It’s a terrible thing not to know.
When the doctor’s prognosis is not good, perhaps for the first time in his life, a Christian finds himself mugged by dark doubts. The devil casts up on the screen of his memory the sins of years gone by. He is suddenly seized with despair. He thinks God doesn’t want him anymore. He fails to remember that Jesus already knew about all those sins when he died for all. He reasons that Jesus died for others but not for him. He desperately wants to know he is forgiven.
In another man’s case, things are worse still. Satan nudges the poor man’s heart to sift through the album of his past looking for a few good deeds to oil the hinges of heaven’s gate for him. He starts saying things that contradict everything he ever learned from the Scriptures. He says: “I’ve tried to live a good life,” or “I hope I’ve done enough.” He comes off like Julie Andrews in that song from The Sound of Music: “Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.” Who needs Jesus for any of this?
Years ago, a pastor sat next to the bed of a dying woman. He spoke to her of her sin and of God’s grace, telling her that she need not fear death and the judgment because the Lord Jesus had taken away her sin. When he finished, the woman’s daughter, also a member of the Lutheran church, said: “Pastor, that’s what I always tell mother too. She doesn’t have to be afraid because she has never done anything wrong.”
Huh?!! Let’s see, how would that version of the song go? “Jesus loves me, this I know, cause I’m such a good old Joe?”
Another man may latch on to the last desperate refuge of scoundrels. Instead of confessing his sins, he compares them. He says: “At least I haven’t been as bad as a lot of other folks I know.” His version of the song goes: “Jesus loves me, this I know, cause I’m better than my neighbor Joe.”
Still others may speak of faith, but in a strange sort of twist, they have faith in faith, in their own believing power rather than faith in Christ. One of Christ’s own apostles would have gotten an A+ on the question: “Do you know?” and, “Are you sure?” Simon Peter said: “Though all men deny Thee, I will never deny Thee.” But his confidence was in himself and not in Christ. He fell hard. His version? “Jesus love me, this I know, cause I’m too strong to let go.”
It’s a terrible thing not to know, and worse still to think you know when you really don’t. After learning for a lifetime that we are saved by the undeserved doing and dying of Christ, shall we look elsewhere? John wrote in his first epistle: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know you have eternal life.”
The children’s song has it just right: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!” Now let all God’s people say, “Amen!”