Thursday, July 18, 2002
It was the first time we had taken our children to see Washington, D.C. We had a six-year-old, a four-year-old, and-a not quite two-year old. The stop I remember most is the U.S. Capitol Building - the one with all those steps. Those steps look pretty challenging when you're an adult - I can't imagine what they must have looked like to a two-year-old. There was obviously no way his little legs would get him to the top. But he did get there. Well, thanks to my little legs. I carried him.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Legs Won't Get You There."
My son's only hope of getting to the top was his father carrying him. His best efforts to make it wouldn't make it. Which is exactly the picture the Bible gives us of our best efforts to make it to heaven, to please an all-perfect God. Our best efforts will never get us there.
That's the message of three loaded words in Ephesians 2:8-9, our word for today from the Word of God. Here's what is says: "It is by grace you have been saved through faith..." Now, grace is undeserved love from God. It goes on to say, "...and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." Now here come those three loaded words. "Not by works, so that no one can boast." Now, those three words shoot down the deadliest misconception in the world - that somehow we can do enough good things, be a decent enough person, do enough religious things, that God will forgive our sins and let us into heaven.
But it's not by works - not Protestant good works, Catholic good works, Jewish good works - not by any good works. Why? Because, according to Romans 3:23, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." God is totally pure and holy. His standard is perfection, and all of us - even the most religious person you know - have missed that mark. He's the top of the Capitol steps and we're that little two-year-old, looking at a goal that is farther than our legs can possibly take us. Romans 3:20 says, "No one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law." Some may be able to get farther up the steps to God than others, but none of us can make it anywhere near the top.
There's only one hope you and I have of ever getting to God, of ever getting into His heaven. And that is to abandon our human, religious hopes of making it and simply saying, "Daddy, carry me there." And He will - because His Son, Jesus, took the death penalty you deserve, paid for every wrong thing you've done when He died on the cross. So you can be forgiven - not based on what you've done, but on what Jesus did.
If you're trusting in anything other than Jesus and His death on the cross, you will not make it to heaven. But we religious folks are proud of our goodness - that's why there are going to be many religious people in hell. Because they would not come to Jesus as their only hope.
If you've never done that - if you've never climbed into His arms - you don't have to wait another day to be forgiven, to know you're going to heaven when you die. Just tell Jesus, "I'm Yours, Lord. You're my only hope." If you're ready to put your total trust in Him, then I want to send you my booklet, "Yours For Life." It's all about beginning your personal relationship with Jesus.
Your legs, your religion, your goodness will never get you to heaven. Only Jesus can do that, and His arms are open right now. He will carry you from this day on and right into heaven.