“There’s a bit of a problem with your analogy.” He announced the moment I emerged from the kitchen with a half-empty bottle of water in hand.
In as much as I love getting questions when it comes to the faith I have in Jesus the Son of God, I know my friend is quite smart. He can pick an argument the size of an elephant apart with a pin. Going for the jugular of an argument is his thing. Quickly, I swallowed what I had in my mouth, and then I went to sit across from him. With my countenance I announced that I was ready for him – though, I acknowledged within me that it’s not me.
“The driver. The cab. The ride home.” He started. “And you seated with me in the vehicle. How do I fit Jesus in to it? Is he the driver? Or he’s the cab? Or he’s my friend going with me on the ride? I know the part about Him claiming to be the way but you can deal with that too, if it’s won’t be asking for too much.”
I sighed but it’s not out of frustration. It’s because I could feel his genuine confusion and thirst for the truth. Then, I answered as it came to me –
“You know we call Jesus LORD.”
“Yes, but there are other lords too – or aren’t the others who claims to be the way to salvation not subtly or blatantly demanding that they be regarded as such?”
“Exactly! There are other lords but unlike them, Jesus isn’t just Lord because we say He is. He is LORD because He is.”
“Thank you.” he said. “You’ve just said nothing.”
“He heals the sick.”
“There are miracles of healings in other faiths too.”
“He controlled the elements. Is there such in other faiths? Any other so called lord walking on the waters and in a storm? Anyone of them feeding a multitude with a boy’s lunch? Or turning water to wine? Which of them rose from the dead? Which of them called a dead man to come out alive from the tomb – before witnesses? Which of them transfigured and/or ascended to heaven in the presence of witnesses? I emphasize witnesses.
“You see, those other lords claim territories and if they can, theirs are rare and limited control of parts of the natural elements. The other lords are seeking elevation; on the contrary, Jesus condescended yet He’s risen above all and He rules over all.
“Jesus is the way. He’s the vehicle. He’s the driver. He’s the friend seated with you through the journey. He’s everything – and much more.
“He is not anything if He’s not everything. Even as our Savior, He doesn’t require the assistance or intervention of an angel or a saint – any or all of them. He did it all by Himself and He completed it. Tetelestai – that’s what He said.”
“What does that mean?”
“It is finished –John 19:30,” I translated, and then I continued. “And it’s because He’s everything that we know that He is LORD – even over death.
“But you should know that when we talk about death, we’re not just talking about the fact that Jesus died upon the cross, and was buried. We’re also talking about the second death – the final death from which none can be redeemed. The punishment for the sin of man isn’t dying because both the so-called good and the acclaimed bad die. It’s the second death which Jesus, being made to be sin for us, took for us: ‘The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,’ (1 Corinthians 15:56-57, NKJV).”
“But how can I be sure he’d do these for me?”
“He’s done it already. The issue is whether you’ll accept it or not,” I replied. “He walked upon the waters and kept another afloat it on too. Do you think he was showing off? He’s telling us something about His faithfulness and ability to save and keep us.”
“But it was only Peter that He got on the water.”
“There’s no end to your queries, right?” I replied.
“I need answers.”
“I agree that you do. And as for your point – salvation is an individual decision, that’s what it’s telling you. We don’t get saved in group; each has to make a decision to trust in Jesus. Why do you think that the primary level at which God deals with man since Jesus ascended back to heaven is in the spirit?
“Also, Jesus didn’t get Peter on the water – Peter chose to walk on the word He received from the LORD. It’s the Word that you should pay attention to. And what does the Words says? For it is from God alone that you have your life through Christ Jesus. He showed us God’s plan of salvation; he was the one who made us acceptable to God; he made us pure and holyand gave himself to purchase our salvation, (1 Corinthians 1:30, TLB) and Now we can come fearlessly right into God’s presence, assured of his glad welcome when we come with Christ and trust in him, (Ephesians 3:12, TLB).
“Tell me, doesn’t that sound wonderful enough for you to want to be part of it? And does it seem likes something man could’ve invented or achieve on their own?”
“I’m almost convinced,” he replied.
“Like seriously?” I was almost shocked into having a seizure. I wondered what he’s still searching for. I sighed, and then asked, “What more do you want?”
“Everything,” he answered. “Every assurance. Every word. Everything.”
“Did you get everything when you’re born?”
“What do you mean?”
“Did you get all the food you’d need in life the first time you’re fed? Haven’t you been eating as the need arises since?”
“As you eat for your physical growth and wellbeing, so also you have to continue eating for your spiritual wellbeing. ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,’ (Matthew 4:4, NKJV). And give us this day our daily bread, (Matthew 6:11, NKJV).
“I get your points – everything. It’s not that I’ve been exceptionally bad yet, I won’t deceive myself that I’m spotless either; I can’t see in myself any reason why God should accept me. And even if there’s a chance for acceptance, I have the feeling that I should have to do something, make some contributions towards it.”
“There are certain issues from your statement that I think I should deal with, one after the other – maybe that’d help.”
“You talked about your feeling – whether it’s the presence or the absence of an emotion, it doesn’t matter. Feelings are too fickle to live by. Hunger and thirst are feelings of deprivations but after you’ve got something to eat and drink, where are the initial feelings? In other words, feelings can be changed. On the contrary, the Word of God remains unchanging, so don’t go by your feelings, go by that which is certainty itself, the word. Think about it – how much can you confidently rely on a decision your mechanic is making about your car based on his feelings? What you’ll ask for is a sure diagnosis and solution, not some guesswork. If you put your fellow human to such a standard, don’t insult God by putting Him on a lower rung for your own convenience.
“As God is above so is His standard way beyond what we can imagine. “… My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts, (Isaiah 55:8-9, NKJV).
And so, as a matter of course, we can’t attain God’s standard on our own – not even by our best efforts, and we can’t ever get enough credits from what we do to save ourselves. Really, if God doesn’t do it for us, we’re utterly hopeless. Graciously, however, He did it for us. Indeed – Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV). It’s either you take it or you leave it – He saves you all by Himself or you’re not saved at all. Your part is acceptance; it’s not contribution.
Second, you might be thinking that your situation is peculiar to you but it isn’t.”
“How?” he asked.
“Your situation isn’t as dramatic as it was on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18 but it’s not any less decisive. Then it was about the choice to be made, as it is for you now. We all have to choose the way to go and we can’t afford to go on just the hope that it’d turn out to be the right way, gambling isn’t allowed in things that truly matters in life.
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! (Joel 3:14, NKJV) and where there’s a decision to be made, there’s confusion in the atmosphere. However, the one and only true God has made salvation so simple that we can only miss it by our own choice and fault.”
“You think so?”
“I know so,” I replied. “And it’s because it’s written that – if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced,” (Romans 10:9-12, New Living Translation).
“If you don’t want to be disgraced or disappointed from the here of your mortal existence to the there of your eternal being then Jesus is the only way to go.”