Some years ago, Jenny took two old wheelbarrows and converted them into mobile flower beds. They looked pretty nice until we moved into our present home. Maybe it’s where we placed them or maybe it’s because of the lack of attention, but the plants degenerated. During the past few months, all the attention they received was a watering two to three times a week.
Today, I decided to move these wheelbarrows from the back to the front and give them some much-needed care. I tackled the one and removed all the plants, trimming those that still had life and disposing of the rest. Then, I emptied the sand and lining only to find the inside was severely rusted. I scrapped all the loose rust off and then brushed the inside off with a wire brush, applying a rust protective paint to the inside. I did this twice. While the paint dried, I sifted the original sand, added some new sand and a bag of compost. I mixed everything together pretty well and then put this mixture into the wheelbarrow with a lining against the paint.
I used some fancy white/grey stones, making a pattern in the sand. It’s like a circle in the center with four “rooms” around the circle. Between Jen and myself, we selected things to plant in each “room”. I then mixed some plant “food” into a watering can filled with water and drenched the plants. We think it looks nice, and once it takes shape it will be a lovely feature. The problem that I am aware of is that the rust protective paint will not prevent rust from returning. It is inevitable, but the bottom of the wheelbarrow will literally fall out because of rust in the future. That is a certainty!
Whilst watering the garden later in the day, I watched a Facebook video clip of two American policemen arresting another American man.
The policemen said to the man, “You are Jake.”
The man replied, “No, I’m not Jake.”
This went on for a few minutes as someone with a cellphone took the video of the scene. Eventually, the one police officer said, “I think I have a warrant out for you.”
The man responded, “You think. Show me the warrant.” The warrant was never seen. The police insisted he was Jake. The man insisted he was not. So, the police turned the man around and handcuffed him.
The man then said, “Check out my ID in my back pocket.” He looked directly at the ‘camera’ before saying, “This is going to be fun.”
The one policeman took out the man’s wallet, looked at his ID and then showed it to the other policeman. Immediately, they removed the handcuffs. The man was an undercover FBI agent! He had repeatedly said, “Mistaken Identity”, but the police insisted he was someone whom he was not.
The Gospel message is very clear about who will and who will not enter into God’s heaven after death. The best known verse in all the Bible seems to be:
Jn 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This verse is a very complex verse, and as soon as one thinks one has got it sorted one realizes there is such depth to this verse that it is impossible to fully understand the gravity, love, sacrifice, eternal life and eternal death the verse speaks of. However, look at a few things here.
God loved the world. Mistakenly, many seem to think that this covers everyone for salvation, whoever they are, whatever they believe and whatever they do. The tension comes after the comma … only those who believe will escape “perishing” and enjoy eternal life with God in Heaven! This means that those who do not believe God’s Gospel plan through His Son, Jesus, will not have eternal life. They will perish! Whether you believe in election, foreknowledge, predestination or that God chose those who would believe is not really the matter at the moment. God loving the world the way He did caused Him to execute His rescue plan through His Son, Jesus … and only those who believe God’s rescue plan, the “Bloody, Sacrificial, Cruel Cross of Calvary”, will inherit eternal life and avoid perishing in eternal death!
The word “believe” has nothing to do with the meaning of belief as you would use in the sentences “I believe the sun will shine” or “I believe there was a man called Nelson Mandela.” “Believe” here means saving faith … surrendering faith … new birth faith … eternal life faith. Many people present a cosmetic coating to their “Christianity” … but their “Christianity”, although coated with good works and good morals, is still like that wheelbarrow, coated with rust preventative paint but doomed to rust up in time and be useless.
At the same time, there are people all over the face of the planet who regularly attend church. They were baptised and confirmed. They were made members. Some even have a certificate! They tithe, fulfill various duties such as making music, singing, ushering, bringing flowers, running Sunday School, being youth leaders, being council members, etc., but when the role is called in glory and they respond, “It’s me … I’m here … You missed me” … it is mistaken identity. They mistake their identity like those policemen mistook the identity of the FBI agent.
Beloved, it is always time to check your spiritual credentials to make certain you are the one who “believes” God’s rescue plan properly. You see, God never mistakes the identity of His children! Each one God birthed into His family through Jesus’ substitutional death is known by name. In heaven, God has a citizenship register called the book of life:
Rev 21:27 but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Therein, written clearly by God is each name of each person who has been born again. Are you certain yours is there? Please don’t pretend with spiritual cosmetic changes. Like rust, they will let you down. Like the wheelbarrow, you will perish!
Dear God, thank You that You know me by name. That You that You enabled me to respond positively to the Gospel call. Wonderfully, by grace You saved me. Gloriously, the Holy Spirit enabled saving faith. I love You! Amen.