In the early sixties, a song came out by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers, entitled “The Last Kiss.” The song is about a couple out on a date that get into a car accident. The girl dies in her boyfriend’s arms. He mourns her death singing:
“Oh, where, oh where, can my baby be,
The Lord took her away from me,
She’s gone to heaven so I’ve got to be good,
So I can see my baby when I leave this world.”
This song sums up the attitude of a lot of people. They think if they can live a good life, if the good works they do outweigh the bad, then they will have earned their way into heaven. The major world religion, Islam, is steeped in this philosophy; in fact, it is actually okay to do something bad as long as you can offset it by doing a couple of good things. Just make sure your ledger tips toward the positive, good side before you die.
This kind of thinking is all about “yourself”; this is “me” thinking and it is killing our world. It deals with questions like:
· What can I get out of this relationship?
· I am not satisfied with this relationship.
· I want to do what I want to do.
· This relationship is holding me back.
· As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, I can do what I want.
· I want out.
· I’m not happy.
I want, I want, I want, I want…
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Where is the “relationship” in this type of “me thinking”? What if Jesus refused to go to the cross on our behalf? Oh, you don’t think that was possible? Go back and read your Bible. God took a big gamble with His Son in this area. There would be no love between Father and Son if there were no option on the table. Jesus would have been a prisoner, a captive puppet if there were no option to not go to the cross. To have “love” is to also allow “free-will” to make decisions on what you will and will not do; God showed this love to Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden, but then that’s a whole other story. Jesus fervently said in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, take this cup away from me!” Part of the amazing sacrifice of Christ Jesus is that He did not want to go through with it!
First of all, think about what we Christians believe, namely, that Jesus Christ was “fully God and fully man”. To put more emphasis on “the God” side over “the man” side or vice-versa is to do much damage to the real Truth (with a capital “T”) in who Christ Jesus really is. The duality of Jesus is hard for most to understand, and let me make this perfectly clear…nobody fully understands this duality…”for we know in part and we prophesy in part” (1 Cor. 13:9 NIV).
The “fully man” part did NOT want to go to the cross; a most awful form of execution, who would ever “want” to do this? To reduce the “man part” and inflate the “God part” is to diminish His sacrifice! He had fear, real fear, just go and re-read how He prayed in the Garden and what He said about His support group that couldn’t even stay awake with Him through this turmoil. There is a reason we talk about the passion of Christ. It was, in fact, the immeasurable love Jesus has for us, and His will to do what the Father wanted Him to do, that allowed Him to overcome His fear and get beyond it.
So we see Jesus Himself getting past His own “me” thinking and look beyond to true relationship. Jesus put God the Father first, and so Jesus put us first, so how are we now going to respond? Will we then respond by putting Jesus first in our own lives? After all, we are talking about saving us from tragic sin, moral sin, and our own separation darkness of relationship. Jesus who was without sin, took our sins upon Himself so that God could look upon us again, and allow those of us accepting Christ as Savior to get back to walking with the Lord in the Garden as was the original plan.
This gift from God is something we did not earn, did not buy, nor did we even have a right to it; it is freely given to those who will accept it. This is called “salvation”. The response on how we act after salvation, is called “discipleship”, and has nothing to do with the salvation act itself.
TRY ON THIS IDEA: It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are a good person, you will be accepted in Glory.
Oh really? Whose definition of “good” are we talking about? What if you are “a good terrorist”?...shall we stick to the “it doesn’t matter what you believe” nonsense?
Based on these simple truths of God’s love and gift of unearned salvation, what is your response? Oh, you can complicate it, or water it down, or qualify it by your own made-up criteria adding non-existent “human structure” to God’s love, etc. etc. I say your ONLY response should be to put Jesus Christ first in your life above all things, above all family & spouse, above all agendas, above the church, above yourself, ABOVE EVERYTHING!