What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the One who died -- more than that, who was raised -- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Romans 8:31-34
The mother of a nine-year-old boy got a call from his teacher. Most of us know such a call is not a good thing.
Preparing herself for the worst, mom listened as the teacher explained: "Today I saw something unusual, and I wanted to tell you about it."
Those opening words didn't make mom feel any better.
The teacher continued, "Today in our creative writing class, I shared Aesop's story about the hard-working ant and the lazy grasshopper. I told them how when winter came the ant had enough, and the grasshopper asked for a handout. Then I asked the children to finish the story. Their answers were divided up into two main groups:
* The first group wrote, 'The ant shared and both lived happily ever after.'
* The second group had the ant saying, 'Sorry, Mr. Grasshopper, I only have enough for myself. If I share, we will both starve.'
The whole class gave one of those two answers. The entire class did that, except for your son. Your son ended the story this way: 'The ant gave all of his food to the grasshopper, and the grasshopper lived happily ever after, but the ant died.'"
The teacher concluded, "At the bottom of his paper, your son drew a cross. I thought you'd want to know."
Great story, isn't it? That story is the unfinished story of every one of us. Obviously, we are the grasshoppers who have sinned and squandered our lives in pursuit of things trivial and trite. We realize the time is coming when we will pay for what we've done wrong.
The question is how will our story end?
ENDING 1: The first ending says you are on your own and you are going to die. That is the ending embraced by those who say there is no God, no sin, no condemnation, no heaven, and no hell.
ENDING 2: This ending is one embraced by most of the world's religions. They say if you work hard, if you try to do the best you can, maybe, just maybe, you might be all right. Of course, you can't be sure when you've done enough and when god is going to let you off the hook.
ENDING 3: This ending is unique to Christianity. Only Christianity says God came down and took your place under the Law. Only Christianity speaks of a Savior who endured hunger so we would be filled; went without an earthly home so we might have a heavenly home; suffered so we could be saved; died so we might live. Jesus took our place. Jesus gave up all so you might have all.
Only Christianity has the story end with us having our sins -- every one of our sins -- the worst, the most heinous, the most private and pathetic of our sins, forgiven. Only Christianity promises, with faith in the crucified and resurrected and ever-living Savior, we will live happily ever after.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for the eternal security, which has been won for me through the life, death and resurrection of my Savior. May You be thanked for Your mercy, grace and sacrifice, which grant me eternal life. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries