John 10:10. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
What is it that makes a young man think he is invincible? I remember those days, climbing in trees higher than I should, balancing on rocks that were far too unstable, or jumping off bridges that now I would seem far too high. The idea of dying seemed remote, I was too strong, fast and nimble to get into trouble, at least that’s what I thought.
One thing I’ve learned from working in health care for almost 28 years is that life is fragile. We can die from just about anything, and as our human genome progressively distances itself from Adam, the mutations in each successive generation are lending themselves to all forms of auto-immune diseases that have no cure.
Life is not only fragile, it is short as well. We are reminded in scripture that this reality has been so for thousands of years.
Job 14:1-2 “Man who is born of woman
Is of few days and full of trouble.
2He comes forth like a flower and fades away;
He flees like a shadow and does not continue.”
Psalm 103:15-16 “As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.”
So the question many have is, what is the meaning of life? How do you find it? What must I do to save it?
A young man once came up to Jesus and asked this very question in Luke 18:18-20. “Then a certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?Why do you call Me good?” Jesus replied. “No one is good except God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother.”
The question was “what must I do?”, Jesus immediately clarifies his question, trying to ascertain whether he came as a follower of a Rabbi or if he recognized Jesus as the Messiah, God incarnate. He then proceeds to direct the young man to the law. If he is going to “earn”, eternal life, he would need to be perfect, the moral law makes this known, we are not.
Jesus used the law in evangelism all the time, so did Paul and every apostle. Galatians 3:24 “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Leading up to the turn of the 20th century, most church fathers did the same. It’s really only been the last century that the church abandoned the rule of the law in evangelism for the prosperity message of blessing. This transition has done more to damage the church than any other move in church history.
As the rich young ruler came to the conclusion he didn’t have what it took to earn salvation, he walked away in defeat in verse 23.
So if we can’t “earn” salvation, since we have all broken God’s moral law and are condemned, how do we attain eternal life? The answer is in death.
John 12:25 “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Jesus lost His life on our behalf, that we might be redeemed from sin that leads to death, not a physical death but a spiritual death. This death, which He afforded on the cross became the model by which we are called to now follow.
Romans 8:10-11. “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
So when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, His Spirit which gives life, fills us and renews us from death to life. This is the meaning of salvation.
Romans 4:24 “ It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
So, we have a choice, we can choose the eternal life that is found in Christ alone, or maintain the course of sin and death, a second death, which is the inevitable consequence of sin.
So I echo the pattern Jesus gave and I share the law in evangelism. 2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
The moral law produces sorrow that leads people to Christ. Romans 10:4. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
The end of the law is death. It is the judgment of a Holy God, who has personally been offended by mankind. The entire structure of the universe was founded upon the character of God. When this is subverted, God’s name is defiled.
If we want to follow Jesus, we must die to sin. All that we followed, all that led us in life we now count as loss. We accept Jesus as our King, we follow His Spirit in our lives now and allow forgiveness of others to be our mantra while accepting Gods grace and mercy in forgiving us.
Life or Death. We’ve been given this choice to choose. Which path will it be for you?