Monday, May 1, 2017
For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.
In 1897 America’s premier folk-author, Mark Twain, published a statement to announce that he was quite alive and well; this is what the ad said:
James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine, was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London, but is well now. The report of my illness grew out of his illness; the report of my death was an exaggeration.[ii]
It seems just about everything Mark Twain ever wrote was with his tongue pressed firmly against his cheek. Even reports that he had died gave him great opportunity to bring a ragged barb of humor to his readers.
Peter brings this same edge to Scripture, comparing the life cycle of flowers and grass to humans. The grass withering and the flowers fading are pictures of old age on the precipice of eternity. But, standing in opposition to the grip of death is the Word of God; Peter says it is Good News of eternal life which stands firmly with God forever. And any report of Scripture’s demise is more than an exaggeration; it is laughable!
And therein blooms the choice of the ages: to accept the truth that it is Good News, or reject the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus as an exaggeration of deluded people. In reality, this is the choice facing anyone who has ever heard the Gospel of Good News, to take a leap of faith and entrust these few short years of flowered existence on planet Earth, AND the possibility of life beyond the fading, to a God they’ve never seen. That’s more than a big question; it is the question to end all questions.
Ultimately everyone makes a choice. The challenge of the Gospel is that, nobody gets to remain neutral when it comes to Jesus Christ. Here’s the way Jesus put it:
Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me. Matthew 12:30(NLT)
So the choice to not choose is a choice nonetheless; if you ignore Christ you have chosen against Him. And, according to the Gospel, to choose against Christ is to choose the withering and fading of all hope of eternal life in favor of a living death, separated from the Creator eternally.
But the choice for Christ, to acknowledge his grace in dying on the cross for our sins, is a choice for resurrection and life eternal.
If you have never accepted that grace of Jesus Christ, you can do that with a simple prayer from your heart. Confess your sins to God and receive in exchange for your sins Jesus’ life. That’s quite a deal; you have the opportunity to trade your sentence of eternal death for his gift of new birth and eternal life.
And it really is Good News! And THAT is not an exaggeration at all!