Modern New Age Religion and humanism teaches us that “There are many ways to get to heaven.” To be honest with you, I haven’t taken a great deal of time to consider any of them. From time to time I may come across something that seems to indicate that this OR that is something we can do to get into heaven. I suppose one of the most frequent things I hear is something like, “I believe I’m going to heaven because I’ve been a good person and haven’t committed any great sin. I try to be good to people and do good things.” Now I know that I have shared this same thought with you before. But it really and truly bothers me that some people believe that they are good enough to get into heaven.
Contrary to that belief then would be, if you aren’t good enough to get into heaven the alternative is going to hell. So we are either going to heaven or going to hell. Well that I surely believe. There are absolutely no other alternatives. The Apostle Paul actually has words to describe these two possibilities. He refers to these words in his first epistle to the Church at Corinth, 1 Corinthians Chapter 1 verse 18. The words are, BEING SAVED AND PERISHING. Same as “going to heaven” or “going to hell.” Again, some believe you go to heaven by being good enough, that would be being saved, otherwise I have to assume that if you’re not good enough, that is cause and reason for going to hell, or perishing. But how do we ever know when we have become good enough.
Now for those of you who were here last week you heard me say that this passage from the first chapter of 1 Corinthians was my most favorite passage of scripture in all of the Bible, that being 1 Corinthians Chapter 1 verses 17 through 31. And oh yes, I must add to that as favorite, Romans Chapter 1 Verse 16 because it says something very similar. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE VERSE?
So I will now go to the end of my favorite passage, to verse 31 and there I find these words:
“HE WHO GLORIES, LET HIM GLORY IN THE LORD.”
Wow! Glory in the Lord. “HE WHO GLORIES, LET HIM GLORY IN THE LORD.”
Now let me make something clear to you. For those who believe that they are good enough to get into heaven on their own merits, they are not glorying in the Lord but rather in themselves. Are they not taking all the glory upon themselves for what they have done?
So I return to 1 Corinthians Chapter 1 Verse 17 the beginning of my most favorite passage and read this, the words of Paul:
FOR CHRIST DID NOT SEND ME TO BAPTIZE, BUT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL, NOT WITH WISDOM OF WORDS,
(And here it is)
LEST THE CROSS OF CHRIST BE EMPTIED OF ITS POWER.
And I want to add to that my most favorite verse from Paul’s epistle to the Church at Rome where he writes:
FOR I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST, FOR IT IS THE POWER OF GOD TO SALVATION FOR EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES. Romans Chapter 1 Verse 16
No one has done anything of themselves to save themselves. All are perishing in their sin except for that work which was accomplished on the cross which is the only POWER which can take away our sin and make us worthy to enter the kingdom of God. IF YOU WANT TO GLORY, GLORY IN THE LORD FOR THERE IS YOUR ONLY SALVATION. There is the only power that is able to SAVE you from PERISHING.
Think about this. The New Age teaches us that there are many religions through which you can save yourself. That is what some teach anyway. There is no cross. There is no power. Something of a human nature that we ourselves can accomplish. Listen for them. Watch for them. Think about them when you hear them. And when you do ask yourself this question: “WHY DID GOD MAKE JESUS SUFFER ON THE CROSS IF THERE WAS AN EASIER WAY OR AN OTHER WAY?”
That would have been an absolutely terrible thing that God made Jesus do if there was in fact an easier way for us to be saved and Jesus Himself could have said, “Why should I suffer and endure all this pain if the people can gain salvation simply by being good. Go ahead – be good – and I in turn will take it easy and save myself. But then there is no glory in the Lord and these scriptures are false, they are wrong.
Today I am not sharing with you “words of wisdom” as the Apostle Paul also said but rather sharing convincing words that the POWER OF SALVATION IS FOUND ONLY IN THE CROSS AND HE WHO DIED THERE SO LET US GLORY IN THE LORD.
So far I have addressed both the first verse and the last verse of this passage which was on the liturgical calendar for this week’s reading. Let’s just briefly look at the scriptures which fall in-between. In these verses we learn something about the God whose power it was that brought salvation to those who believe. It also tells us more about the fact that if we want to glory, let us glory in the Lord.
In this wonderful plan of salvation brought about by the power of the cross, God clearly tells us that we had no part in it. We did nothing, Christ did it all. The question is ask by Paul, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age?” In other words, “OK, you have just heard the entire story of salvation through the power of the cross. Where in that story do you find the wise man, the scribe, the disputer of the age. Well, you don’t. This was all accomplished apart from the wisdom of the world. Again, we had nothing to with it and no part in it.
FOR SINCE IN THE WISDOM OF GOD, THE WORLD THROUGH WISDOM DID NOT KNOW GOD, IT PLEASED GOD THROUGH THE FOOLISHNESS OF THE MESSAGE PREACHED TO SAVE THOSE WHO BELIEVE. Meaning, in our limited wisdom we cannot understand how God could leave us out of this entire plan and that He did it all Himself through Jesus Christ.
The scripture goes on to say Jews need some sort of sign, Greeks need to understand through some kind of wise determination. The message is simple to salvation. It is simply this: WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED.
HE WHO GLORIES, LET HIM GLORY IN THE LORD.