An essay by Jackie Houchin
Perhaps you’ve heard of the 1970’s song – Bridge Over Troubled Waters – composed by Paul Simon and produced by Simon & Garfunkel and Roy Halee. The title concept was inspired by Claude Jeter‘s line “I’ll be your bridge over deep water if you trust in my name,” which Jeter sang with his American gospel group, the Swan Silvertones, in the 1959 song Mary Don’t You weep. *
For me, Jesus Christ is that “bridge,” maybe not over troubled or deep waters, but for sure over the wide chasm that is Hell. Between sinful mankind and a holy God in Heaven, there is a gap so wide that none can leap over it. And when trying, there is only failure and falling and final eternity in torment.
Since the Garden of Eden, when mankind first turned its back on God and disobeyed His only command, humanity has carried the curse of sin. There’s no way out of it. It’s in our DNA.
- “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” ~ Romans 3:10-11, ESV.
- “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” ~ Romans 3:23, ESV.
- “Surely there is no righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” ~ Ecclesiastes 7:20 ESV.
You might protest, “I’m a good person. I’ve never robbed a bank or murdered anyone. Sure, I’ve told a few white lies; cussed a few times; cheated just a little bit on my Income Tax. But is that so bad?” We might not think so, but God’s word says in James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”
- THE BAD NEWS: “The wages (results) of sin is death...”
- THE GOOD NEWS: “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~ Romans 6:23
So how can a person, born with sin DNA ever hope to escape Hell and reach God? How is Jesus the bridge over that horrible chasm? How can we have eternal life?
As Jesus said to a religious leader in John chapter 3, “You must be born again” (without damaged DNA). You must be born of the Spirit. And the way that can happen is to, first acknowledge you ARE a sinner and are without hope. Understand that no amount of good deeds done will ever get you to heaven. All of your perceived righteousness is “filthy rags” to God. (Isaiah 64:6 KJV).
Then agree with God that you are indeed a sinner without hope in yourself. (That’s what confessing means.) And it’s okay to cry, even wail, at this point for your “lostness”. Then you need to turn to God (that’s repenting) for cleansing and forgiveness and to be born again of the Spirit. But how does that happen when you have that ever-present death sentence hanging over you because of your sin nature?
Here’s how, according to God’s word.
“God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.“ ~ 1 John 4:9-10 NLT
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:8
“But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” ~ Isaiah 53:5-6 ESV
- On a cross.
- Taking our “wages” upon Himself.
- Experiencing the wrath of God on His body and soul on our account.
- Totally finishing the work of salvation that He came to do.
- The open tomb.
- Risen Lord!
- The sin dept of all who believe in Him – PAID IN FULL!
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is (your) Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” and “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9-11,13 ESV
Call on the glorious and awesome Name of the Lord Jesus Christ! Give your life – heart, body & soul – to Him. And receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration (being born again) and renewal (new birth) of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” ~ Titus 3:4-7 ESV
And then rejoice and praise the Lord. Thank Him for saving you by His grace!
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved -“ and “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.“ ~ Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9 ESV.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” ~ Romans 10:1-2 ESV.
If you have been born anew, you have God’s Holy Spirit living in you to help you live a Holy life that pleases God. (1 Peter 1:15-16). He’s given you His Spriritual gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to live by. (Galatians 5:22-23).
He’s also given you the means to fight against the temptations to sin – from the world, your own flesh, and the devil. It’s called Spiritual Armor and you put it on daily. (Ephesians 6:10-18a).
And when (not if, but when) you yield to temptations and grieve the Holy Spirit in you by sinning, God has promised you instant cleansing and renewal in 1 John 1:9 ~ “If we confess our sins (agree with God that what we did was sin and we hate it), He is faithful and just (because of Jesus’ work on the cross) to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Thank You, God!
And now, you can be sure that you will cross that “Bridge” to meet the Holy God and live in His eternal Heaven when you die.
Meanwhile, pray, read God’s Word, join believers in worship, and share the Good News with everyone.