Samurai and the Art of Perfection
The picture is of ancient samurai warriors practicing the art of archery. They were very good at what they did! Their quest was perfection as they took aim at their target. And, as hard as they trained they would miss their goal of perfection. Whether their imperfection came from a faulty bow and arrow, trembling hands, improper breathing, or just having a bad day, the samurai knew, deep within themselves, that they could not be perfect. It just was not possible.
A Simple Test
People today are very similar to the samurai. As much as we try, we cannot achieve perfection. We believe, overall, that we are good and if there is a God, certainly, we would be good enough to go to Heaven. There is a God in Heaven and He is perfect, Holy, righteous, loving and just. He has a test that you can take to see if you can enter Heaven. Ready? Have you ever lied? (The average person lies four times per day. God says that all liars will have their place in the lake of fire.) Or have you stolen even something small, or looked at a person with lust? Used God’s name in an empty way, or been very angry with someone? In God’s eyes, this is the same as murder. If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then you have failed the test for entry into Heaven. The test is based on His Holy Standard – the Ten Commandments, and the test above was only five of the ten. James 2:10 says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
Are You Truly Guilty?
Because God is perfect this, also, makes Him the perfect Judge. Think of the reason the judge, in your city, sits on the bench. He sits there because he is a good person that can weigh out the circumstances and evidence of a case and deliver a just verdict. Let’s say you stand before this judge guilty of a serious crime. He is about to pass sentence when you say, “WAIT! Judge, I know I have been wrong and I see that clearly now! I will change and be a better person. I know you are a good person and will let me go.” The judge’s simple and correct answer would be, “It is because I am a good person that I have to sentence you. That is why I am on the bench.”
We have sinned and should be sentenced, and the sentence for our sin is clearly stated in Romans 6:23. Imagine you are back in a court room and the Judge is about to pass judgment, and from the back of the room you hear someone say, “Wait, I will take his penalty!” And just like that your sentence has been passed to another! The only reason someone would make this sacrifice is out of true love.
Proof of God’s Love
This what Jesus did for us 2000 years ago – A sinless savior came down from Heaven, in human form, to be our sacrifice. He died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins (I Peter 2:24) and rose up on the third day to show that He is God. This is the highest form of love (John 3:16). This is our second chance. Your only requirement is to turn away from your old life (sin) and turn towards God (Acts 3:19). This is repentance and it is mandatory.
Thoughtfully Consider Your Options
The other side of the coin is refusing Him as He pursues you. This brings us back to Romans 6:23 – The verse states that sin leads to death – an eternal separation, from Him, in Hell. Hell is an unpleasant word, but a very real place. Jesus talks more about Hell than He does Heaven. This should be a very real indicator that our predicament is serious and we should be careful in how we move forward.
It is because God is merciful that we have this amazing opportunity, through His unfailing love. We have clearly sinned and not lived according to His righteous standard. Even so, God has provided unmerited divine assistance – this is grace. Think of where you stand before our Holy God. As the ancient samurai knew, deep within themselves, they could not be perfect, we know that we have a God, and we have not met His Holy Standard. He has pursued you with an everlasting love and is ready and waiting for you to repent and turn towards Him. Know that God loves you (John 3:16). Humble yourself. Repent of your sins (Acts 3:19) and put your faith in Jesus Christ alone to save you.
This encounter was not by chance, but ordained by our Holy God.