Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Turtle On a Fencepost

By David A. Sargent

     The late Alex Haley, who wrote Roots, had a unique picture on his office wall of a turtle sitting on top of a fence post. Whenever someone asked about it, Haley would say, "If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know that he had some help. Any time I start thinking, 'Wow, isn't this marvelous what I've done?' I look at that picture and remember how this turtle, me, got up on that post." *
     Great point!  But, Ken Stegall helps us to realize a great truth: “That’s not really true. [The turtle] didn’t have HELP; someone PUT  it there!
     Receiving HELP to accomplish something implies that you accomplished PART of the task yourself, but lacked the ability to finish the job.  A turtle can’t climb an upright fencepost. Not even a little bit. If it were to try, all its efforts would equal absolute failure.” **
     The point is: We CANNOT save ourselves!  We could never be personally “righteous” enough to merit salvation from sin and “earn” our way to heaven.
     Consider the words of the Apostle Paul: “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (Philippians 3:8-9).
     We “accept” Christ’s offer of salvation and life and are found “in Him” by submitting our lives to His Will through our trusting obedience: placing our faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) INTO CHRIST for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38).
     This we do, NOT to EARN our salvation, but to RECEIVE it.  Then, as we continue to place our hope in Christ and focus our lives on following Him, the blood of Jesus will continue to wash away our sins (1 John 1:7).
     A turtle CAN'T get on top of a fence post unless a hand picks it up and places it there.  You and I can’t “climb our way” to heaven either.
     We must ALLOW Christ to save us!
     It is ONLY His blood that was shed on the cross for our sins that can wash away our sins (Ephesians 1:7) and cause us to be declared righteous and be given the GIFT of eternal life.
     Won’t YOU accept His offer on His terms?

* Philip Barry Osborne in The Handbook of Magazine Article Writing as qtd. In http://bible.org/illustration/alex-haley

**  Ken Stegall, Woodland Oaks Church of Christ, The Woodlands, TX, in “How Did He Get Up There?” via Dan Williams’ PREACHER STUFF RESOURCE EXCHANGE (1/31/13)
- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

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