Having just passed our one-year anniversary of moving to Florida, I have been thinking about all that we went through to get here: How we visited here, then returned to Ohio to prepare for the move, getting the house ready to sell, putting it on the market, getting a completed contract … and then the closing!
Most of the process was a very pleasant process, but … oh, the closing! The title company for the closing (not any of the local ones!) did not have one form completed by the buyer that they needed to have to complete the process, and they would not accept the simple solution to the problem, but rather had to follow their own much-more-complicated procedure, which as it was took an extra 11 days and was only completed hours before our closing on our home here in Florida!
Those 11 days were filled with phone calls, and anxiety, and nervousness, and all, wondering if it was ever going to be completed – or if we were going to be hung out to dry with no home to move into and no money to purchase it!
Now, in reality, neither of us were much worried about the outcome, for we knew that everyone wants to complete the transaction on both ends – our selling our home in Ohio, and our purchasing another in Florida.
But things did get a little tense. Anyone who has ever been through this process knows the tremendous sense of relief when that final contract is in the mail, the money has been successfully wired, and the whole process has been “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered!”
The clouds of doubt have rolled away and the sunshine of euphoria has prevailed!
In a very real sense, that is what anyone who is a true follower of Jesus Christ can say about their relationship with God: It is signed, sealed, and delivered!
The Apostle Paul made this very clear when he wrote the church at Ephesus, saying, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
In these two short verses he proclaims, “Christian, take notice! YOU have been signed, sealed, and delivered!” He is saying to each of us who have heard the gospel and responded in faith to its teachings that the agreement for our eternal destiny has been signed. It has been sealed by the Holy Spirit, and delivered as a deposit for our full inheritance, which will be ours when we cross over the threshold of eternity and see Him face to face. It may be helpful for us to see how this all works:
First of all, it is a signed deal. It is all bound up in the one truth that is called the gospel, the good news about our salvation. We live in a world where “truth” is becoming relative – it is something that is up to each individual to decide for themselves what “truth” is.
But the reality is that there is only ONE truth, not “my truth” or “your truth”, but God’s truth! And that truth is bound up in a person – the person of Jesus Christ, who alone has the power to save. My good works will not save me. My good looks will not save me – thank goodness!
My frequent church attendance will not save me. My helping the poor will not save me. My being a nice guy will not save me. Only one thing in all the universe will save me, and that is my complete trust in Jesus Christ.
And, my friends, it is not enough just to believe that Jesus lived and died, and even rose again. The Bible tells us that even the demons believe that stuff! But we must trust in Him, putting our complete faith in Him for our eternal salvation.
Faith is hard to define, but there are several ways to describe it. I have heard faith described as trusting your car to start when you press on the accelerator, or as trusting the pharmacist to give you the proper medication after you hand him (or her) a prescription written in the illegible handwriting of your physician!
But perhaps one of the best illustrations of faith in practice is found in an airport. Once you purchase your ticket, and check your luggage, get your boarding pass, and proceed through the TSA security gates (hopefully without incident), you proceed to the departure gate and wait for the boarding calls to begin. Your next step is to proceed through the tunnel to the plane, and board.
As you sit down in your seat, have you ever thought about what a step of faith you are taking to use that “long metal tube” to get you from where you are to where you are going? Those in the know tell us that on average, a fully loaded plane ready for departure weighs roughly 175,000 pounds. That is almost 90 tons! The plane itself weighs 90,000 pounds. The fuel weighs another 40,000 pounds, and the passengers and cargo weigh, on average 35,000 pounds.
I don’t know about you but for me that is a tremendous step of faith to think that that 175,000-pound object could take me anywhere except down to the end of the runway and crash, let alone to get off the ground and fly!
When you and I are trusting Christ alone for our salvation, we are putting our life in the hands of the Pilot of the Universe to get us safely to our destination. The Bible tells us that, indeed, that agreements is “Signed!” It is a done deal, as we look to Him!
Next week, we will continue this discussion, including the “Sealed, and Delivered!” aspects of this!
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Times-Gazette. He is also the former Pastor of Port William UMC.