You can find the truth in the fine print

Published 5:26 am Monday, July 24, 2023

You hear it in radio advertisements just after a magnificent sales pitch and you find yourself tempted to spring from your seat and rush out and buy whatever it is they are selling.
It’s then you hear the words, “Certain restrictions apply!”
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
Way down in the corner is that phrase, “Terms and conditions apply!”
And maybe it has happened to you this way: you’ve made the purchase, you’ve taken the product home only to find what you think you’ve got, you’ve not!
And then while looking at your receipt you find those words – oh, those wonderful words… “Certain restrictions apply.”
There are a lot of religions and belief systems out there today for the world to choose from. Many with great slogans and appeal – some are even endorsed by famous people and prestigious organizations.
The problem arises, however, when it comes time to see what they are really worth. You see, certain religions paint the picture of a wonderful experience, but the fine print will kill you. Or maybe it’s not a religion at all that you are trusting in but good works.
Pollsters tell us that many today believe that they can earn their way to heaven by simply being good. The problem is that you can’t be good enough to get to heaven. Enter again the problem of that pesky old fine print.
Listen to the words of the apostle Paul as he addressed a group of people on Mars Hill in the cultural epicenter of his day – Athens, Greece. “Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, we will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed.”
Paul reminds us that there are many ways to live, some even good and noble, but when the balance comes due, each of us will stand before God, a God who sent his son to die for us and who became our only avenue of access to Him.
I want to quickly call your attention to the three responses of those who heard him that day. The reason is that they truly mirror the heart responses of the world to message of Jesus today.
Notice first that some mocked, or made fun of the message of Christ. That still happens today by those who see Christianity as merely a group of crazies that are fools for what they believe.
Also, there were those under the sound of Paul’s voice that simply put off their decision. Did you hear them, “we will hear thee again of this matter”? This is also a popular response to the life changing message of the Gospel today. And notice the third heart response, “certain men clave to him, and believed”. That’s the option I recommend to you.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Missy Sullivan noted that many user agreements, warranties, and disclaimers that come with products are nearly unreadable.
Intentionally set in very small type, they actually discourage people from understanding them.
Because of this, many people don’t read all the terms of contracts before signing them. In contrast, the Lord is always seeking to communicate with His people in clear and compelling ways, with no attempt to confuse or deceive.
The Lord wants us to understand His plan and purpose clearly.
The fine print of the scripture reminds us that Jesus is “the way the truth and the life”, and that “no man cometh unto the father but by me.”
Jesus said that, not me.
Don’t overlook the fine print and you’ll be better off… forever!

Tim Throckmorton is the national director of Family Resource Council’s Community Impact Teams.

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