In the fall of my 5th grade year I got the mumps. Mom and dad both worked full time so I stayed home alone for a week. I had a children’s bible that had been given to me by my God parents, Mr & Mrs H. H. Rieky. (I’m probably spelling that wrong). I read it. I read the entire Old Testament and the gospels and acts. I tried reading the Epistles but got bogged down when there was more words than pictures.
At the back of the Bible was a sinners prayer, a place to confess your sin and receive forgiveness, accept Jesus as Lord and savior. I did that. And waited. Nothing changed. My dads stack of Playboys didn’t go away, mom and dad still fought, my dad still drank and got angry.
I thought my Prayer didn’t work. I expected my world to change but it was my heart that changed. A transaction had occurred but I wouldn’t realize it for 11 years, when I finally understood that salvation comes by grace.
Matthew 9 talks about how you can’t add new things to old. They don’t go together.
“14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”’
Christianity is a new way of life. It’s not Judaism. It’s not animal sacrifices and rituals. Christianity is about Jesus, what he did for us. He forgave, once for all and all eternity, our sin. He paid for it, covered it over. It is no longer animal sacrifice. It is a human sacrifice, one human man died to redeem all of mankind.
The transaction is simple.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9,10
It’s a new life in the same world. The sin and sadness and anger and all of the yuck will all be there, but now we can shine on it.
Darkness does not overcome light, light overcomes darkness.
Jesus is the light of the world.