If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Friday, September 23, 2011

No Other Address

I wrote this several years ago. I thought I would publish it here, too:

[Jesus said], "unless you believe I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24).

It came back to me twice. The first time, I only glanced at the address, thinking my email provider's network was acting up again - as it does occasionally. But when my message returned the second time to my in-box, I looked more closely at the address. Then I saw my mistake: I had accidentally added a letter to the addressee's name.

Unlike mail delivered by the U. S. Postal Service, an electronic-mail address demands perfection. Mail carriers have correctly delivered mail to my house despite multiple misspellings on the envelope. I have even received my mail when it was addressed to the incorrect house number. Electronic mail, however, is a different story. One letter out of place, one character missing, and your letter is not going anywhere but into the great cyberspace-boomerang.

The analogy is not perfect, but when it comes to the subject of eternal salvation, many people presume God is more like a friendly mail carrier than an inflexible email provider. They believe it doesn't matter how the mail is addressed: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, the Good Fairy. All roads lead to heaven -- or so the argument goes. As long as our intentions are good, the celestial delivery service will get us where we want to go.

They couldn't be more wrong. God accepts only one address for eternal life. He has determined only one Savior, one Bridge between us and God, one Door between heaven and earth.

The Jewish Prophets caught just a glimpse of Him. Isaiah said He shall be called, " . . . Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace'" (Isaiah 9:6). The prophet Daniel added, "And to Him was given (an everlasting) dominion . . . that all the peoples . . . might serve Him" (Daniel 7:14). But it was not until half a millennium after Daniel's death that the Savior's identity was fully revealed.

St. Peter told those gathered in Jerusalem that heaven's only acceptable address is spelled JESUS CHRIST (Acts 4:12). St. Paul wrote, "At the name of Jesus, every knee should bow . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" (Philippians 2:10-11). Jesus Himself said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me (John 14:6).

Sometimes I am frustrated when the cyber-postmaster rejects my email. The idea that I could have made a mistake hardly crosses my mind. It's easier to place blame on the email provider, and more than once I have muttered aloud that if they can't be more efficient, I'll take my business elsewhere. Truth is, however, I don't need another email provider. I just need to follow the rules when I address my mail. Nothing short of perfection will work.

God's rule about eternal life is equally rigid. He requires nothing short of perfection in our "address." There is no savior but Jesus. No forgiveness of sins except through Jesus. No access to heaven apart from Jesus. Anything added to His rule, anything taken away, will only result in our rejection at heaven's gates.

And there will be no in-box available for a second chance.

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