Summary: Nobody’s perfect. The words are both true and of some comfort. But as Christ followers the Good News is far better. Jesus is perfect. and if we pursue him passionately, that rubs off on us in this life.
Billy Graham is now in his late 80’s and he suffers from Parkinson’s disease. His worldwide evangelism ministry has spanned more than sixty years. Awhile back, Billy was invited to speak at a luncheon in North Carolina. After many wonderful things were said about him, Billy stepped to the podium and this is what he said.
“I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time Magazine as the Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached into his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached into his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.
The conductor said, "Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it." Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. The conductor rushed back and said, "Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one." Einstein looked at him and said, "Young man, I too know who I am. What I don’t know is where I am going?"
Billy Graham continued. “See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. My family has been telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to remember the suit I’m wearing. What I want you to remember is this: I not only know who I am…but I also know where I am going.”
Perhaps the greatest blessing of being a Christ follower is having the assurance of eternal life. This is the ultimate endgame. The last time I checked the mortality rate among humans is running a solid 100%. Every single one of us, at some point, will pass from this life into eternity. The Bible says this life is like a vapor. Someone once said if you stretched a rope across the Pacific Ocean from California to Japan, our time on earth would account for only the first inch of that rope. The rest would represent eternity. In other words, the vast majority of our existence won’t be spent here on earth. It will be spent in eternity. So it behooves us to have some answers about what will happen in eternity.
Once again, this is one of the blessings of being a Christ follower. Jesus said he was going to prepare a place for us in heaven. And Jesus told us that he himself was they way to get to there. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) So Jesus is preparing a place in heaven and he’s the way to get there. Jesus also said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36)
In other words, believing in Christ is the key to secure our place in heaven. The most well-known verse in the Bible is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Because of God’s great love for every human being, he sent his Son—Jesus Christ—on a rescue mission. Jesus lived a sinless life. Thus, he could die in our place to pay the penalty for our sin. He took upon himself the punishment we deserved so we would not have to live eternally separated from God.
But to receive this gift of God’s grace, in other words, to reserve our place in heaven, we have to believe in what Christ did for us. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” The Bible makes it very clear that by placing our faith in the finished work of Christ, we become children of God (John 1:12), our name is written in the book of life (Revelation 20:15) and we’re given the gift of the Holy Spirit as a deposit to guarantee our future place in heaven (Ephesians 1:14).