The last three weeks we have seen that in baseball, no matter the level of competition from Little League to Major League, there is one fact always constant. Home plate is 17 inches wide. The standard is never changed to make is easier for the players. They must abide by the same standard. They do not widen the plate if the pitcher is having trouble getting the pitches over the plate or narrow it because the batter chooses not to swing, it always remains the same.
This week we are continuing to use Psalm 119: 1-8 as Scripture. When one reads this great chapter of the Bible, we find that it is describes the Word of God and the standards that God’s Holy Word sets forth for man to follow. Let us walk though those eight verses and be reminded of what they tell us.
In verse 1 we are told that man can be happy or blessed only when he allows the law of the Lord to lead him and he is not defiled by the world’s teachings. Verse 2 tells us that we are blessed or happy when we follow the teaching of the Word of God and allow it to determine our lifestyle choices. Verse 3 teaches that when we are walking in the ways of God, we will not seek to live in sin. Verse 4 teaches that God has commanded that we keep His Word with diligence. Verse 5 teaches we must seek to allow the Word of God to guide our steps through this world. Verse 6 lets us know that if we live by His word, we will not be ashamed when we stand before Him at judgment. Verse 7 encourages us to praise the Lord as we learn more about what His word says to us. Lastly, verse 8 teaches that when we know what the Bible says, we will have a desire to follow it faithfully.
In these columns we have been looking at the Bible as our home plate, or the standard that is to be used to call the balls and strikes of life. It is not to be changed or widened because we have sin in our lives, that we want to rationalize.
We are looking at four areas where man has tried to widen the plate of God’s standards to conform our way of living with the world’s standards instead of allowing God’s word to transform us. In our last lessons we discussed widening the plate in our homes, in our government, and in our churches. Let us look at another area today.
We have widened the plate concerning salvation. This is the most devastating of all the compromises we make, because one’s eternity rests in the balance. The falsehoods that are being spread today sound good, for they tell man that he is better than he truly is and one can earn their way to heaven. Let us look at some false views that are being believed by mankind that makes man believe he can find acceptance in the eyes of God by his own efforts.
There is the teaching that says if one just lives a good moral life and be a good person, God will accept you for your sincere efforts. There are some that teach, if you join a church or join their particular church, then God will be pleased, and you will be safe. There are some who place their trust in being baptized or saying a specific prayer. There are some that teach if you believe in a higher power of any kind, then you will be saved. These teachings and more are man widening the plate because they do not want to have a relationship with God on God’s terms. Man wants to get to heaven, but on their own terms instead of God’s way.
The Bible is crystal clear, there is only one way of salvation and that is through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone. There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by me.” The standard for salvation is simple and cannot be compromised. Man must realize he is a sinner who cannot meet the perfect holy standards of God.
There is nothing one can do to measure up to God’s perfect demands. Jesus came, as our substitute, to meet the holy standards of God on our behalf, to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. Since a holy God will be judging, Christ bore the price of our sin when He died on the cross in our place and rose again on the third day. His raising from the dead was proof the life Jesus lived and the death He died was sufficient to provide salvation for all humanity. To receive God’s gift of salvation, one must place their trust and faith in His finished work of salvation. One must pray and admit they are a sinner, ask Him for forgiveness, and accept His free gift of salvation.
My friend, according to the Word of God, this standard is the only way to be saved and has been provided by our loving Lord.
We are sinners and it is easy to try to widen the plate in our homes, government, churches and concerning salvation. God’s standards, though, are just like home plate in baseball, they cannot be changed to fit sinful man, but man is to allow God to transform and mold us to the standards of His word. Let us stop trying to widen the plate.