The Race Game

The Race Game
When I was a kid, if I was ever sick and had to stay home from school, one of the things that I looked forward to was watching the late Bob Barker on “The Price is Right”. There was something comforting about that show. One of my favorite games was “The Race Game” in which the contestant had 45 seconds to match up 4 price tags with 4 prizes. As time started, the contestant would race over and place each one of the price tags in front of the prize that they thought matched the price. They would then race back to the counter, pull the handle, and the screen would show how many of the 4 items they had correctly matched up. The contestant would win any prizes that had the correct price at the end of the 45 seconds. It was an exciting 45 seconds!
The contestant never knew if they had done enough work to win a prize until they pulled the handle to reveal the result. Strange thing is that a lot of people today think of heaven in the same way. They are busy trying to work their way to heaven by doing good deeds here and there, all the while wondering if their good deeds are enough.
The problem is that no matter how good your works are, they can never make you good enough for heaven. The problem isn’t our good works, the problem is our sin. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Sin stains us like cherry Kool-Aid on a white t-shirt. A million good works can never remove the stain of even the smallest sin.
This is what Jesus addressed with the crowd in John 6:27 “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Did you catch that? Here Jesus used contrasts to drive home His point. He contrasted “food that perishes” with “food which endures”. They were hungry physically but Jesus pointed to their spiritual hunger. Then He used another contrast with “working” and “give”. You work to receive physical food that perishes. Food that endures to eternal life is given to us by Jesus, the Son of Man.
They asked in John 6:28 “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” They, like many of us today, thought that they had to do good works in order to receive eternal life. But Jesus responded, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29). The work is not a work at all but simple faith. Believe in Jesus, “whom He has sent.”
Just like the manna that God sent to feed the nation of Israel in the wilderness, God sent Jesus to be our spiritual food. Just like physical food gives us life for today, Jesus gives us life for eternity. The nation of Israel didn’t work to receive the manna. They simply woke every morning and went and gathered what God had freely sent. God has freely sent Jesus down and all He asks is that we believe in Him and He will give us eternal life. Consider that as believers, we don’t work so that we CAN go to heaven, we work because we ARE going to heaven!
What a sweet relief to know that my eternal life is not based on what good works I can do on earth. It is based on my faith in the One who has done the perfect and ultimate work of obedience to God the Father to the point of dying on a cross. In the “race game” of life, when our time runs out and we pull down that lever at the end, it is our faith that will give us a perfect score every time!
These are you Words for Wednesday.
I want to take a moment and welcome our newest iLove members, JT and Connie Sikes! I hope that you will welcome them when you see them again! Hopefully we will all see each other this Sunday morning at 10:45 at Ballentine Elementary School. If you have time this Saturday evening at 5:30, please come to Ballentine and pray for our worship services and upcoming revival (October 15-18). Have a great rest of you week!
In Christ,

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