When our marriage was young, and our children were younger, we lived in the Grand Junction, Colorado area. Junction was surrounded by heavily-forested mountains, which we called, simply, “The High Country.” Back then our family spent a good amount of time hunting and camping in those mountains. We had one of the original Ford Bronco four wheelers, not much bigger than an old Army Jeep. It did have a steel top, though, so we could stay out of the weather.
Packing our Bronco for a weekend camp out was a chore. What with our five kids—Heather, age one, Tim, three, Gene, five, Rob, ten and Heidi, twelve, Kelly, our boxer dog, the water, pop, coolers of food Mom had prepared (good groceries!) our tent, camp stove, my archery equipment (or guns) and anything else we needed shoved in to boot—we usually had a full rig.
I painted this picture for you so you will understand what happened next.
One Friday evening we were loaded, ready to head for the high country on one of our safaris. “Everybody ready to go?” I asked as I turned in the seat to watch out the back windows for traffic at the end of our driveway. (It was not easy in that tight Bronco, seeing around, over, and through all our kids and the dog!)
As I began to back up slowly, I glanced back out of the windshield quickly one last time and there, standing alone, in front of the departing car, was forlorn three-year-old Timothy, waving a bewildered good bye! He had been standing close to the grill, out of sight.
Have you ever experienced a time in your life when something happened—something that you had caused—which instantly became heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time?
Brakes were locked, engine stopped, Mom and Dad piled out of the Bronco like lightening to rescue our little boy. I had been so busy making sure the incidentals were all loaded, that I had neglected to personally check on each of our kids! The most important cargo! I just had assumed it was going to happen as per normal.
Now, consider this. There is coming a day soon, perhaps sooner than we might like, when Jesus is going to roll into the clouds in His four-wheel rig, all loaded and ready to take His children away to heaven’s high country. But when He shouts, “EVERYBODY READY TO GO?” will every one of our kids and grand-kids be in His Bronco with Him? Or will a few be left behind, standing in the driveway, waving good bye—waiting for the horrors of the great tribulation that will fall on the earth after Christ takes His children to heaven.
And now the good part! How does one become a child of God? You must be BORN into the family of God, just like any earthly family. With one exception!
Human birth is physical, from beginning to end. On the other hand, being born into God’s family is a spiritual birth and lasts for eternity. It is Spiritual, in that the grace of God accomplishes it.
Grace is the heart of God, choosing to give an undeserved gift to undeserving sinners! In other words, God has chosen to give an unworthy human being, such as you or me, the gift of eternal life, thereby making us a full member of His family.
It is a package deal.
1. We are sinners by nature, in fact and in practice!
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 (ESV)
2. We owe an eternal debt to almighty God for our sin.
For the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23a (ESV)
3. Instead, God loves us so much that He wants to give us eternal life as a free gift!
But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23b (ESV)
7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:7-9 (ESV)
4. Why would God do this? How is this possible?
ANSWER: God loved us so much that he laid OUR punishment on a substitute who suffered and died in our place. A sacrificial lamb!
“For God so loved the world (that’s you and me,) that he gave his only Son (Jesus) that whoever (again, that’s you and me) believes in him (IE: rests our eternal destiny in Jesus as our savior and Lord, believing that He died in our place on the cross) should not (will never, ever) perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (ESV)
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 John 3:1 (ESV)
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 (ESV)
He (God the Father) 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? Romans 8:32 (ESV)
I give them (God’s family) eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:28 (ESV)
You see, God did not make this thing a big doctrinal deal. He kept it so simple that even a child can easily understand it!
If you have never understood the true gospel, maybe wondered what it meant to be “saved,” or to be born into God’s family, now you know. You have no excuse to put it off any longer. You could now never stand before God at the Great White Throne of final judgment and honestly say, “But I didn’t know!”
TODAY, believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died in your place to pay for the sin debt you owe God. Ask Him in prayer to forgive your sin and bring you into God’s family as one of His children—for eternity.
My family and all other parents reading this blog, Count the Children! Invite each of your children and grandchildren who are of an age to understand to read this blog. It might be the most important things they ever read.
God the Father, Son, and Spirit love you, and Sue and Carl love you also. We are praying for you.