December 07, 2017 | Articles by Rev. David Bodanza
Once upon a time, there was a conversation between two friends who met for a cup of coffee. Both of them were just ordinary people but the conversation was extraordinary for these times. This was not always the case, but it certainly is now in a post-modern, post-Christian culture. Read on and you will see what I mean. The names have been changed. It went somewhere something like this:
ADAM: Sam, are you prepared to meet your Maker?
SAM: What do you mean by that? Do I look sick? I feel great! With friends like you, who needs enemies?
ADAM: No, I didn't mean you look sick. What I mean is, are you prepared to meet your Maker?
SAM: Well, I have not made any funeral arrangements, if that's what you mean. Funerals are expensive, and I'm still fairly young. And more than that, isn't that what life insurance is for?
ADAM: You have a point on the life insurance, yet a person may think that they have their affairs in order when they have made a will and arranged a funeral. But have you ever wondered, what is next? What will your death mean for you? What happens? Is there a destiny for the dead? Does anyone have an answer?
SAM: You think too much.
ADAM: You don't think enough! You're always messing with your iPhone!
SAM: Do you like it? I just got it on sale. These things have really come down in price.
ADAM: C'mon, Sam. Don't change the subject. What I'm talking about is whether you are prepared to meet your Creator? Are you prepared to meet God?
SAM: I thought we all evolved from amino acids.
ADAM: Who told you that?
SAM: I read it on the internet.
ADAM: Do you believe everything you read on the web?
SAM: Well, no. I suppose anybody can put anything up there and call it fact ... and everybody does! By the way, I'm not going to die. I'm gonna be frozen till they find the technological fountain of youth. You know, replacement parts!
ADAM: Where did you get that idea?
SAM: I read it on the internet.
ADAM: There you go again. Have you read the Bible, Sam?
SAM: No, I haven't. I don't have one.
ADAM: Well, you can buy one at Wal-Mart or read it on the internet for free. So you got no excuse. It is by far the most read book of all time. It is the book with the most manuscript evidence of any other book written in human history. It has been remarkably preserved over the years so that what we have today is amazingly accurate. Despite the fact that the Bible is a collection of 66 books written over a period of 1,500 years on three continents in three different languages by more than 40 authors from different walks of life, it has a single progressively developed theme from beginning to end, without contradiction.
SAM: If what you say is true, that is amazing.
ADAM: That's why it's called "The Bible." That simply means, "The Book." The Book says that "God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27) Everything in creation has a cause, Sam. Except God. He is the uncaused cause. He always was, always is and always will be.
SAM: Are you some kind of philosopher or something?
ADAM: The Bible says that "it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment." (Hebrews 9:27). Born we are, and die we must.
SAM: I suppose you're right. There is an old saying that although everybody dies, nobody thinks it's gonna happen to them.
ADAM: That's right! That is why I'm having this conversation with you! Remember, I asked if you were prepared to meet God?
SAM: Oh, yeah, that's right. Wait, let me just answer this text. (Pause) Adam, let me tell you something right now. I watch the news and I hear the stories. I haven't done what those people have done. I am a good person. I give a few bucks to the Salvation Army. I go to church on Easter and Christmas ... well, um, I used to go to church on Easter and Christmas. I never killed nobody and me and Jane have been married for 25 years. Yeah, and I was baptized when I was eight days old. So nobody's gonna tell me nothing. I mean ---
ADAM: Why did Jesus die on the cross?
SAM: I'm not sure. I haven't studied that stuff since I was little.
ADAM: You would think these questions would haunt the human soul. Life is more than who will get your IRA that you cannot take with you.
SAM: I haven't got that much in my IRA.
ADAM: Let me read something to you from the Bible. It's in Romans 3. Listen closely: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of
the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:10-20)
SAM: You're saying this applies to me?
ADAM: To every human being. You can't rescue yourself by trying to be good. It's futile.
SAM: You got any good news today?
ADAM: Well, in fact, I do! Let me read something to you from the Bible. It's in Romans 3 still. Listen closely:"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:21-26)
SAM: Can you explain this to me in layman's terms?
ADAM: Jesus made the great exchange. This transaction is one of grace beyond all comprehension. I did not deserve one bit of this and never could. Jesus gave me His righteousness. His perfect obedience to God was given to me as a gift and it is as if I obeyed God like I should have. In exchange, He took all of my sins from me and paid the penalty for them. I have been declared "not guilty by reason of Jesus." All of my sins—past, present and future—were paid for by Jesus on the cross, once and for all. Standing in Christ, and in Christ alone, I am prepared to meet God. Trust in Christ and Christ alone, Sam. He is your righteousness. Your righteousness won't do. The only thing we bring to the table is the sin that will damn us without Christ.
SAM: This is the first time I have ever heard this. Why didn't somebody tell me this in church?
ADAM: I don't know. Maybe they did, Sam. Maybe they did. Maybe you just couldn't hear 'em then. Jesus said, "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”