Christ, however, declares here: ‘Let it be your one concern to come to Me and to have the grace to hold, to believe, and to be sure in your heart that I was sent into the world for your sake, that I carried out the will of My Father and was sacrificed for your atonement, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, and bore all punishment for you. If you believe this, do not fear. I do not want to be your judge, executioner, or jailer, but your Savior and Mediator, yes, your kind, loving Brother and good Friend. But you must abandon your work-righteousness and remain with Me in firm faith.’

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 23: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 6-8

 

We can have our cake and eat it too when it comes to some things.  When it comes to the salvation of our souls—it’s one way or no way.  You can’t cling to Jesus and to your good works.  One will save you while the other will see to it that you are lost. 

Jesus won’t be a part of any equation—he is the equation or he acts as the gavel.  And it’s not only our good works we can’t trust—it’s the good works of any one we might assume one-ups us in the good works department (or two-ups us for that matter).  For some of us to find someone else to trust in besides ourselves it might not be too tall of an order, for others, well—I hope you see the light.  I realize that to say that Jesus is in a class of his own may not sit well with my friends who’d like to seat Buddha—Mohamand—Joseph Smith—or the Jonas Brothers on the same platform with Jesus.  While Jesus will stoop down and wash the feet of his followers, make no mistake—Jesus doesn’t share a platform with anyone.  Being politically correct never was Jesus’ strong-suit.  The day is coming when Mary—Moses—Pope-whoever—and Mahatma Gandhi will all kneel before Jesus. 

 16 ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.   (John 3:16, ESV)

We read that and we can think I have that down.  But like the item we are looking for on the shelf and cannot see because we are almost on top of it (which just so happens to be staring us square smack-dab between the eyes)—we need only step back and look at the verse from a healthy distance to see it as it is.  It might be quoted so much for a reason.  The simplicity of the gospel message is so simple we feel some insatiable desire to complicate it.  God said we must believe in Jesus—of course the belief that results in salvation takes on the form of more than mere agreement.  I’m not going to expound on dead faith (the same kind that Satan himself has and will condemn us) or living faith (the kind that only Jesus can author and serves to save us) here in this entry—but there is a world of difference.  But what I want to point out here is that God makes no provision for trusting ourselves one iota for our own salvation—or anyone else for that matter.

God doesn’t give us three curtains to pick behind when it comes to our eternal destiny.  There is no secret about who or what it is that God has selected to provide rescue from the entire weight of our sin.  He didn’t let his Son be crucified in some remote location for no one to see, rather—he set him on the top of a hill so all would witness.  Don’t you think if God intended for us to trust anyone or anything other than Jesus for our salvation he would have told us?  Jesus is the only Savior we need—all others we must detest. 

And that includes every last effort on our part to save ourselves.

Jesus is the curtain, the stage, and the entire play.

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