Did you hear it? “I hope my good outweighs my bad.” Ben Davies makes this statement on the gun range while talking about life’s final judgment with his partner, Nathan Hayes. How many times in your life – or in a week – have you heard that statement? How many times have you made that statement?
Lately, my heart has been very burdened for those who are deceived about authentic faith and what it means to be saved. A few weeks ago I wrote a post “The Real Word on Salvation,” and explained salvation from Jesus’ teachings in Luke 13. Basically, in love and from a Scriptural standpoint, I am trying to respond much like Nathan Hayes did in this movie scene. “That’s not how it works.”
I heard a pastor say recently, “I tell you the truth because I love you. Telling the truth means some may be angry or lash out against what I am saying.” In the same heart, I love each of you – and every police officer – enough to tell you the truth. If I didn’t care, I would not say anything and allow many to continue believing a lie. The lie is that salvation is somehow based on merit (being good or bad, doing more good than bad) or our service to others.
Let me say it clearly here, as I have on many occasions. Salvation is a gift of God’s grace extended to us through the costly death of Jesus Christ on the cross. The only way to God and eternal life in Heaven is through a right relationship with Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
When it comes to religion and salvation, law enforcement officers are notorious for making excuses or comparing our lives to others. Some say their relationship with God is personal (as in, “I don’t have one, can’t explain it, and it’s none of your business”) or reply, “I believe in God. I just don’t believe I have to go to church.” James 2:19 NLT says, “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” The faith one claims, the life one lives, and the works one does must all align.
Some think that inherent to our job is a ticket to Heaven, as if Heaven is a part of the benefits package. Explaining my point well is a poem that was posted online. As I was reading about an officer’s line of duty death, a well-meaning commenter offered condolence through this poem (author unknown).The officer stood and faced his God, which must always come to pass. He hoped his shoes were shining, just as brightly as his brass.
“Step forward now, Officer, How shall I deal with you? Have you always turned the other cheek, to my church have you been true?”
The officer squared his shoulder and said, “No, Lord, I guess I ain’t. Those of us who carry badges can’t always be a saint.
I’ve had to work most Sundays, and at times my talk was rough, And sometimes I’ve been violent, because the streets are tough.
But I never took a penny, that wasn’t mine to keep. Though I worked a lot of overtime, when the bills got too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help, though at times I shook with fear. And sometimes, God forgive me, I’ve wept an unmanly tear.
I know I don’t deserve a place among the people here. They never wanted me around except to calm their fear.
If you’ve a place for me here, Lord, it needn’t be so grand. I never expected or had too much, but if you don’t…I’ll understand.
There was silence all around the throne, where the saints often trod. As the officer waited quietly for the judgment of his God.
“Step forward now, Officer. You’ve borne your burdens well. Come walk a beat on heaven’s streets, You’ve done your time in hell”
The poem is correct about a few things. We will all face God’s judgment. Our job is difficult, requires great sacrifice, and exudes service to others. And, none of us deserves a place with God. But, I don’t want anyone to have false comfort or hope, or continue with bottled up emotional grief or unforgiveness. There’s nothing “unmanly” about shedding tears (even Jesus wept in John 11:35 at the death of his friend Lazarus), but that’s a discussion for another day.
While it may seem at times that we do work in and experience “hell on earth,” nothing of this life or world can compare to the pain and torment of eternal punishment in Hell – forever separated from God. Our judgment is this. Either we will bow our hearts in submission to Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, ask His forgiveness, and walk in relationship with Jesus, OR, we will face the judgment and wrath of a Just and Righteous Judge – God.
“The Bible says that God is a good Judge. And He will punish the guilty not for what they did right, but for what they did wrong. Because He loves us, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to take the punishment that we deserve and put it on Himself. And that’s why He died on the cross. But it only applies if you accept it. That’s why I asked for His forgiveness. I asked Him to save me. And I’m a new man because of Christ. Do you understand what I’m telling you?”
“Then what’s holding you back?”
For more on salvation, please contact us or read:
Are You a Good Person? – Take the Test