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A Wisdom Retreat - January 12

I Believe I Will

John 3:17-18
"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

I remember, as a boy, visiting the home of an elderly couple in Wisconsin as we traveled on our way to Minnesota. The man, in his eighties and near death's door, was confined to his chair. We sat in the living room—my father and mother, my three brothers, and I.

Although the man's children supported my missionary parents, he was not a Christian. I can still hear my father as he shared the plan of salvation with him and then asked, "Would you like to receive Christ as your own Savior? Would you like to ask Him into your life?"

The man said, "I don't believe I will."

Something pressed upon my father to risk offense, because he simply rewound his conversation and started over. He pulled his chair right up to the recliner where the old man was sitting wrapped in a comforter. I remember the urgency in my dad's voice.

Here was a man who had lived a respectable life, raised decent children, attended church, and accomplished a lot of good things. Here was my father telling him that he was not good enough in himself!

After explaining the gospel yet another time, Dad put the question to him again: "Would you now place your faith in Christ and simply receive Him as your personal Savior?"

I held my breath. It was then that the man replied, "I believe I will."

Now there were tears running down my cheeks. None of us knew it at the time, but within a few months the man would die.

Death comes to all. It's a reality of the planet we inhabit. This is the reason Jesus Christ came into the world—that it might be saved.

But why are we in this desperate condition? The Scriptures tell us that all men are sinners (Romans 3:10-23) and death is the result of that sin (Genesis 2:17; Ephesians 2). It is spiritual death.

Now that's a problem, and the solution can't be found in mankind because all men are dead. Christ took the punishment that was ours and bore it Himself, offering us His righteousness in return. He paid the debt for our sin on the cross. This He did for all who will believe and accept His gift of salvation.

The death, burial, and resurrection of the Savior provide the proverbial life raft, the cure, the escape from death's everlasting clutches. But the raft must be inflated; the cure must be swallowed; the escape must be made through the open door.

We would think it crazy that a drowning man would pass up a life raft and say, "I don't believe I'll get in it." It would be fatal to turn from the cure and say, "I don't believe I'll take it." It would be suicide to slam the escape door and say, "I don't believe I'll go." Yet, we seem quite unconcerned when a similar response comes from those with whom we've pled to accept Christ's love and sacrifice: "I don't believe I will."

How about you? As you start down this path of spiritual retreat, will you believe on His name and accept His shed blood as the payment for your sins? Will you receive His saving forgiveness? There should be only one answer . . . "I believe I will."

Prayer point: If you have never come to know God through His Son, pray that He would show you the good news in John 3. If you do know Him, pray that God would help you keep in mind that everyone needs Jesus.

Extra Refreshment: Read Romans 3:21-26, the passage that some call the "heart of the Gospel."

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Christianity / Devotionals / A Wisdom Retreat with Stephen Davey / A Wisdom Retreat - January 12