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From the Pastor's Pen

November, 1998
Dr. Clarence Byerly

I saw a recent headline of an article in a ministry newsletter that said, "Whatever Happened to the $2.99 Breakfast Deal?" The writer then went on to say that we often enter a restaurant believing a meal will cost $2.99, but we will spend about $6.00.

Unfortunately, much of commercial advertising is a gimmick to bait us to buy something, but the cost always seems higher when it is time to pay up. Wouldn't it be nice to get exactly what you thought you were getting and much more? God doesn't have hidden costs for entry into His Kingdom. One person does not have to pay more than another person. The price is the same for everyone. It is free!

Some people want to buy their salvation from sin. They help their neighbors (often a lot less than they think they do), then expect God to give them a brownie point. Others get religious and think if they read a religious book or pray a certain number of minutes, God will accept them as He adds up their brownie points. You get the point.

Jesus Christ is the son of God who entered this world to be our Savior. He is the only one who can cancel out the power of sin in our lives. Sure, we can quit bad habits, and try to live better, but the power or motive that made us do wrong still resides within us. Only Jesus can bring newness to our lives. The good news is he offers us salvation from sin free—no hidden costs involved.

Many people think they are already good enough! They feel God will accept them into heaven because He is compassionate and kind. The Bible tells us God only accepts those who come to him in a certain way. God promises to save us from sin if we will do the following:

1. Turn away from our sin. The essential sin of all of us is living as if God does not exist. We can believe in God but but if we do not let him guide and direct our everyday lives, we are separated from him. If I don't see myself as a sinner and feel a need for salvation from it, Christ Jesus cannot do anything for me.

2. Put our faith (trust) in Christ Jesus as the one who can save us. Many people believe Jesus died on the cross to forgive sinners, but they essentially ignore Jesus. For instance, you may have a fear of flying in an airplane, yet say, "Yes! I believe that plane can take me to Japan. I believe the pilot is perfectly capable of flying the plane. But I am scared to fly." You see, you don't really trust the plane or the pilot. We must trust Jesus to be able to remove your sin and put you in a right relationship with the Heavenly Father.

3. Many people don't realize they must open their lives to Jesus Christ and personally invite him to take up residence within them. Salvation is never automatic. We must ask for it. Jesus wants to help us but we must give him permission to act in our lives.

Would you like to have a better life? You can! Would you like to know God personally? Jesus Christ is the One who can bring you into this relationship. Would you like to get rid of guilt and sin in your life by being forgiven by the One who has the power to do so? Ask Jesus to help you, and He will. Entering a love-relationship with Jesus Christ means obeying Him. When we get saved from sin, we will acknowledge it through public baptism and fellowship in a Christian Church. Hey! I didn't write the rules. He did! But when we obey His rules, we have confidence to live a life with God that goes far beyond our expectations. We get a lot more than we spend.

Getting back to the $2.99 breakfast deal, listen to these words of Jesus: "You're blessed when you work up a good appetite for God. His food and drink is the best meal you'll ever eat." If you would like soul-food explained more personally, email me.


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Updated November 14, 1999