Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
Now that the selections have been made, the All-Star baseball season has begun. 12 of our best 10 year-old players are ready to represent our town in local and regional tournaments. Another great group of kids with an inspiring love for the sport and natural talent and baseball intuition that makes me jealous. They are ready to take the field and play in games that matter. But wait just a second! Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Before they are allowed to play, there are all kinds of red tape to cross. As a coach, I have to collect all sorts of “official” documentation for each player—original birth certificates and proof of residency, just to name a few. They need more “official” documents than there are weeks in the month-long season. Fortunately, the powers-that-be stop just shy of hair samples and blood draws…for now! After all documents are collected, in addition to another fee (of course), they are taken to an authorized Little League representative so they can validate and affirm each kid’s participation in the All-Star season. It’s ridiculous. All they want to do is play and all we want to do is coach! But rules are rules, and these are the requirements. Plus such rules are in place to ensure a level playing field and the integrity of youth sports and Little League sportsmanship and competition. So, in spite the incredible nuisance of it all, we do what we are told.
A couple of weeks ago, we reflected on how God is gracious to us all. In spite of our imperfections and flaws, we are “all stars” in the kingdom of God simply by His grace, not by our effort or credentials. Can you imagine if our salvation came with strings attached? With papers to fill out and forms to file? This is the way it is in many other religions of our day. You may not have to show a utility bill from 4 months ago or present an original birth certificate, but make no mistake your eternal well-being is completely dependent on making sure you have all your affairs in order. Did you do enough? Did you please the right people? Did you pay enough dues? The metaphorical forms of your life’s work better be filled out and accurate; they better have the t’s crossed and i's dotted. What added stressed and uncertainty these works-righteous religions present.
Praise God that we have a God who has fulfilled all the necessary requirements on our behalf. Leave your pens and papers at home. If your tempted to look at your own credentials, tell the Devil to take his paperwork and shove it. Jesus has it all taken care of. His cross covers the entry fee. In baptism, we have the seal of God’s Holy Spirit. This is our proof and declaration that we belong to God and His church. By His grace and mercy, our names are written in the Book of Life. They are signed into everlasting certainty with the very blood of Jesus. Clothed with the righteous robes of Jesus, we are ceaselessly spared from His wrath and judgement; we will enter our eternal rest in His eternal city to worship Him. (Rev. 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 22:19) It is a beautiful, refreshing thing to know we are in God’s hands.
He has removed the red tape, He has taken care of it all!
“The grace of forgiveness, because God Himself has paid the price, is a Christian distinctive and stands splendidly against our hate-filled, unforgiving world. God’s forgiveness gives us a fresh start.” (Ravi Zacharias)
Pastor Steve Vera