Few Seahawks fans will forget this November day in 2013. The 7-1 Hawks were to take on the winless Buccaneers on our own turf, yet we somehow fell to a 21-0 deficit before halftime. It truly seemed like anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Had we grown too confident? Had we under prepared because we were so strong and they were yet to win a game? However, 2 quarters later, we managed to tie the game at 24-24 and then go on to win in OT by 27-24. It was the greatest comeback in franchise history, all because they never gave up.
We see it all the time… in sports, in school, in business and in life. Someone hits a point that they feel hopeless and lost. They are so far backwards from their plan or goal that they simply don’t see a way to pull it out… and they give up. I see this in my youngest son all too often. His behavior causes him to loose a privilege and he becomes so defeated that he stops trying to improve that behavior, and the spiral downward begins.
When our eyes are purely on a singular reward system, we can easily become defeated and give up. This is the problem with a works based theology. When your salvation is based on how the scales are balanced, there’s only hope as long as you are the one determining how much things weigh on each side. When you place your sins on one side and your good deeds on the other… and YOU are the one stating the weight of each, you will always find a way that your good deeds still outweigh the sins.
However, once you recognized that any sin, every sin, even a single sin… weighs enough to equal eternal death, no amount of good deeds could ever outweigh that sin. If you are viewing life on a works based theology, you can become discouraged and give up. No chance to outweigh those sins so why even try any good deeds anymore? Why bother?
Yet long before Jesus arrived to pay for our sins, Samuel was giving people hope. “And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.” (1 Sam 12:20) He is saying, don’t give up. Yes it’s true… you have done all this bad, and it’s really bad. But don’t give up, do not turn away from the Lord, keep following and serving Him. Without having the grace of Jesus to point to, he simply knew that the Lord’s ways are higher than our ways… and He would somehow find a way to make it all work out as long as we continue to follow and serve Him.
It’s true that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23a). But the story does not end there. Sure the score is 21-0 when we only look at our works… but Jesus is not done. “But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23b). And how is this free gift received? “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9).
That is the Good News. Our works lead us to a 21-0 deficit, but our faith in Him and our receiving the free gift of grace leads us to a victory in the end.
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