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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Only Forgotten

I had no idea being a grandparent could be so much fun!

My daughter, Laura, sent me a text message informing me of yet another classic statement made by our granddaughter, Alyssa Grace, who is four and a half. Here’s what happened.

Laura was doing nightly prayers with Alyssa. You never quite know what Alyssa is going to thank God for in her prayers, but on this particular evening she was thanking God for “his only forgotten Son!” After managing to squelch a burst of laughter, Laura attempted to correct her little darling by saying, “No, Alyssa. It’s only begotten Son.” But Alyssa was quick to defend her choice of words, “No, mommy. It’s only forgotten Son!”

Besides this being funny, it got me to thinking. Jesus, God’s only begotten son, came into the world to save us from our sin. It seems that many people have forgotten this. He is the only one who can change our sin nature so that we are no longer controlled by our sin nature. Instead, God says in the Bible that he will conform us into the image of Jesus, his Son. The thought of that transition, going from a sin nature to a Christ-like nature, is staggering! Have we forgotten this basic truth of the Bible?

The verse that Alyssa was referring to is John 3:16. If you’ve ever watched a sporting event on television, you’ve no doubt seen someone in the crowd holding a sign which reads: John 3:16. This verse, taken from the gospel of John in the New Testament, is considered to be the entire Bible in one verse. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The nexus of the Christian faith is this single truth: Jesus, the Son of God, gave himself as a sacrifice for the sinners. That’s you and me.

In the busy-ness of our day-to-day lives, we can easily forget that we are but mortal creatures, and that there is an end to our earthly lives, designated by the fact that we all will face death sooner or later. Therefore it is the wise person who contemplates the ramifications of their decisions now. It’s easy to put off making a decision to trust your soul to Jesus. After all, there’s always tomorrow. But is there?

The basic philosophy of the world is “eat, drink, and be merry.” Or as the old Schlitz Beer commercial used to admonish us: “You only go around once in life so you’ve got to grab for all the gusto you can!” This TV ad from yesteryear was very clever and sounded like good advice. But there’s a problem – the underlying philosophy is fatalism, and faith in God is left out of the equation entirely!

Without realizing it, my granddaughter has hit upon man’s basic problem: We have forgotten God’s only begotten Son! Or put another way: “We’ve forgotten the begotten.”

You may be asking yourself what “begotten” means. Okay, good. Here’s the definition of Jesus as the only begotten: Jesus is utterly unique, in his person and saving role.” In other words, Jesus was absolutely unique in being our Savior. God the Father did not have a Plan B.

Other faiths will lead you to perform sacrificial acts that supposedly put you in God’s good graces, but don’t you believe it! As a sinner you cannot do a thing to improve your standing before God. Jesus already paid the price of your sin for you. Your role in the salvation equation is to accept Jesus as Savior. Have you forgotten this?

Let me encourage you today to surrender your life to Jesus and invite him into your heart to be your Lord and Savior. To confirm this truth, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.”

Oh, and when you pray – don’t forget to thank God for his only begotten Son, Jesus!

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