On Faith column: Hope for new beginningsThis is a big month for our family: Child No. 2 graduates from Two Harbors High School in a matter of days.
From Pastor Scott Nelson
First Baptist, Two Harbors
This is a big month for our family: Child No. 2 graduates from Two Harbors High School in a matter of days. Joshua has had a great run there – lots of involvement and hard work and good friends as well. His graduation marks the end of many years in school that have brought him to this point. His mom and I are very proud of all his accomplishments. He’s a great young man at the end of his high school career.
But as they say at almost every graduation ceremony, graduation is not really an ending, but a new beginning, a commencement, as nearly 100 young people leave THHS and embark on their future paths, wherever they may lead. For most grads, this is a time of expectation, stepping out into the unknown of young adulthood, out from their parents’ shadow. It’s a new beginning. Although Julie and I will miss our son, we are excited for him as he heads off to college to begin his future.
In life, there are many times of new beginnings: new marriage, new home, new baby or a new car (among others). But the most important new beginning is the one we each need in our relationship with God. The Bible is clear that we are dead in our sin. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” All of us are sinners and in need of a new beginning. Why? As Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.…” So everyone is dead in their sin and facing eternal death. C.S. Lewis called this “a most horrible truth.”
But the good news is that there is hope for a new beginning with God. His perfect holiness demands perfect holiness on our part, but He also knows that we cannot live up to His expectations. So in order to maintain His perfection and to allow us back into His favor, He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to deal with our sin problem for us. Jesus lived the perfect life and died in our place, taking our sin upon Himself. II Corinthians 5:21 reads: “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus chose to die a horrible, undeserved death on a cross because of His love for us. And that death makes possible the new beginning we most need. Now that is good news!
So quit striving to please God to earn your own ticket to heaven – it cannot be done. It is only through Christ’s perfection that we can have a new beginning in our relationship with our Creator. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast.” No one can approach our holy God and say: “You owe me heaven because I was such a good person.” None of us deserves anything but God’s wrath apart from Christ.
If you’ve never asked God to forgive your sins based on the fact that Jesus died for you, in your place, on the cross, do it today. Take time to talk to God in prayer, asking for His forgiveness and acknowledging your inability to save yourself. He will hear, and He will answer! This can be a day of new beginnings for you in your relationship with God.