Let’s say you die. Sorry about that by the way. But you die, and it turns out that all this time that God is real and now you are going to meet Him. I’m not sure what that scene would look like, but for some reason I picture a few golden retrievers frolicking and Johnny Cash playing on a vinyl record player in the background.
As you stand there waiting to see God would you feel more comfortable completely empty handed, bringing nothing to the meeting, or would you feel better if you had a well documented list of every kind word, every good deed, or perhaps pictures of your proudest human achievements, or maybe even a bank statement from all of your past charitable giving? I mean at least a list for talking points as you discuss your eternal future would be handy, right?
Most people, I’m guessing, would say “sure thing, why not, couldn’t hurt.” Coming to God empty handed on the day you will meet him seems pretty risky, doesn’t it? We at least want to look like we’ve studied for the test.
Therein lies the risk of the gospel. To believe in the gospel of Jesus means to trust by faith that the death of a Jewish Rabbi from Nazareth on a Roman cross in the First Century was the sufficient act for your total right standing before God. This death on a cross, which seems like a silly little story, actually allows you to come before God completely empty handed, covered only by what someone else has done for you.
The risk of the gospel is that we knowingly bring nothing to the bargaining table where those retrievers dance to the ring of fire. The risk of the gospel is that we place our salvation in the death of Jesus alone. The risk of the gospel is one worth taking, because when we come empty handed, only God can take the credit, and rightfully so, for saving us.
God is looking for people who on the day he meet them will say, “I’ve got nothing, but Jesus.” Can you say that today?