About the Author
Max Lucado (MA, Abilene Christian University) serves as the minister of preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, and is a best-selling author and speaker. His award-winning books have been translated into more than fifty-four languages and he has been named one of the most influential leaders in social media by The New York Times. Max lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife, Denalyn, and has three daughters and one granddaughter.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
(Go to the Right Bus.)If the problem is sin and all have sinned, what can you do? Well, you can go to church, but that won't make you a Christian. Just like going to a rodeo doesn't make you a cowboy, going to church doesn't make you a Christian. You could work really hard to please God. You could do a lot of good stuff, give away a lot of things . . . the only problem with that is that you don't know how many good things you have to do. Or you could compare yourself with others: "I may be bad, but at least I'm better than Hitler." The problem with comparisons is that other people aren't the standard; God is!
So what are you going to do? If you aren't saved by going to church or doing good works or by comparing yourself to others, how are you saved? The answer is simple: Go to the right bus.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16, NIV).
Note what God did: " . . . He gave his only Son." This is how he dealt with your sin. Imagine it this way. Suppose you are found guilty of a crime. You are in a court-room in front of the judge, and he sentences you to death for your crime. His sentence is just. You are guilty, and the punishment for your crime is death. But suppose that the judge is your father. He knows the law; he knows that your crime demands a death. But he knows love; he knows that he loves you too much to let you die. So in a wonderful act of love, he stands and removes his robe and stands by your side and says, "I'm going to die in your place."
That is what God did for you. The wages of sin is death. Heaven's justice demands a death for your sin. Heaven's love, however, can't bear to see you die. So here is what God did. He stood and removed his heavenly robes. He came to earth to tell us that he would die for us. He would be our Savior. And that is what he did.
"God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering the forgiveness of sins . . . God put on him the wrong who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God" (2 Corinthians 5:21, MSG).THE RESPONSE: TRUST
(Getting on the Right Bus)
What does God want you to do? He wants you to get on his bus. How is this done? Three simple steps: admit, agree, accept.
1. Admit that God has not been first place in your life, and ask him to forgive your sins. "If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong" (I John 1:9, NLT).
2. Agree that Jesus died to pay for your sins and that he rose from the dead and is alive today. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9, NIV). "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name [Jesus] by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12, NIV).
3. Accept God's free gift of salvation. Don't try to earn it. "For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9, NIV).
"To all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them. All those who believe this are reborn!-not a physical rebirth-. . . but from the will of God" (John 1:12, 13, TLB).
Jesus says, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in. . ." (Revelation 3:20, NIV).
With all of my heart, I urge you to accept God's destiny for your life. I urge you to get on board with Christ. According to the Bible, "Jesus is the only one who can save people. His name is the only power in the world that has been given to save people. We must be saved through him" (Acts 4:12, NCV).
Would you let him save you? This is the most important decision you will ever make. Why don't you give your heart to him right now? Admit your need. Agree with his work. Accept his gift. Go to God in prayer and tell him, I am a sinner in need of grace. I believe that Jesus died for me on the cross. I accept your offer of salvation. It's a simple prayer with eternal results.