You’ve seen the scene—tens of thousands of screaming college students and parents—bundled up, huddled up, and always somewhere in the crowd is a wildly crazy group of shirtless guys painted in school colors, jumping up and down in the frigid cold and cheering. It’s Saturday afternoon college football, and few sporting events rise to its drama. In November we witnessed the dramatic end to the #1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide and the #4-ranked Auburn Tigers. The game clock expired with the teams in a dead tie—28 to 28. But the runner stepped out of bounds with one second to go, and that second was put back on the clock. Alabama attempted an unbelievably long 57-yard field goal that would clinch the game. The kick fell short, and Auburn player Chris Davis caught the ball in his own end zone and returned it 109 yards to victory. Game over! Undefeated Alabama had been knocked out of a national championship game.
The fans, the coaches, and the players stood in stunned silence, hand over mouth, looking at the scoreboard—one side in disbelief that they lost and the other equally shocked that they won. Then the clamor of cheers and cries erupted. The thrill of victory matched by the agony of defeat was seen in the faces of all. In the end, for most of us it was only entertainment; we had no skin in the game.
But life is a game that we do have skin in, and at its end there is a score. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:11–12).
God sent His Son into this world for our benefit. The apostle Peter wrote of this fact: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18). God is just; we are not. We sin; Christ paid for our sin. This was accomplished to weight the score decidedly in our favor. God’s Word says, “For he [God] hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin [Christ]; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
When life is over there is no replay, there is no second chance. However, God gives you the chance now to accept his free gift of salvation.
We must trust that Christ died in our place on the cross to make full payment for our sin. We need this atonement for when the final score is tallied at the end of life. At that time of accounting, it would be infinitely better for us to stand before God having accepted Christ as our personal Savior and thus enjoy the thrill of victory than to stand before Him in stunned silence and feel the agony of defeat. There is a heaven, and Christ is the way.
Article by Sam AylestockSingles and Student Ministries, Valley Forge Baptist