Tuesday, November 29, 2016
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It might have been the scariest moment of my life. I was only ten years old, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was with my friends in Lake Michigan. We started out just wading, but they kept getting deeper – until the lake bottom dropped off sharply. We started swimming. I didn't know how, and I was too embarrassed to tell them. And I started taking on water fast. I mean, I went under once, I went under twice, and I was desperately thrashing around. As for my buddies, they thought I was just clowning around. I wasn't! I was drinking the lake. I could see that water burying me there like it was yesterday, and honestly, I was almost a goner. And then he came – the man from the shore who saw my predicament and he jumped in to do something about it. He had come to rescue me. I grabbed him with both hands. I hung onto him as if he were my only hope, because He was.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "One Hand Short Of Heaven."
As I've studied the Bible, I've learned that what happened to me that day at the lake is a picture of another life-or-death situation and the rescue on which a life depends. In this case, the life-or-death situation involves the entire human race. So, it's about you and me.
The Bible reveals our true spiritual condition in hopes that we'll recognize it and take the only action that will save our souls. God's book says, "Your sins have separated you from your God" (Isaiah 59:2)...that we are "without God and without hope in this world" (Ephesians 2:12)... and that we are "dead our sins."
Sin is so much more than just breaking somebody's religious rules. It's defying Almighty God by ignoring His rule over our lives and doing what we want instead. It's ultimate arrogance. It's defiant rebellion against the One to whom we owe our existence. And it's all of us; even the most religious person listening today. We differ only in the degree of our rebellion against our Creator, not in the reality of that rebellion or in its awful, eternal consequences.
We are that little guy, drowning, with no hope of saving ourselves. Our only hope of avoiding certain death is the same as it was for me that day – a rescuer. And it's at that point that Jesus Christ comes off the pages of the history books and becomes a deeply personal issue for you and me. He saw we were dying, He left heaven's shore, and He jumped in to save us at the cost of His own life when He gave His life in exchange for ours on a cross.
Our word for today from the Word of God, in John 3:18, spells out the difference between those who will be lost and those who will be rescued: "Whoever believes in Him (that's Jesus) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe in Him stands condemned already because He does not believe in the name of God's one and only Son."
It isn't what you do with some religion or some set of beliefs. It all comes down to what you do with Jesus – whether or not you believe in Him. In the original Greek word that's translated as "believe," it means to put your total trust in Jesus, to hold onto Him like a drowning person would hang onto his rescuer. I know about that. And take it from me, that's holding onto Him with both hands.
Some people miss Him because they try to grab Jesus with just one hand – because there's something else in the other hand they don't want to let go of. A sin they don't want to forsake, a person, a pleasure, or an escape from their problems. But that's what the Bible calls "another god." And you can't hold Jesus with one hand and some junk He died for in the other. Believing in Jesus is grabbing Him with both hands, turning from, abandoning whatever else has been your hope. Maybe you've tried to turn to Jesus without turning from your sin, that other hope. Well, it's got to be a two-hand faith, grabbing Jesus with all your heart and both your hands.
Have you ever taken that life-saving step? It's time! Tell Him right now. He's come to where you are, and He's reaching for you with both hands – nail-scarred hands. It's time you grabbed Him with both of yours.
I'm going to help you do that. It's what our website's all about. I invite you to go there right now as soon as you can today – ANewStory.com. Please take a few minutes. It could change everything.
Grabbing Jesus with one hand or with both hands; it's the difference between being saved and being lost.