:01 Second Chance

You’ve seen the scene—tens of thousands of screaming college students and parents—bundled up, huddled up, and always somewhere in the crowd is a wildly crazy group of shirtless guys painted in school colors, jumping up and down in the frigid cold and cheering. It’s Saturday afternoon college football, and few sporting events rise to its drama. In November we witnessed the dramatic end to the #1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide and the #4-ranked Auburn Tigers. The game clock expired with the teams in a dead tie—28 to 28. But the runner stepped out of bounds with one second to go, and that second was put back on the clock. Alabama attempted an unbelievably long 57-yard field goal that would clinch the game. The kick fell short, and Auburn player Chris Davis caught the ball in his own end zone and returned it 109 yards to victory. Game over! Undefeated Alabama had been knocked out of a national championship game.

The fans, the coaches, and the players stood in stunned silence, hand over mouth, looking at the scoreboard—one side in disbelief that they lost and the other equally shocked that they won. Then the clamor of cheers and cries erupted. The thrill of victory matched by the agony of defeat was seen in the faces of all. In the end, for most of us it was only entertainment; we had no skin in the game.

But life is a game that we do have skin in, and at its end there is a score. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:11–12).

God sent His Son into this world for our benefit. The apostle Peter wrote of this fact: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18). God is just; we are not. We sin; Christ paid for our sin. This was accomplished to weight the score decidedly in our favor. God’s Word says, “For he [God] hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin [Christ]; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

When life is over there is no replay, there is no second chance. However, God gives you the chance now to accept his free gift of salvation.

We must trust that Christ died in our place on the cross to make full payment for our sin. We need this atonement for when the final score is tallied at the end of life. At that time of accounting, it would be infinitely better for us to stand before God having accepted Christ as our personal Savior and thus enjoy the thrill of victory than to stand before Him in stunned silence and feel the agony of defeat. There is a heaven, and Christ is the way.

Article by Sam Aylestock

Singles and Student Ministries, Valley Forge Baptist

Is God Fair?

“IT’S NOT FAIR!” you’ll hear people say. Yes, many things in this world are not fair. People ask, “How can God, who loves the world, send people to Hell?” The problem with that question is the premise upon which it is built. In reality, God has not “sent” one person to Hell! The fact is that the perfect, holy, and righteous God of Heaven has made a way for every person to be able to step into Heaven. First, God warned Adam and Eve (the first man and woman) about eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Second, He offered them every other tree in the beautiful Garden of Eden! Third, God provided forgiveness after Adam and Eve chose to disobey His instructions. The same is true for you and me today. Everyone who is reading this today is a sinner, just as Adam and Eve were sinners. God remains perfect, holy, and righteous. Heaven, where God lives, is perfect, holy, and righteous. It would not be “fair” for any sinner to enter Heaven.

The greatest news of all is that God loved us so much that He sent the only Person that could offer a perfect payment for sin. God the Father sent Jesus Christ, His only Son, to die as payment for our sin. Our sin separated us from God, but Jesus built a bridge from the perfect, holy, and righteous God to us. God is so “fair” that He will receive anyone who comes through Jesus to Him. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). God offers this forgiveness to every person. God is absolutely “fair!” Trust Him and accept His gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ as payment for your sin.

BracelinArticle by Jim Bracelin
Minister to the Deaf
Vice President of Silent Word Ministries

An Eternal Home

The evening prior to my grandfather’s open-heart surgery, I sat at the foot of his hospital bed as he recounted the exchange he had had with his surgeon. “The doctor told me I might not live through the surgery tomorrow,” my grandfather explained, and then added “I told him don’t worry about a thing—I know where I’m going if I die.”

It was the last conversation I ever had with him and the last time I ever saw him alive. Within days of the surgery, he went home to be with the Lord forever. Grandpop died as he lived—knowing there is a God in heaven who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for his sins.  Grandpop trusted God’s Word that promises in I John 5:13 “…that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

Grandpop, the oldest of 11 kids—nine boys and two girls—grew up in a single-parent home and sought to provide for his mother and siblings during the Depression Era. A favorite memory of mine is the story he told me that, while dating my grandmother, he was forced to cancel a Saturday-night event because he had nothing acceptable to wear. He explained at her doorstep that he had gotten home late from work that day and his brothers had gone out before him and taken all of the shirts. Soon after that, my grandparents were married by the justice of the peace and spent the next 56 years together as husband and wife.

Though I haven’t seen it in years, I still remember Grandpop’s Bible. It sat on the end table next to his reading chair. The black leather cover reminded me of a catcher’s mitt that had endured a thousand fastballs. The Bible had become worn from years of use and countless journeys to church. To Grandpop, God’s name was not just idle talk at dinner tables or whispers in hushed corners. His name was to be proclaimed among men! Grandpop’s life’s focus was an enduring relationship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

What about you? Do you know for certain if you were to die today where you would go for eternity? Are you confident that you are going to heaven or does the thought of death lead to doubt and fear?

If doubt and fear have crept in, I have good news to share with you today! The Bible says in Luke 19:10 that Jesus is “come to seek and to save that which was lost.” The bad news is that because of mankind’s sin, every person is lost, and the Bible clearly states that “all have sinned” (see Romans 3:23). This sin is what creates a separation from God. Mankind’s attempt to bridge this separation by way of good works, religion, money or morality will never be successful. You must know that it is only by way of Jesus Christ’s paying the penalty by dying on the cross for our sin that the debt could be paid in full. The “bridge” to eternal life in heaven has been built by Christ and Christ alone! What’s left now for you to do? How do you cross that bridge to eternal life? Admit that you are a sinner and “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31).

 Article by Ray Clifford
Ray helps in leading the College and Career ministry at Valley Forge Baptist.