TITLE: Pretty Good
DATE: June 10, 2019
TEXT: Ephesians 2:8-9 - English Standard Version -8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed. The man died and found himself before St. Peter. Peter asked, “Was Jesus your Savior?”
The man hedged his words a bit. He replied, “Well, not exactly my Savior. On the other hand, I did go to church when my relatives got married or buried, so it’s not as if I didn’t know Jesus. On the plus side, I was a good neighbor and the kind of guy who helped out in the community.”
The man relaxed a bit when Peter, who was examining the report of the man’s life, commented, “Yes, I can see that. Your folder has a long list of charities.” Peter asked, “Can you think of anything which might prohibit your entrance into heaven?”
Not knowing the completeness of the information in his file, the man decided to keep a low profile. He joked, “Well, I wasn’t a saint, but who is? I’m about the same, maybe a cut above most. I took a few things from the office, but nothing big. You can’t exactly call that stealing, can you? I wasn’t always honest on my taxes or with a policeman or two who pulled me over, but those things are pretty normal.” Then, knowing he had already said more than he intended, the man shut up.
Peter commented: “Frankly, I’m impressed. For someone who didn’t have Jesus as Savior, you did better than most. If it didn’t cost you anything, you helped others; you were a good guy, the kind of person people counted on.” Then the time for a verdict had come.
Peter spoke, “As near as I can tell, your situation is black and white. What I’m going to do is give you directions to a really hot place, but we’re not going to call it hell. You will stay in this really hot place for a very, very long time, although we’ll refrain from calling it eternity.”
“But why?” the man asked. “You said I did good. What went wrong? If you send me there, you’re going to send a lot of other people there, too.”
Hearing that, St. Peter shook his head and sadly said, “My friend, you still don’t understand, do you? All I do is help people realize the desire of their heart. If Jesus was their Savior, they will want to be with Him. Jesus has answered that longing of their hearts and made preparations for them to stay in heaven. On the other hand, if people feel they have no need for Jesus as their Savior, He will allow them to spend forever in a place where His love and grace will never intrude.”
Those words concluded the interview.
Now although that story is fictional, those last words of Peter accurately describe what will, someday, happen to all of us. The last day, the day of the Lord is coming. Now, if we try to get into heaven on our own; if we have had no use for Jesus, we will be forever lost.
Yes, souls will be lost without faith, but that is not what God wants.
The Triune God does not want anyone to end up in hell.. Before we were born, the Lord wanted to save us from ourselves. To that end, He sent His only Son into this world to take our place. This Jesus did successfully. And now, by God’s grace, all who believe are rescued and saved.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for the wrongful things I have done, I most certainly repent. For all the gracious things You have done to save me, my thanks and praise. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html