Love with a Guarantee
As a kid, I loved the movie "Tommy Boy." Chris Farley had just exactly the right blend of size, silliness, and funny facial expressions that made the adolescent version of me laugh hysterically. For those of you that are not familiar with the movie, "Tommy Boy" was the degenerate son of an automotive tycoon. When his father passed away, it was his responsibility to market and sell products in order to save his father’s company, the jobs of his loved ones, and the town that their factory and operation supported. It was a very good plot for a 90s comedy.
Of course, Tommy had shown very little in his young life to give the workers of the plant, or the company’s customers any faith or hope that he could do the same job that his father had. (I promise I’m getting to the point.) Eventually, when all seemed completely lost, Tommy had a meeting with a company interested in doing business with him. The problem was that the competitor put a guarantee on the box of their product and his company did not. In the movie, Tommy was able to convince the client to purchase his product even without the guarantee. Tommy was a remarkable salesperson. He reminds me of many religious people who have been able to sell a product that has no guarantee at the end.
What am I referring to?
I heard a teaching by a minister named Perry Stone recently and in it he pointed out that other than Christianity, there are four major world religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. He went on to show that each of those religions believes in an afterlife, just like Christianity teaches. Also, each of those believes in a type of heaven and a type of hell. But only Christianity offers a guarantee.
In Romans 10:9, the Apostle Paul tells us what that guarantee is when he says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” You might read this and wonder, “Saved from what exactly?” That is an excellent question.
First, let me be clear that we have ALL sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We sometimes like to pretend that our sin is less than that of our neighbor, and while that might make us feel good, James lets us know that if we have sinned against any part of the law, we are guilty of the entirety of it. “But I try to keep the Ten commandments,” you might say. That’s wonderful, albeit impossible.
How can I say such a thing? How do I know? Because in Matthew, Jesus shows that we are not only judged by the letter of the law, but by the spirit that it was written in. So, as an example, the law tells us to honor our father and mother. In following the spirit of the law, this literally means that we can honor them in action, but if we are angry or disobedient in following their instruction, we’ve broken not only this one law, but the whole law.
My son Jude is two, and a normally a very obedient two. But there are times that he, even as young and as wonderful as he is, makes it clear to me that he isn’t all about honoring what his mom and I are telling him to do. Even when he begrudgingly does what he's told, he has a way of letting us know that he really isn't happy about it. As young as he is, that means he is already guilty under the law. WOW! Harsh, right?
I know you are probably thinking that this is a website dedicated to love and what I’m writing today seems completely contrary to that. I promise that I'll write posts about the love of grace and the love of truth later, but let me say, law is in opposition with love and grace. By the original sin of Adam, we are cursed. The sentence for that curse is a literal lifetime spent in what the Bible calls Sheol, the lake of fire, and Hell. It is actually a place of eternal punishment and separation from the love and protection of God. And while that does seem harsh, it is the justice that this world has been built on.
I hope I made that crystal clear because it is important as it leads into exactly what salvation literally is and what it guarantees us. Salvation is as simple as Paul explained it in Romans 10 as I’ve written above. To overcome the curse of eternal damnation, simply accept Jesus as Lord. Wow! We were created imperfect and were doomed to be judged by the law and our sentence was Hell. When Jesus came, He was born perfect. He kept the law perfectly. He was never found guilty as we are. Because of that, God cursed Him to hang on a tree. His blood was shed as payment and covering for our sin. He loved us enough to take on our sin in order to free us from the curse that Adam had put us under. He loves us so much that He saved us forever and ever and ever! And Romans 10:9 (mentioned earlier) is our GUARANTEE. It has nothing to do with our goodness and everything to do with His. Paul explains this in much greater detail throughout his writings, but at its lowest common denominator, this is the only explanation we ever need.
So why did we start a movement based on the love of Jesus? Because it is the only love that truly matters. Don’t be fooled into buying a product without a guarantee. You’ll live to regret it. Also, with His guarantee, there is no fine print that's there to "get you" later. Accept the savior that died just for you! And when you do, tell everyone you know about Him because He wants to save them and be their guarantee too! How do I know? In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter, a close friend of Jesus explains that, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but it is long suffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The Bible also explains that God is no respecter of persons, that God’s will is that all should be saved. Jesus even begged forgiveness for the very people responsible for killing Him so He could fulfill his role as our sacrifice. In His love, we can have a guarantee that nothing else and no one else could ever offer us. That’s the most powerful love in this and any other universe. It’s the very love that can change the world.