Who would have thought that, from 24th March 2020, the citizens of the United Kingdom would only be able to leave their homes if they are:
- Shopping for essentials.
- Exercising (just once a day, either alone or with others who live in the same home).
- In medical need.
- Travelling to and from their place of work.
While we all understand the need for these controls, many people who rarely leave their homes now feel the need to “get out for some fresh air”. Controls such as these make us feel suffocated, helpless, useless. We just can’t do anything.
While most of life requires us to travel, or to work, or to interact with other human beings, there is one very important matter that requires us to do no physical activity.
In fact the recognition of our own ability to do nothing is essential.
Let us suppose that personal salvation, a relationship with God, forgiveness of sins, the assurance of being in heaven required some work on our part. If we had to go on a pilgrimage to earn salvation, what hope would we have at the present time? If we had to attend church every week, what hope would we have? If we had to do good to our neighbours, many of us wouldn’t have the opportunity, isolated as we are. The good news is that none of these activities are necessary to obtain salvation. In fact, salvation is enjoyed by the person “who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4.5).
God has made salvation available to all people in all circumstances. The Bible tells of a man who was nailed to a cross beside the Lord Jesus. He had been a criminal, a thief, a mocker and blasphemer. He was being executed for crimes against the Roman authorities. His hands and feet were pierced, and his life was ebbing away from him. He couldn’t do anything to fix his past life in this world; he couldn’t do anything to change his future life in this world. However, he received the promise of Jesus “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23.43). How did he obtain this assurance?
The dying thief realised that, while he could do nothing to save himself, Jesus Christ could do all that was needed. The thief admitted that he was guilty of sin and recognised that he deserved judgment; but he also discerned that Jesus was very different: “we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” (Luke 23.41). Why was Jesus on the cross if it was not because He was a guilty man receiving punishment for His own sins? The Bible answers: “Christ died for our sins”; “He was wounded for our transgressions” (1 Corinthians 15.3; Isaiah 53.5).
The good news is that while we can’t do anything to earn salvation, Christ has done everything to make it available to us.
From the cross He cried “It is finished” (John 19.30) and now, like the dying thief, we need simply to turn to Him in faith — trusting Him to do for us what we can’t possibly do for ourselves. The thief simply placed his case in the hand of Jesus with the words, “Lord, remember me” (Luke 23.42).
While this is a period of unprecedented restriction, it could also be the time when you enter into true freedom in Christ. He has done the work to provide salvation for you and, if you trust him today, He will do the work of granting salvation to you. The thief discovered that Jesus was waiting and willing to save him. As the risen Lord, He is waiting and willing to save you.
Why not trust Him just now, for, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10.13).