2 Timothy 2-4; Hebrews 1
I love baseball. I am a die-hard Cleveland Indians’ fan and am one of my nephew’s biggest fans whether he is on the mound, behind the plate, or covering second on his high school’s team.
I played softball for a lot of years. But the older I got, the longer it took me to get from one base to the next. So I came up with a great idea. If the goal of every batter is to wind up at home plate, it makes more sense to hit the ball, then run to third. Why waste time and effort and take the chance of making an out while going to first, then second, then third in order to get home? I figured if I cut out the first two steps I’d have a better chance of scoring.
Well, that might seem logical to someone who doesn’t know the game. But the game has rules. And so does life. Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:5 that an athlete doesn’t receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. He is talking about the Gospel, about God’s Word.
Here is the condensed version:
1. You are I are sinners. There is no one righteous – not even one.
2. The wages, or the result of sin is death, hell, eternal separation from God.
3. You and I can never be good enough to erase the sins we’ve committed. We need a Savior.
4. Jesus lived, died, rose again, and ascended into heaven so that anyone who accepts his grace can be saved from the sentence of hell.
5. There is no other name by which we can be saved. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life and no one can get to God except through him. Period.
You might be tempted to take another route. But, just like in baseball, if you hit the ball and go to third… you will be out. God has put it all out there, he wrote and rewrote the rules in every book of the Bible. There is no excuse. And like it or not, there is just no other way.
Heavenly Father, I thank you once again for your written Word, the Bible in which you have so lovingly spelled out the rules. May we recognize our helpless condition and turn to you. May we confess our sins, accept your grace, and live lives that honor you in every way. Forgive us if we are tempted to take short cuts. I pray you will find us, the soldiers in your army, the athletes on your team, pleasing our commander, our coach, our Savior and Lord by following your rules.