The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

I received a call from my wife one day to tell me that she had had an accident in the WalMart parking lot. Apparently, she started backing up, and someone else had done the same. At the last moment, they both realized that they were going to hit and tried to apply the brakes, but they were too close together. Our vehicle got the worst end of the deal and one of the rear light assemblies ended up shattered. When I got home, it was apparent that something had happened.

Another time, long ago when I lived in California, I was turning around in a lot and ended up a little too close to a chain link fence. I was going very slowly because I knew it was going to be close, but I misjudged and ended up touching the fence with the front bumper. While it was just a little rub, it still flaked off the bumper.

Anytime there is a collision involving a vehicle, there is no denying that it happened. Paint gets transferred, parts get damaged and sometimes the entire vehicle is totaled. How much more so when that collision happens to be Jesus coming into our lives when we accept him. That is the ultimate collision, and if it is a true conversion, there is absolutely no denying that it has happened. We can’t come into a relationship with Jesus and not be changed. Jesus rubs off on us and Matthew 7:16-20 says, “16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. KJV”

So, the question now becomes, how do you know you are saved? I’ve talked to people who say that they are going to heaven because they are a “good person.” Or, they tell me that they were “confirmed” as a child. Or maybe it’s because they go to church all the time. Bottom line is that if your answer is anything other than “I am saved because of Jesus” you are screwed. Jesus is the only way. There is no one “good” enough to be saved. Confirmation and going to church will not save you. Only Jesus can save you.
There are lots of reasons people think they are going to heaven, so lets unzip some of them (I’m a bit of a geek and work with zip files all the time).

1. I’m a good person.
a. Jesus says that only God is good in Luke 18:18-20.
b. To call yourself a good person is to put yourself on the same level as God.

2. I was confirmed as a child
a. There is only one way to be saved.
b. John 14:6 says that Jesus is the only way to come to the Father.

3. I go to church all the time and do lots of good things.
a. Going to church doesn’t save you like going to Burger King doesn’t make you a Whopper.
b. Jesus was talking to the Religious Crowd in Matthew 7:22-23 when he said, “22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ NIV.”

4. I’m not as bad as someone else I know
a. If you are comparing yourself to someone else what is the standard?
b. Romans 3:10-18 says: “10 As the Scriptures say, “No one is good – not even one. 11 No one has a real understanding; no one is seeking God. 12 All have turned away from God; all have gone wrong. No one does good, not even one. 13 Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their speech is filled with lies. The poison of a deadly snake drips from their lips. 14 Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. 15 They are quick to commit murder. 16 Wherever they go, destruction and misery follow them. 17 They do not know what true peace is. 18 They have no fear of God to restrain them.”

Bottom line is that only God is good. We are bad and filled with all kinds of ugliness. Salvation is a free gift from God and it is up to us to accept it. Once we do accept His grace, He is quick to come in and wash us and cleanse us from all the evil and ugliness in our lives. Now, don’t you believe for a moment that this is an instantaneous process. I am by no means perfect. I struggle with envy, hatred, anger, malice and a whole host of other issues every day, but I am quick to turn to God and ask Him to forgive me. I am continually asking Him to look into my life and change the parts of me that do not honor Him. It is a life long process. But the amazing part is that God accepts us right were we are. He gives His grace to us and then helps us bear fruit. Day by day and little by little he works on us to make us more like Him.

Won’t you invite Him into your heart today if you don’t know Him? If you have questions, please send me a comment with them because I would love to share more with you. And if you are not ready to make a commitment right now, please just think about what I have shared. Ask yourself some honest questions about the life you now live.

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