|Which Way in the Wildfire?|
|Blogs - Ron Hutchcraft's Blogs|
Raging wildfires, every day in the news. When I hear that, my ears perk up. We have friends who lost their home in one of those wildfires recently. And we know Native American friends who are sometimes on the frontlines of fighting them. I hate it when we hear a firefighter has been lost - like one young woman was in Idaho just a few days ago.
With some major fires raging in Washington State this past week, my mind flashed back to a heartbreaking story from another fire in that area. They called it the Thirty-Mile Fire.
It was one of those fires that suddenly exploded, forcing firefighters to stop fighting the fire and start fighting for their lives. Most deployed those survival tents that can save lives in a sudden emergency like this.
Then there were the four rookie firefighters. Partly because of what were later proven to be supervisory errors, they ended up on a road they thought would lead them to safety. It was a dead-end road. And four young firefighters, each one outstanding in their own way, lost their lives there that day.
I can't recall that tragedy without it bringing to mind an even greater tragedy - that costs so many lives. Forever. The Bible starkly describes people who will think they're on a road that leads to life - eternal life - only to find out too late that it's a dead-end road.
The Bible puts it this way: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 16:25 ). That's a disturbing verse. There are a lot of things you can be wrong about without paying a horrific price. But eternity isn't one of them.
Jesus said a lot of people are wrong about where they're headed after they die. He said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13-14 ).
It's popular today to believe that the road to heaven is so wide that any number of beliefs - believed sincerely enough - will get you there. But sincerity doesn't mean you'll escape the fire. Or the fact that it looks like, and feels like the right road - not if it's a dead-end.
Jesus came because, in a sense, every religion is a dead-end road. Because it can't erase your sin. And "nothing impure will ever enter" heaven. (Revelation 21:27 ). Truth is, we're all "impure." We've all, in the Bible's words, "left God's path to follow our own" (Isaiah 53:6 - NLT). And our sin "has separated you from your God" (Isaiah 59:1 ). God says our hijacking of our own life carries an eternal death penalty. That can be paid only one way. Somebody has to die for my sin to get paid for and forgiven.
Clearly, I'm the one who deserves to pay that penalty. But in the greatest act of love in human history, God's Son "personally carried our sins in His body on the cross" (1 Peter 2:24 ). So I did the sinning. Jesus did the dying. I still can't get over it.
Only the One who died for our sins can forgive our sins - and erase what will keep us out of heaven. It's not about the superiority of the Christian religion. It's not about a religion at all - no religion can die for you. It's about a Rescuer - the only One who can save us from the fire of sin's judgment. Because He took that fire for us.
To trust in anything else is to learn too late you've made the greatest mistake a human can make. You chose a dead-end road.