When I was a young boy I remember seeing a sign outside a local Salvation Army hall; the sign said ‘Jesus saves!’ I spent the rest of that day wondering which football team he played for!
Of course Jesus Christ never actually played football; he came to save humanity in a spiritual sense. Jesus used several illustrations to explain exactly what this meant:
Human beings are lost without God, so Jesus came to find them and bring them back to God.
Human beings had sold themselves as slaves to sin, so Jesus came to pay the price to set them free from sin-slavery.
Human beings had become enemies of God, so Jesus died to reconcile them and make them God’s children.
When Jesus saves, he saves us from the punishment which our sin deserves. God has decreed that the penalty for sin is eternal death and separation from God in hell, and Jesus came to save us from this awful fate.
When a world-class goalkeeper makes a spectacular save, he puts his body on the line. In order to save us forever, Jesus allowed Roman soldiers to nail his hands and feet to a cross of wood.
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son to die on a cross, bearing our sin and its punishment so that we could become God’s children. After dying, Jesus was buried. Then came the greatest comeback in history, as Jesus rose from the dead and returned to heaven where he sits on the right hand of God.
Final Score: Sin, Death & Hell - 0 Jesus - 1
Having defeated death, Jesus has the authority to give eternal life as a free gift to all who put their faith in him. Jesus shares the victory he has won with all who believe in him. Long after the world has forgotten who won the football, those who love Jesus will still be enjoying the blessing and joy of God in heaven.
What about you? Everyone likes to follow a winning side – and with Jesus you are sure to win. Yet the choice is not quite that easy. You might choose to live only for what this world has to offer. Many people value wealth, possessions, pleasure or power more than they value eternal life. But Jesus said ‘What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?’
Being on the winning side does not guarantee an easy road to glory; in fact, it might temporarily cause us to miss out on what the world thinks of as ‘success’. But the voice of Jesus is still calling us to ‘take up your cross and follow me.’ Only by following Jesus can we have assurance of eternal life. Sadly, many people today still choose to reject Jesus and his salvation. The point is, no one can play on two opposing teams at once. You can’t follow the crowd and follow Christ. So it’s time to make your decision.
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