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With Faith, Failure Is Not an Option

By James Washington Contributing Writer | 7/12/2013, 9:22 a.m.

I don’t know exactly why I remembered that certain Sunday when I was moved to accept the truth of my own salvation.

The New Member Deacon asked a rather simple question, looking back on it. Did I believe in Jesus Christ? For all the angst I was feeling about a public declaration of faith, hindsight reminds me that such a simple question should have been quickly answered with exhilarating affirmation.

I don’t know if it was because this was happening after 50 years of living or not, but I remember this was a difficult “Yes” to get out of my mouth. That’s a story to share for another time. My point here is that, then as now, it’s all about Jesus.

The simplicity of salvation is very easy to comprehend. We tend to complicate things because we live in a world that, in many ways, is very much influenced by Satan. And, as a former bible study classmate of mine used to say, Satan is as slick as they come. You see the devil has a 24/7/365 job that he relishes. And why not? We keep him highly motivated.

As any of you who read this column regularly know, my favorite text in the bible is the face-to-face confrontation of Jesus and Satan in the desert. It’s all right there. What Lucifer tempts Christ with is what he traps us with. The Son of Man is the only human being I know who was strong enough to win the battle of good and evil so decisively.

We all need all the help we can get avoiding temptation, and that help is readily identified in Matthew 4:1-11. Each time the devil tried to get Christ to prove Himself, or entice Him to actually worship Satan, Jesus’ reply was “…it is written.” Christ’s fallback position at this critical moment in the life and death struggle for the soul of humanity was to rely on scripture. Here we have it affirmed for us, for all time, that we win the battle for life after death with the ammunition provided to us as it is contained in the Word.

If you take nothing else from what I’m saying, take this: Never go to a gunfight with an unloaded gun. For God’s sake and yours, take some ammunition. If Christ used the Word in His battle, I think it prudent that we at least try and do the same thing.

I’m particularly moved by this part of the bible because it shows that by following Jesus’ example, salvation is there for us to share in. I also find it ironic that once the devil was defeated, the bible says angels came down and attended to Christ. Everything -- and I do mean everything (and more) -- that the devil offered, God granted. If the truth be told, it was Christ’s birthright to begin with, as well as mine and yours also.

Now on my salvation Sunday, I kept thinking there had to be more to this being saved thing than three simple affirmations of belief in Jesus’ life and death and resurrection and return. There just had to be more. But whenever I go back and read about the most significant battle in history, simple recognition becomes my ultimate epiphany. Battles come and go, but the war is over. We won.

May God bless and keep you always.