A few days ago, riding down the road, I turned on the radio. I missed the first part of an incident being reported, but what I understood was this: a man had somehow met with an accident and was treading water in the ocean. Whether this was a boating or small plane accident, I don’t know, but the report stated that the man had been treading water for several hours. The Coast Guard found him and thankfully rescued the man. When the Coast Guard came upon the scene, they discovered that several sharks had been circling the man who had been bleeding from a cut on his forehead. The man said that he had been frantically kicking the sharks for about three hours.
There is no doubt, that if not for the outside intervention of the Coast Guard, in time the man would surely have died and met a terrible end. The man had great resolve. He was highly motivated to do whatever he could in his own strength to save himself. Even so, he could only have kicked sharks for a limited amount of time. Without the arrival of the Coast Guard, no matter his efforts, the man would be lost forever.
I thought to myself that this is exactly what takes place in our spiritual world. When we think of eternity, dreaming of what heaven may be like, desiring to get there, it is absolutely useless to think for a moment that our own efforts, no matter how noble, will be our ticket to paradise. Jesus plainly told His disciples in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” We may tell ourselves that our good works will earn us a place in heaven. We may tell ourselves that our generosity will secure our allocated spot. We may deceive ourselves into believing that enduring suffering with a joyful attitude will be just what’s needed to take us to heaven.
None of the above is true. We humans actually make it so very difficult in the things we tell ourselves, doing our best to convince our own selves that we are good enough. In speaking about human effort we are told clearly in Romans 3:10, “There is no one that is good enough; no, not one.”
Hoping for heaven doesn’t have to be uncertain. It doesn’t have to be hard. Understanding the truth is the most beautiful life changing experience that brings peace to man on earth and certainty about eternity. Take a look at God’s own words from Romans 3:23-26: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Jesus Christ when He freed us from the penalty of our sins. For God presented Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus Christ sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in past times, for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He makes sinners right in His sight when they believe in Jesus.”
No one has to tread the waters of uncertainty, depending on their own resolve and effort to save them from the deceiving sharks of this world. The only necessary thing is to look to Jesus. Like the Coast Guard who saved the day, only He can reserve a place for you in heaven, saving you from every sin, and covering you by His perfect grace.