Romans 10:9 says, "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
Saved from what?
That was the question Caleb has been wrestling with for some time. Through consistent time in church, countless conversations with his father and me, and I am sure not a little amount of wonder and frustration on his own part, he simply could not understand what was so bad about him that he needed a savior. After all, he is a pretty good kid. And he knows it. Come to think of it, why do any of us need a savior?
It's a pretty small little word. And it makes me less palatable to some, perhaps you. That's okay. I am learning that God's approval means far more to me than man's. I am endeavoring to teach that lesson to my children as well - including Caleb. You see, he had a pretty common assumption about his worth; namely that because he wasn't so bad he really did deserve to be given a pardon for any wrongs he may have committed. You know, the ole hardened-criminal-turned-reformed-man-so-let-me-out-of-prison-early deal. Only it was easier for Caleb since he wasn't a hardened criminal (except to Mary). After all, what can a nearly 7 year old really do that is so offensive to a loving God that he would be committed to an eternal torment without a savior's forgiveness? I can see the logic in that question.
The problem is the measurement used for justification. We are pitifully limited, as humans, to truly understand much of anything outside of our own experiential scope. And let's face it, many times we are limited in understanding things even within our experiential scope. But one of the biggest mistakes we make in determining our worth is to lay ourselves beside one another and declare, with much pomp and circumstance, "I'm better than you are." Don't forget the 3rd grade-playground sing-songy voice. That is essentially what we say when we declare to the heavens, "I'm good enough to receive the blessings and glories of everything this life has to offer, and everything a life after death can bring because I wasn't that bad. I mean, did you get a load of that guy over there? He left his wife because he just didn't love her anymore. I stuck with my spouse even through that nasty business of bankruptcy. I'm better than he is. Oh, and check out my neighbor! She yells at her kids constantly, taking off at all hours of the night to do who knows what, while I had the patience and presence of mind to remain faithful to my own children, even when they rebelled against me. I'm better than she is. And don't even get me started on my co-workers, parents, and the vast majority of my friends. I regularly prove through my actions that I make better choices than they do. So... bring on the good stuff." Here is the problem with all that:
God is perfect.
God is the fullness of perfection, justice and love. So, when we go to Him and state our reasons for receiving a pardon they suddenly don't fly. While you might have felt pretty hot standing next to the local juvenile delinquent you can't even stand when you are in the presence of an all-mighty, most powerful and holy God. And the clincher is that no matter how hard we try from here on out, we will always have a past that keeps reminding us of how utterly unattainable perfection is for us.
Yep, we need a savior. In fact, we need not simply a little "s" savior, but a big "S" Savior.
In order to be saved from my own imperfection I can't merely have another imperfect human offer to make me perfect. The old saying, "two wrongs don't make a right" comes in handy to illustrate the simplicity of this concept. This would be akin to accepting the pledge of an already convicted criminal for the veracity of a tried criminal's character, and then the convicted criminal accepting any penalty the other fellow may deserve. Umm, yeah, that's not going to cut it. If we all thought justice could be served with this our prison systems would be empty. Nope, I need to be made perfect through the power of God. But it is God that requires me to be perfect. How does that work?
Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Yep, Jesus Christ, the bodily incarnation of the Deity (Col 2:9), willingly sacrificed himself for me so that I might be justified before a holy God. He required perfection from me, then supplied perfection for me. Caleb began to understand that through the past several months until finally, a few nights ago he came to us and confessed his need for a Savior.
Caleb realized that he could never be perfect. And he knew, as all humans do (Romans 1:2) that there is a Divine Master who is perfect. He began to desire reconciliation with his God, and trusted through faith that his God desired reconciliation with him, providing Christ as the mediator. As a result, Caleb was reborn spiritually.
On May 2, 2010 Caleb Joseph Randall became my brother in Christ.
Welcome to the family, son.