• P. Frank

Redeemed and Rescued

Have you ever lost a loved one, be it a family member or friend? If you have, then you don’t need me to explain the feeling of your heart being torn out of your chest. Did they know Jesus Christ? I have lost family members and friends, some of whom knew Jesus and some of whom did not. I can tell you that it hurt far worse for those who refused to believe in Jesus Christ. Sometimes they find their way back into my thoughts and it saddens me. However, when I think about those who had accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior before their death, I no longer mourn for them. Instead, I rejoice in their new life in heaven. The only way to gain access to heaven is belief in Jesus Christ as your Savior: “Jesus said to him, ’I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6).

Ever heard the phrase, “It’s always the good ones that die young?” I’m here to fracture that phrase: none of us are good. None of us are anywhere close to good enough to gain access to heaven through our own works. “Surely [we are] sinful at birth, sinful from the time [our] mother[s] conceived [us].” (Psalm 51:5). Sounds pretty hopeless, right? It is if you don’t believe Jesus died for you. Let’s go back to the beginning of sin. Satan, an angel, had grown jealous of God and decided to turn from Him and challenge Him. God cursed Satan and cast him out of heaven. In an attempt to get back at God, Satan took the form of a serpent and successfully tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. That was the beginning of the end of our lives here in this world.

God had given Adam and Eve autonomy in the Garden of Eden; they had the freedom to do as they pleased, so long as they didn’t eat the forbidden fruit. They failed miserably and introduced sin into God’s perfect creation. There was no more harmony, there was no more peace, there was only shame, guilt, and fear. God knew Adam and Eve would eat the forbidden fruit and He knew that from that moment forward, His creation would be filled with pain and suffering. He knew that many men and women that He would create over the years would turn their backs on Him and that He would be forced to curse and cast them out, just as He was forced to curse and cast Satan out. We can only vaguely imagine the burden that God carries by being omniscient. Through the curse of sin, Adam and Eve (and all their descendants) were cursed with death. Now take that torn heart feeling you’ve had for lost loved ones and multiple it infinitely. You might get somewhere close to what it felt like to God that day in the garden. God has said, “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone.” (Ezekiel 18:32).

Sin infests every part of us. We could never even hope to be able to save ourselves. Jesus is like the captain of a boat carrying Christians to heaven. However, we often willingly jump out of the safe boat only to realize that we actually don’t know how to swim. Each time we jump overboard, Jesus simply reaches out His hand to pull us out of the water and back into the boat. All we must do is grab His hand. If you refuse to grab His hand, you won’t make it; you will drown. We are all sinful and we are all destined to die. But through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we only have to die once and not for all eternity.

Many people doubt God’s existence because of the bad things happening all around us. We have all heard the question: “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” Did God bring that pain into your life? Did God forsake you? Does God hate you? No, no, and no. As soon as Adam and Eve gained the knowledge of good and evil by eating the forbidden fruit, their souls were immediately in jeopardy as long as they remained in the garden. That’s because the Tree of Life was there too. God was forced to cast Adam and Eve out of the garden to keep them from eating the Fruit of Life and living forever in their sin with no way to be redeemed or rescued.

God knew they were going to sin, so He already had a plan laid out: He would send His Son, Jesus Christ, to take our place. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). Recompence for sinning against God requires a blood sacrifice. Jesus selflessly gave up His own life as the last blood sacrifice, staving off God’s wrath towards us because of our sin. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the debt for all of our sins, conquering Satan once and for all. Jesus’ resurrection from the grave conquered death once and for all. As long as you believe in Jesus, you no longer have anything to fear, not even death itself! This is why our mission of spreading the message of Jesus Christ is so important. We must do everything in our power to tell those around us about Him. “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7).

God’s love for us is an amazing story of redemption and rescue. He would do ANYTHING to show His love for us! He would move mountains for us! He would stop the sun from setting for us! He would send an army of angels for us! And most importantly, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to snatch us out of the jaws of eternal death and damnation through His own sacrifice. Take heart and FEAR NOT! Jesus is still reaching out His hand for you. Just take His hand and repent of your sins.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the Glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:1–11).