Monday, April 18, 2011

No Excuses

We had moved to Cleveland, Ohio in December, 1990, and our second son was due in June.  It was April, 1991 and we were scheduled to visit the hospital the next week and begin our refresher childbirth classes.  But Cheri went into premature labor, 7 weeks early, and we had to go to the hospital, one that we had never been to.  We arrived at the emergency room entrance and I couldn’t find a parking space nearby.  I didn’t want to drop Cheri off and go look for a parking spot.  So I parked in a reserved handicap space, thinking I would get Cheri settled in as quickly as possible, and then go move the car.  But very soon after we got her checked in, our son was born.  Needless to say, it was several hours before I could go move the car.

When I got to my car, there was a parking ticket on the windshield.  That was no surprise, and I thought, “No big deal.  I’ll get a letter from the doctor and go to court and explain to the judge what happened.  Surely, any reasonable, compassionate person would consider the circumstances and dismiss the ticket. 

The doctor was sympathetic, and wrote a letter for me to take to court, and when the court date came, I went before the judge.  The charge was read, and I had the choice to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty.  There is no such thing as a plea of “guilty with an explanation.”  It has to be one or the other.  I plead not guilty, and then asked the judge if I could explain the situation.  He never looked up at me, but said, “Were you parked in a reserved handicap space?”  I said yes, but I had a letter from my doctor to explain the situation.  Without acknowledging any of my statement beyond “yes”, he said, “It’s against the law to park in a reserved handicap space without a permit.  Do you have a permit?”  Again, he didn’t look up from his papers.  I said, “No Your Honor, but …” and he cut me off.  “It’s against the law to park in a reserved handicap space without a permit.  A plea of guilty has been entered.  Pay the clerk on your way out.”  That was it.  I couldn’t believe it, but I had no opportunity for further argument.  I had violated the law and was found guilty.  I had no choice but to pay the penalty.

Revelation 20:11-15 tell us there will come a time when the dead who have not acknowledged Jesus as Lord, the Son of God and have not placed their faith in Him as their Savior will stand before a great white throne, where Christ sits as judge.  They will be judged according to their works, which will prove that they have violated the law.  They will also be judged according to the book of life.  If their name is not found in the book, they will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity.  No excuses, no second chances.  That judgment will be final.

It will not matter if you were told something wrong by somebody.  It won’t matter if your pastor or friend who professed to be a Christian was a hypocrite and didn’t live up to your standards.  It won’t matter that you believed in something else sincerely, with all your heart.  The only thing that will matter is whether or nor your name is found in the book of life.

The good news is that your name can be written into the book of life.  Throughout the Bible, there is a message of salvation, by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.  Here are two passages that tell us how to be saved:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 10:8-13 “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, 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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

If you are in that group that will face the judgment, I urge you to turn to Jesus.  Accept His gift of salvation by acknowledging Him as the Son of God and place your faith in Him.  Your life will be changed today and forever!

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