(The jailer) said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:30b-31
In 1789 Benjamin Franklin said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Now Franklin was a creative fellow, but he didn't create this expression. Seventy years earlier, in his book, The Cobbler of Preston, Christopher Bullock had written "'Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes."
With a few notable biblical exceptions, nobody has been able to mount a successful argument against these common-sense expressions, which is why this next line is so important: God doesn't want you to die.
It's true. God doesn't want to carry out His sentence of condemnation, which your sins demand. God would much rather transform us into people who can live forever, free of condemnation and damnation. So all of this might happen, so you might be redeemed, God did what no reasonable person would ever do: He sent His Son, Jesus, into this world to take your place.
Humanity didn't deserve Him. We didn't want Him; indeed, most rejected Him, and some even called for His death. But so Judgment Day might find you acceptable, Jesus paid the ransom price your disobedience demanded.
Jesus was born true Man so He would be one of us -- true God so He could defeat sin, death and devil. Jesus spent His entire life waging the battle for our salvation. When the devil tried to hold out another route, an easier route, a less painful route, Jesus said, "No!"
Always about His Father's business, Jesus invested His life in your salvation. Rejected and disrespected, Jesus was hated rather than honored, laughed at rather than loved. He walked the painful path that would lead to your redemption.
Read through the Gospel narratives and you will see Jesus lived a life of love, which is beyond your understanding.
* Although He was innocent, Jesus found Himself condemned.
* Although He was gentle, He was whipped, beaten and spit upon.
* Although He promised only forgiveness and perfect peace, He was stricken, smitten and afflicted.
The sins that weighed you down -- which demanded your damnation -- were picked up by Him and carried to Calvary's cruel cross. All this He endured so you might be forgiven. Yet, through His stripes and bruises, through His suffering and death, we are healed.
You can be certain of this: we all can live, if we have faith in a living Lord Jesus as our Savior.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, because of sin's control, the world has never had use for Your Son, our Savior. Grant the Holy Spirit may enter these hearts and transform them to a place that welcomes the Savior who will forgive their sins and let them live forever. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries