Written by Rev. Nicholas Davelaar
Published in the Courier of Russellville, Arkansas on July 31, 2015
Last year the New York Times ran a story about Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York. It focused on his recent work on a number of social causes.
The story itself was predictable, except for the following paragraph, which came at the very end.
“But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: ‘I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.’”
Really? What gives him reason to believe that?
What does the Bible say? Does the Bible give him or any of us reason to trust in what we’ve done?
No. Absolutely not.
For instance, in Acts 4:12 we hear the apostle Peter say this concerning Jesus: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Peter was quite clear: salvation is not a do-it-yourself project. We are reconciled to God only in Jesus Christ, on account of who he is and what he did, particularly in his death and resurrection.
Similarly, we hear Paul explain in 1 Tim 2:5-6 that “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
One of the Protestant Reformers, writing nearly five centuries ago, considered the question of why the Son of God is called “Jesus,” meaning “savior.” On the basis of those passages and others, he plainly stated: “Because he saves us from our sins. Salvation cannot be found in anyone else; it is futile to look for any salvation elsewhere.”
And then, just in case any of his readers didn’t fully understand him, he went on to ask, “Do those who look for their salvation and security in saints, in themselves, or elsewhere really believe in the only savior Jesus?”
Answer: “No. Although they boast of being his, by their deeds they deny their only savior and deliverer, Jesus. Either Jesus is not a perfect savior, or those who in true faith accept this savior have in him all they need for their salvation.”
Where do you stand today? Whom or what is your confidence in?
Think about it.
For further study, read Romans 3:19-26 and Colossians 1:19-20.