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Will you receive Jesus or reject Him?

Unsplash/Nghia Le
Unsplash/Nghia Le

Perhaps you are someone who hopes to enter God’s family. If so, please be advised that there are various ways to fall short of your goal. For example, you cannot impress Jesus enough to get in, nor can you buy your way in. And if you assume you can talk your way into God’s family, think again. There are only two options available: Either receive Christ as Savior and enter God’s family by grace or reject Jesus and remain left out.

The Apostle John wrote, “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13).

It is natural for man to assume that he must work his way into God’s good graces through his religious deeds and noble efforts. In fact, this is the most common mistake people make regarding religion. It is actually counterintuitive for a religious person to stop trying to save his own soul by his good works. And this helps to explain why so many religious people continue to strive so hard to work their way into Heaven.

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Scripture reveals the only way to enter God’s family. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Just think about it. If man could gain God’s acceptance by doing good works, why in the world would the Father have sent His only Son to suffer the agony of the cross? The Apostle Paul explained it this way: “If righteousness could be gained through the Law, Christ died for nothing” (Galatians 2:21). I assure you my friend that Christ did not suffer and die on the cross for nothing!

While you cannot work your way into God’s family, you can certainly believe your way in. Salvation is a free gift that is only received through faith in Christ. Will you trust God enough to take Him at His Word, or will you persist in attempting to create your own path to Paradise? Everyone who charts their own course ends up regretting it. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

You see, a person who wants to be saved must let go of his preconceived notions and humble himself at the foot of the cross. One can only come to Christ as a contrite sinner who wants to be forgiven and is willing to live for the Lord. The blood of Jesus washes aways the sins of everyone who comes to God through this holy approach.

You can either receive Jesus or reject Him. There is no third option, as I explained in my 2014 CP op-ed, “The Impossibility of Remaining Neutral Toward Jesus.” I wrote, “How many months do you think you have left on Earth? How many hours? By this time tomorrow, will you be any closer to trusting Christ for salvation? Or will you tearfully look back on these words one day and wish you had taken the message of Christ seriously? I hope that doesn’t happen to you, especially after all Jesus went through to pay for your sins on the cross.”

Refusing to receive Christ as Savior is by far the biggest blunder you could ever make. Sadly, some people think of Jesus merely as a good moral teacher, but not as their Savior from sin. Those who make this monumental mistake are saying “No” to the Savior of the world. They are rejecting the only lifeline God will ever throw to man. There is no other way to be saved from sin, death and Hell. As the Apostle Peter proclaimed, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

And John wrote, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36). You might ask: “Why would God’s wrath remain on me?” Simply put, it is due to your sins against God. These sins have separated you from your Creator. You and I deserve to pay for our sins, and yet God provided a way for us to escape punishment and be given the “indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15) of everlasting life in Heaven. Thankfully, “the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him” (Isaiah 53:5). Christ endured the punishment on the cross that you and I deserve to pay for our sins.

Sounds too good to be true? The fact of the matter is that it is true, whether you currently accept it or not. Those who are spiritually blind do not see where they are going. It is only when God opens your eyes that you are brought out of spiritual darkness and begin to walk in the light.

As the Lord told Saul of Tarsus who became the Apostle Paul: “I am sending you to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17-18).

Will you repent of your sins and receive Jesus as Savior? You are not getting any younger, and your existence throughout eternity will never end. This is not a make-believe scenario. Scripture presents the absolute truth about God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness, eternal salvation, Heaven and Hell.

“God wants everyone to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Whether you choose to accept the truth and respond accordingly remains to be seen. What will you do today regarding God’s command to repent, and the Savior's invitation to believe the good news and be saved? (see Acts 17:30 and Mark 1:15).

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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