When it comes to your eternal destiny, who do you listen to?
For many it is the Buddha, Allah or perhaps the Hindu god Krishna. For others it might be a philosopher, a medium or a man like L. Ron Hubbard and his religion called Dianetics.
But there is a question to ask if one listens to them: Are they good for the soul or are their words dangerous to it? And if so, to whom shall we go for the words of eternal life?
The apostle Peter said this, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!” after responding to Jesus's question, “Do you want to go away as well?” when He pointed to all the people walking away that rejected His claim to be the bread of life that feeds our souls with salvation.
So when it comes to whom we should listen regarding our eternal destiny, Peter was right on track.
On the Mount of Transfiguration, our heavenly Father reinforced this truth with Peter, James and John when He spoke from heaven regarding Jesus saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, Listen to Him!”
Our Father said to listen to Jesus because He is the Word, and in His words are life and salvation. To no other can we turn to receive the "good news" of the Gospel that Jesus came to take all our sins into Himself so that He could carry them to His cross to take the penalty of death we deserved under God’s righteous judgment for breaking His Law.
And for this willing sacrifice on our behalf, God was pleased with Jesus and so He instructs us to “Listen to Him” since He is the source of God’s gift of eternal life. This means that by the blood Jesus shed on Calvary, your sins and the sins of all men were forgiven, every last sin. This is the wonderful news of the Gospel!
Good news such as this, however, is often disregarded and disingenuously denied when we neglect to actually listen to Jesus. It’s not hard to see this when what Jesus says is considered passé, words from bygone days that have no place in our modern culture.
It’s evident when men say Jesus's words are too constraining to their desires and so they prefer listening to the voices of idols made of stone, as well as men who have no truth in them, whose wisdom is worldly and devoid of any power to redeem us from our sin.
And so, their lifeless words become traps that keep men from hearing that God’s grace is offered them freely through Christ. The result being, many willingly deny they need Jesus's forgiveness of their sins, having exchanged His truth for so many lies.
This shows up clearly in our world when what God defines as sin is no longer taught to be sin, as when the false words of men pervert the Lord’s plea to, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” by saying that we no longer need to repent of anything as long as we promote love.
That is to say, instead of saying, “We hate the sin, but love the sinner,” the new mantra is, “Love the sinner, but don’t concern yourself with their sin.”
To simply say this, however, is to deny that Jesus says "sin is sin" and needs to be dealt with. It denies the reality that while Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, there is still a need for repentance, a humble turning away from sin, and an acknowledgment that sin is still damnable even when it is conceived in the heart long before it is executed by action.
As the apostle John wrote, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,” but, “If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Les Uhrinak is pastor of Mission of the Cross Lutheran Church in Crosslake.