“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not  of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

I read a fascinating, true story about Martha Cothren, a very creative teacher at Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock, Ark. 

On the first day of school, with permission from her superiors, she had all the desks removed from her classroom.

When students arrived for first period, they were puzzled. “Where are our desks?” they asked.

The teacher said, “You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn them.”

So they asked: Is it grades? No. Our behavior? No.

This went on throughout the day, until the last period arrived and she addressed her students, now sitting on the floor.

“Throughout the day no one has really understood how you earn the desks that sit in this classroom,” the story quoted her as saying. “Now I’m going to show you how and why you have the right to sit in this class.”

She went to the door and opened it. As she did, 27 U.S. veterans, wearing their uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk.

They placed those school desks in rows, and then they stood along the wall. The students got the picture.

These men fought to keep our freedoms, ensuring that students could go to school in a free country!

Their teacher told them, “You don’t have to earn those desks. These guys did it for you. They put them out there for you, but it’s up to you to sit here responsibly, to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because they paid a price for you to have that desk. Don’t ever forget it.”

I love that story, not only because it was creative and superbly illustrated a point to students, but she could have been also talking about Jesus.

Jesus Doesn’t Just Bring in a Desk, He Brings…

Jesus earned us our freedom when we were yet slaves to sin. He doesn’t just bring in a desk, he brings you a new life … for eternity.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

The Son of God earned us the right to sit in fellowship with the Father by being nailed to the cross in our place. God abhors sin, and it separated us from Him.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Jesus bridged the gap between sinful man and a perfect God, who created us to have fellowship with Him. Jesus paid the price. He earned us the right to truly be called a child of God.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

You can earn a lot of things in life, but you can never earn your salvation.

Salvation is God’s gift to you. Without a doubt, it’s the greatest gift you could ever receive.

Class, Are You Listening?

Ephesians 2:8-9 spells it out for us:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

But there is a catch.

In John 6:44 Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

If Jesus is not the Lord of your life and you are reading this, then God IS calling you.

“(God) who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men…” (1 Timothy 2:4-6)

Whether you open that door and receive Jesus is entirely up to you.

 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.” (Rev. 3:20)

Is God calling you? Do you feel yourself questioning the emptiness of a life without purpose?

There are a lot of good people, famous people, who will never go to heaven. Good works are wonderful, but they don’t get you into God’s Kingdom.

Who Can Go to Heaven?

Columnist and political pundit Bernard Goldberg wrote “Guess Who Can Go to Heaven,” an article about Pope Francis saying people who are good, even if they don’t believe in God, can go to heaven. (Which raises the question, if someone doesn’t believe in God, why would they believe in a heaven?)

Go straight to God’s word for the definitive answer.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36)

So, if you don’t believe in Jesus and the wrath of God remains on you, do you think you will see heaven because you are a good person? Maybe in a movie.

Reality check: Only Jesus holds the key. Only Jesus is the way to the Father, heaven and eternal life.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Key Takeaway

It wouldn’t be fair to tell you all this and not give you an opportunity to have eternal life by accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

Romans 10:13 simply and powerfully states:

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

It would be simple to write out a prayer of salvation for you, but this is a personal choice and should be in your own words. God wants YOUR heart, and He wants to hear from you.

Admit to God you are a sinner and that you repent of your sins; that Jesus died for your sins and rose again; that you believe Jesus is the Son of God; that you invite Him into your life as your personal Lord and Savior; that you want to live a life empowered by the Holy Spirit.

 ‘If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

If you confess that Jesus is Lord and repent of your sins, you can be assured of your eternal salvation.

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13).

Believe it. … And if you prayed for Jesus to become your personal Lord and Savior, then welcome to a life with purpose … and welcome to the Kingdom of God!