When people look at you, what do they see? Do they see Jesus smiling back at them from behind your eyes? You can’t help but do this if you have a firm grip on just how kind and gracious God has been to you. If you really understand the depth of God’s favor and protection…His plan and purpose for your life…the victory over sin and death He has afforded you…how can you do anything but manifest His love through you?
For many, they’re playing a version of the old game show, “Lets Make a Deal” with God. They’re bartering “good works and deeds” in hopes it will get them a free pass into heaven. Or they’re pinning their eternal hope on the shirt-tails of a Believing Grandparent. Neither will work…for there is no earthly commodity that exists that’s a fair exchange for our soul. We can’t trade anything we have for the free gift of salvation Jesus offers us…and no amount of good deeds will get us any closer to heaven. So the answer to the question, “What can a man give in exchange for his soul?” is simple…there is nothing.
It tells us in John 12:25 that, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Everyday is a struggle, where our affections are pulled one way or the other. The glitter and lure of the world is great, with its promises of immediate gratification and unending ecstasy. But the cold hard truth is that our excessive fondness for things of the world will only lead us down a path to self-destruction and death. For the world tells us to live today to the fullest… to eat, drink, and be merry, with no regard for tomorrow. But the Lord tells us that there is life beyond the grave, and that the world is blinding us from this truth. If I want to save my life, I must lose it in the person of Jesus Christ…I must turn my focus and affections from the temporal to the eternal…from the fleeting to the everlasting.
When was the last time you actually thanked God for saving you? When was the last time you expressed profound gratitude and appreciation for delivering your soul from the guilt and punishment of sin? If it’s been a while, then take the time right now to stop and thank Him. But as important… when was the last time you told someone else about Jesus? Isaiah 52:7 exclaims, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!” Telling someone the Good News of Jesus isn’t hard if you can imagine it this way…you’re simply a beggar telling another beggar where they can get bread.
Here the Apostle Paul was showing that he sought to find common ground with whoever he met…whether Jew, Christian, slave, master, weak, or strong in the faith…in order to preach the Gospel to all. Unfortunately as a people, we generally look for petty differences and disagreements than seek out things that we share. But if we would take the time to think about it, we have much more in common with each other than we can disagree about. Finding common ground with one another can also be easier if we ask ourselves this question first…In the eternal scheme of things, does this matter? Sure, there’s some non-negotiables…but really, the vast majority of stuff we fight about makes no difference at all.
There’s no other name, but Jesus. There’s no other way, but through Him. There’s no other person, thing or place that can give you eternal deliverance from God’s wrath and hell. I Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself as a ransom for all men -” Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the price for your sins… in order that you may have eternal life. Yes, there’s no other name, but Jesus.
God is a God of new beginnings. For there is no one on the face of the earth that is beyond God’s reach. If we but turn away from willfully deviating from the right path…our moral wrongdoing will not be judged.
But in contrast – every wonderful work you’ve done in the past does not entitle you to salvation if you choose to sin…for God is a just and fair God who judges by His own standard of righteousness.