One Solitary Life
By Kent Heaton
“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:18-19).
Dr. James Allan Francis wrote a powerful story about the life of Jesus. He writes, “Let us turn now to the story. A child is born in an obscure village. He is brought up in another obscure village. He works in a carpenter shop until he is thirty, and then for three brief years is an itinerant preacher, proclaiming a message and living a life. He never writes a book. He never holds an office. He never raises an army. He never has a family of his own. He never owns a home. He never goes to college. He never travels two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He gathers a little group of friends about him and teaches them his way of life. While still a young man, the tide of popular feeling turns against him. One denies him; another betrays him. He is turned over to his enemies. He goes through the mockery of a trial; he is nailed to a cross between two thieves, and when dead is laid in a borrowed grave by the kindness of a friend. Those are the facts of his human life. He rises from the dead. Today we look back across nineteen hundred years and ask, what kind of trail has he left across the centuries? When we try to sum up his influence, all the armies that ever marched, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned are absolutely picayune in their influence on mankind compared with that of this one solitary life. (“The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”).
The apostle Paul described what Jesus did as the one person who changed the history of man. In the Garden of Eden the act of one person lead to the separation of the creation from the Creator resulting in condemnation. Because of the obedience of Jesus to fulfill the work of His Father one man’s righteous act resulted in the justification of life for all those who would come to the cross. While the actions of Eve in the garden brought sin and sorrow, the death of Jesus ushered in the victory over sin and joy of eternal life. The singularity of each act shows the power of how one act can bring heartache, misery, death and condemnation; yet in the single act of Jesus suffering for the sins of all men and giving His life a ransom justification is offered to all men. Salvation would not come through the multitude of sacrifices as if the blood of the millions of animals sacrificed could redeem man. God would only accept the greatest death and His love was so unbounded He willingly offered His only begotten Son as the one sacrifice and hope for man. One God offered one Son to redeem the one act of man that resulted in his condemnation. By one man’s disobedience all men have suffered from the foundation of the world and thanks be to God by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. There is glory and power in the one act of grace that was given by the one Father through the death of one Son.
Eternal life is not given to the mass of humanity because they are a part of humanity. Salvation is singular. Through the action of one person sin came into the world and by the sacrifice of one person righteousness was glorified to give man hope. The irony of the judgment day is that all men will be gathered before the throne of God filling the heavenly hall with the billions of people that have ever lived and yet eternity will be measured by the action of one person – me. My parents will be there but I will be judged alone by my actions. All of my family will be gathered and I will stand alone before God to be judged by what I did – not what others have done. Everyone I have known and will know will be with me at judgment and I cannot vouch for them or them for me. One solitary life will stand before the Lord God and that will be me, myself and I. As one solitary life died to save me I will stand as one solitary life before the one solitary Lord God and Father. What will my one solitary life reflect?
By Stephen Auman
As I passed two elderly women
Looking at the remains of an ancient car
I couldn’t help trying to imagine
The three of them in their prime.
I saw it clearly, though I could only guess
At the colors that had been there
Before pitted rust and snowy hair.
And then a young man drove by
In a pristine new car
And I tried to imagine them
Years from now, aged as the others.
Though for all I knew,
They might be demolished in a wreck
Or meet some other fate.
We never know what comes before or after
Unless we see it or we’re told
By someone who really knows.
And we can only guess.
Scientists say that they know
That they know that they know.
Until the next theory.
“This is what happened,
And this is what is to come.”
And though even mountains are mortal,
We can’t tell how they’ll die
By erosion, or explosion,
Or the slow-rolling ocean
Of crust upon mantle
Or by some other fate.
Even the sun and stars,
The scientists say,
Will die in such a way
In so many many years.
But they neglect to consider
The man who,
With ruler and pencil in hand,
Predicts exactly when the candle
Will burn to its end
Just in time to see
The Candlemaker come in
And snuff it,
Plunging everything into darkness.
Looking to Find Fault
“Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault” (Mark 7:2). Let us suppose I am looking for a field of corn to buy. I travel around seeking for a field which contains good corn. Finally, I see a field which strikes my fancy. The owner says that he will sell it. I then enter the field to see if the corn suits me. As I pass down the rows, the stalks are tall and strong. Almost every stalk has two massive ears hanging from it. However, I pay them little attention. I am looking for something else. Finally, I find it. Over in a low wet corner I find a scrawny little stalk with one little nubbin on it. I pull up the stalk, nubbin and all. I take it to the owner and say, “This is very poor corn. Just look at that nubbin!”
Anyone can easily see that I wasn’t being fair. I wasn’t really looking to see what the field of corn was like. I was just trying to find fault with it. It would seem that I was not really interested in buying the field. I was just looking for the nubbin, and in my search for the nubbin, I overlooked all of the good corn. (From Gospel Messenger) There is an old proverb which says, “He who is looking for faults in his brethren will surely find them.”