If You Have Miscalculated
Why did he die? The obvious reason is easy. His pickup was hit broadside by a log truck. But beyond that, he died because he miscalculated. His last words show he was aware of both the intersection ahead and of the approaching truck that had the right-of-way. Stupid miscalculation, wasn't it? Yet I have done some pretty stupid things myself, although I am still here to tell about the other man's mistake. People do err in judgment, and we all know it.
Yet this man's miscalculation was not his real problem. The intersection was clearly marked with a stop sign. Perfect calculations were not needed--simple obedience would have saved him. Some folks feel that traffic signals are but a nuisance and interfere with personal freedom. Not so. They save us from the perils of high-speed misjudgments. The sign, if it had been heeded, would have saved this man from a senseless death and spared a new bride from becoming a new widow. It stands, instead, as a monument to his folly.
We face similar problems in relation to spiritual and eternal matters. God has fully surveyed the "traffic hazards" of the soul. In spite of our inability to calculate correctly, we may be spared by taking Him at His Word. We take the road to spiritual destruction when we are unwilling to go, yield, or stop at His command.
Even churchgoing people may miscalculate spiritually. Jesus said, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). Let's think about a few of the miscalculations some churchgoing people make:
Professing to believe the Bible. Many profess to believe the Bible but make no effort to learn its teachings. That is like believing in traffic signals but not having the foggiest notion what they are for.
Satisfaction with knowledge about the Bible. Some are satisfied to know what the Bible teaches but have no intention of obeying. Can you imagine the chaos and destruction if most people behaved that way on our streets and highways? "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22).
Blind sincerity. "It doesn't matter what you believe as long as you are sincere." My friend, that is patently false. The value of sincerity is strictly limited to that which is factual. Believing in what is untrue is delusion.
Following others. "It must be okay, because many Christians are doing it." Well, just how many vultures are eating carrion, anyway? Let's not be taken in with that one. The Bible says that the way to destruction is wide, and many people--even those claiming to know God--travel that way (Matthew 7:3, 22, 23).
Trusting in good works. "I've done many good things." Perhaps so. But that can be merely like salve over a deadly wound, or a Band-Aid over cancer. God is looking for the kind of good works that are produced only by a faith grounded in Jesus Christ.
Relying on good feelings. We may feel good about giving God an hour in church every week. The building has religious appeal, the music is soothing, the sermon is good. It seems so right to give when the offering plate comes around. Feelings are not unimportant. But we cannot use feelings alone to determine whether we are right with God.
Finding confidence in the church's approval. "My church accepts what I am doing, so it must be all right." My friend, the church has no authority to decide moral issues except in concurrence with the Word of God. Many churches have been taken in with social trends that not only are detrimental to society, but are also in outright contradiction to the Word of God.
My friend, how is it with you? Are you in faith obeying God's traffic signals, or are you calculating on something else to save you? When your life ends, will the Word of God have made you wise unto salvation? Or will it--like the stop sign--stand as an eternal indictment against your religious miscalculation?
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12).
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19).
"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).
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).
"For to me to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21a).
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" (Hebrews 10:24, 25a).
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