Parachutes and Safety Lines
By Eli Stutzman
May 1, 2014
In October 2013, we decided to fly to Minneapolis-St Paul and then drive to Wisconsin to visit. As we sat in the boarding area waiting for our plane, the pilot and crew walked by. I wondered what the crew would have thought if we had strapped parachutes to our backs as we boarded the plane. Wouldn’t their first reaction be: these people don’t trust our flying? Yet that is exactly what I see some who call themselves believers do! We know salvation is by grace, but to be safe, we add a lot of works that are designed (in our own minds) to please God. Now good works are not a bad thing, but we cannot base our trust in God on two different systems. Either Jesus is sufficient or He is not. The function of safety lines and life preservers is to help when other means fail. Things that fail need the extra backup device.
You have heard it said that Jesus never fails. If indeed He is the Son of God, then He will be able to do all that He promised. Do you really believe that? This is hard for mortals like you and me to grasp. Jesus told us that He is the way and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). When we went to Minnesota, all we had to do was to get on the right plane and relax, wait until the pilot was cleared to take off, and then watch the things on the ground fall away. One hour and thirty six minutes later, we were in Minneapolis. That was not my doing at all. The pilot did what he was trained to do, and we arrived safely.
Trusting Jesus is like that. We can only get to Heaven by dying with Jesus and being born anew in Him. He is like the plane and the pilot. If you are in Christ, then you are certain to arrive where He is. You will begin to love what He loves and despise what He despises. This comes through the Spirit He puts in us. At one time I thought people who spoke a lot about Jesus were too religious. Now I love them.
The Bible says that if we live with Him we will die with Him. Jesus in me, and I in Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. The secret of obtaining passage to heaven is like getting on the right plane at the right time and sitting back while the pilot does what he does best. In the meantime, we can read a book or knit socks. There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that Jesus has made it to heaven. The New Testament accounts prove that. So if we are in Him, and He is in us, our arrival is surer than my arriving in Minneapolis. We like having safety lines to ensure accidents are not going to kill us. When Nik Wallenda walked across Niagara Falls in June 2012, he had to attach a safety line by orders of his sponsors. Others before him had walked it with no safety line. If he had fallen, a safety line would have been appreciated. As it turned out, it was not needed. It is hard not to carry the idea of safety lines over to our spiritual lives. The book of Galatians is aimed at people who believed in Jesus as the redeemer, but who tried to be extra safe by insisting they also had to obey the laws given by Moses. Paul addressed the issue giving a clear explanation of what salvation by grace is.
We know that we cannot remove the crutch that people lean on without risking a fall. There has to be total trust in Jesus in order to rely on His provision of righteousness. If we remove the rules that people lean on and do not first instill complete trust in Jesus, we will fail. Parachutes, safety lines, and seat belts are good things to have, but they do not show trust. I would have looked ridiculous wearing a parachute when boarding that plane. Let us not do that in our spiritual lives. It is hard to adjust our thinking to a way of life eternal that will not fail, but we live in the age of the Holy Spirit and of salvation by faith. Extra efforts, aimed at taming the human mind and soul, can and will fail. Aim your trust-building efforts at Jesus and who He is. Jesus died for people just like you. There is no need to wait until your life is in order before you trust Him as your Savior. He is patiently waiting.
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