“Everything the Bible says about sin is true OF me; everything the Bible says about God’s love is true FOR me.” – Tullian Tchividjian in One Way Love.
Imagine this scenario: The most horrible human, Satan’s greatest masterpiece, is a rapist of women and children who has never exhibited an ounce of regret, and today he’s in a local hospital about to die.
On Good Friday.
Vengeful and angry, he thinks back and enjoys the memories of a lifetime hurting others. Since his first day of consciousness, he has manifested hatred towards everyone and rebellion has been his modus operandi. Theft, gossip, murder and violence are all part of his celebrated identity.
And even today, while death arrives to win the battle, he is looking for one last victim to harass. Finally, during his last hour, an older nurse approaches him carefully with a glass of water.
Yet somehow, the man cannot be cruel. The way she smells and walks and smiles, invites him to stop the hunt and reply instead with a half grumbled, “Thank you.”
The words taste unusual to him, but her kindness warms his heart.
The older nurse knows all about his cold, lonely journey. After hearing news of his capture, the hospital staff have been talking about him all week-long. The doctors are happy to let him suffer and the other nurses refuse to treat him.
They give him a lesser dosage of morphine than they would have given to other patients in the same condition.
And not one soul has come to visit. His sad end feels like justice… but this soft-spoken nurse, willing to override the past, smiles back and says, “You’re welcome.”
He cannot remember the last time anyone spoke calmly to him and he is glad that she starts a conversation. On and on she goes, chatting about her grandkids and Jesus, heaven and hell, food and music. He is confused as to why he wants to listen, but he does.
When she finally offers to pray together, he cannot help but nod a yes. She feels giddy for the victory and can sense God’s presence invading the room. As a soft whisper he repeats the words she slowly says and on his very last breath on earth, the most horrible human being feels forgiven.
A tear down his cheek.
A sense of peace in his soul.
The hand of the older nurse on his shoulder.
And God on the inside.
Now answer these questions: Do you believe this man will enjoy eternal life in heaven? Just like you and me? Forever and ever? Do you agree that he will be in paradise with Jesus if he declared with his mouth and believed in his heart?
You see, salvation is not about what we do, it’s about whom we believe in.
Getting to heaven is not about saying the right things, but about confessing the Right One. We get to experience eternity in the Father’s delight not by any single act of self-righteousness but by the One who remained righteous till the end.
Jesus fulfilled the law perfectly so that we could get fulfilled with Him completely.
Any other story is a fabricated lie.
Any other news is not the good news.
Jesus paid it all.
Salvation is free.
If you are being charged anything, then you are being robbed.
We know this to be scripturally accurate because the first recorded person to become a resident of heaven was the thief who hanged next to Jesus. They died minutes apart. One with a perfect record, the other with a long list of faults. In the gospels of Matthew and Mark we hear of both criminals mocking the Christ between them but Luke shares a change of heart in one of them; a moment where the thief who deserves the cross discovers grace.
Both criminals have received judgment according to the law, both are experiencing the penalty for their sins, only one makes the choice to believe.
Both he and Jesus have been together in paradise ever since.
If salvation is by faith, who deceived you to believe you can earn it or lose it by your works?
This truth (and this good news) are worth dying for. Every other religion demands undertaking works, but our relationship with God is enjoyed by receiving. We are justified by the faith of the Son of God and that is the only thing capable of determining our eternal home.
“Christ himself is the place of mercy for our sins—and not our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2
Jesus died for ISIS. For Trump. For Billy Graham. For Obama. For Hitler. For Mother Teresa. For Kanye. For Me. For You.
It is the perfect day to share this good news with others.
Yes, it’s Friday… but Sunday is coming!
What has Jesus done for you? Comment below and let’s share the good news with all.
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