at a cost, and when it comes to your forever future, He gave all . . . knowing none of us can afford the ticket. This is what God has done for you. The consequences of a “self-directed flight” to destination elsewhere? . . . the payoff for your sin is death . . . physical and spiritual . . . forever separation from the Maker of your soul.
Heaven’s justice demands a death for your sin. Heaven’s love, however, can’t bear to see you die. So here is what God did. He stood and removed his heavenly robes and took on human flesh . . . to show once and for all that God . . . is with us. He came to earth to tell us that He would die for us. He would be our Savior. And that is what He did.
“We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (II Corinthians 5:20-21)
Is this the season . . . is today the day . . . is this the moment . . . when you are “done” with going to “destination elsewhere”? To say “yes” to God’s love . . . God’s grace . . . to say “yes” to life in Christ . . .
David “JB” Miller
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11-12