Morning came early, and I started out late!
My alarm was set for 5:00 AM, but by the time my eyes focused on the clock, the time was 7:26 AM, and I had to leave my house by 7:40 AM to get to work on time! I quickly did some “fuzzy” math, and calculated that I had less than 20 minutes to get ready!
I threw back the covers, jumped out of bed, pressed my clothes, showered, washed my hair, dressed, packed my bag, and ran out the door. This is not a typical morning for me. Usually, I prepare the night before, and I cannot remember the last time I overslept!
Backing out of the garage, aggravated for oversleeping, the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13) popped into my mind.
Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids
25 “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids[a] who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
7 “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’
9 “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’
13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
Christ could return at any time. We are told to be alert because we don’t know the day or the hour. Five Bridesmaids were unprepared for His coming, as well as being late! The door was shut, and they missed Jesus! How devastating to be left behind.
God gives His children second, third, and more than we deserve chances every day, and if the Lord doesn’t return before morning, I’ll have another opportunity to start my day off right. But if He does return before morning, there will be no second chance for the one who does not know Jesus as their Savior. If that is you, please take the time to prepare for His coming while there’s still time.
One of my favorite Bible study resources is Got Questions. Below is an article from Got Questions explaining how you can be saved.
Question: “What are the steps to salvation?”
Answer: Many people are looking for “steps to salvation.” People like the idea of an instruction manual with five steps that, if followed, will result in salvation. An example of this is Islam with its Five Pillars. According to Islam, if the Five Pillars are obeyed, salvation will be granted. Because the idea of a step-by-step process to salvation is appealing, many in the Christian community make the mistake of presenting salvation as a result of a step-by-step process. Roman Catholicism has seven sacraments. Various Christian denominations add baptism, public confession, turning from sin, speaking in tongues, etc., as steps to salvation. But the Bible only presents one step to salvation. When the Philippian jailer asked Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul responded, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31).
Faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior is the only “step” to salvation. The message of the Bible is abundantly clear. We have all sinned against God (Romans 3:23). Because of our sin, we deserve to be eternally separated from God (Romans 6:23). Because of His love for us (John 3:16), God took on human form and died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserve (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). God promises forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven to all who receive, by grace through faith, Jesus Christ as Savior (John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; Acts 16:31).
Salvation is not about certain steps we must follow to earn salvation. Yes, Christians should be baptized. Yes, Christians should publicly confess Christ as Savior. Yes, Christians should turn from sin. Yes, Christians should commit their lives to obeying God. However, these are not steps to salvation. They are results of salvation. Because of our sin, we cannot, in any sense, earn salvation. We could follow 1000 steps, and it would not be enough. That is why Jesus had to die in our place. We are absolutely incapable of paying our sin debt to God or cleansing ourselves from sin. Only God could accomplish our salvation, and so He did. God Himself completed the “steps” and thereby offers salvation to anyone who will receive it from Him.
Salvation and forgiveness of sins is not about following steps. It is about receiving Christ as Savior and recognizing that He has done all of the work for us. God requires one step of us—receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior from sin and fully trusting in Him alone as the way of salvation. That is what distinguishes the Christian faith from all other world religions, each of which has a list of steps that must be followed in order for salvation to be received. The Christian faith recognizes that God has already completed the steps and simply calls on the repentant to receive Him in faith.
Have you received Christ as your Savior because of what you have read here today? If so, please let me know.