If you’re reading this, I know you’re still in the race, the greatest race in history – the human race.
You’ve probably heard it said that when people’s lives are recorded on their gravestones, there’s your birth date, and the date of your death, with a little dash between. It’s that little dash between that we’re making right now.
Every thinking person wonders about life at times. Is there a purpose to it? And what about our destination? The race is on, all right – at sixty seconds a minute, twenty-four hours per day. Whether we’re awake or asleep, we’re heading from the one date to the other. And life seems to go faster all the time. But where are we going?
One popular view says: There’s nowhere to go. Live this life to the full, because when it comes to an end, that’s all there is. Heaven and hell are myths, they say. To which we respond: Do you know that for sure? That view doesn’t seem to make sense to most of the human race. Can we believe that life is a trip to nowhere?
Life’s race begins with an uneven start: we’re all born with varied equipment, upbringing, and opportunities. The road trip also has it’s share of surprises, potholes and problems. And then there’s the sudden stop. Is it possible to have the realistic hope of a new beginning? Can there be new life for us? The Bible says it certainly is possible. But it won’t do just to try and improve this present life we have. What we need is a whole new life – eternal life. For that, said Jesus, “You must be born again.” (John 3:7)
How can we receive this new life? Surprisingly, it isn’t what most people think, by trying to do your best. It is no more by personal effort than it would be for a ruined car to restore itself. This new life must be received as a gift. “For the wages of sin is death (i.e., we’ve earned our separation from God); but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Unearned and undeserved, we need to receive this gift of forgiveness by agreeing with God about our sin, and asking for a new life in Christ.
The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and in and of ourselves, we have no way to escape the punishment for sins. Without Christ, we had a one way ticket to eternal separation from God.
However, our God is a good God, and our God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). And because He loves us so much, He Himself provided a way out of hell (Matthew 5 and Mark 9) and into everlasting life (John 3:16).
So God sent His own beloved Son Jesus Christ to take our place on the cross, to bear the full weight of God’s wrath and punishment for all our sins on His own body, and to die our death. Only Jesus Christ, the perfect and sinless Son of God (Hebrews 4:15), can fully satisfy the righteous demands of God’s holiness in payment for our sins.