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No 'almost' with God
August 29, 2011
by Rev. David R. Erbel, St. Peter Lutheran Church, Lester Prairie

It was a nice, hot summer day, and we were out on the lake early. At about 8 a.m., we came back into the marina for a little breakfast.

While standing on the dock, we watched two fishermen put their boat into the lake. They had a boat that would be the envy of many anglers, and their fishing equipment was a dream supply of rods and reels and tackle boxes. You could tell that they were experienced.

They methodically prepared their boat for launch. One man got into the boat, while the other man backed the boat and trailer into the lake. Coming to an abrupt stop, the boat slid quietly off the trailer into the water and floated away from the dock area.

The man started the large outboard boat motor and backed a little father out. Then the engine died. He was repeatedly trying to start the motor, when he looked back towards the engine.

He hollered out to his fishing buddy, “Where’s the plug?”

The reply came, “I don’t know.”

The distance between the boat and the dock increased. Another boater towed the now sinking boat to shore and beached it. Other boaters retrieved the floating fishing equipment for them.

The fisherman in the boat – holding the plug in the air – said “Almost. . . . I almost found it in time!”

Almost means missed opportunities, aborted efforts, and fumbled chances. Our life often introduces us to the word “almost.”

Almost is sitting on the bench and never getting to play. Almost is a birthday cake that never rises high enough. Almost is the fish that got away, the investment that didn’t quite make it, the promotion you almost got. It is also the witness of your faith and trust in God – that you almost shared.

Jesus tells us in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Jesus does not say, “I am almost the way – or almost the truth – or almost the life.” Rather, God tells us that Jesus is the way, that Jesus is the truth, that Jesus is life. There is no “almost” about salvation.

The way to salvation is not what we would expect.  It is not a route or a set of directions.  Instead, it is a person – Jesus Himself – who is also God.  Jesus came to earth – not to almost forgive sin, but to actually forgive you your sins.

Jesus must take us. He comes to us in His grace and gifts us with faith. In fact, that is exactly what Jesus promises in John 14: 2-3 by saying: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

This way is totally different from the false religions in the world.  Those religion may teach that we must work our own way into God’s good standing.  They may promote a path that we must walk in our own abilities.  The false religions of the world set us up for Satan’s world of “almost” being saved.

The “almost” of Satan is a reason we can take great comfort in the fact that Jesus Christ is the one and only way for salvation by God’s grace.  Jesus is the only one who endured the worst temptations of the devil and the world and remained without sin. 

As the only perfect human, Jesus – as God and man – is the only one who could satisfy God’s justice.  He is the only one who could endure the wrath of God against sin.  His holy nature makes Jesus the only one whom death could not hold.

There are no almosts with God. We have confidence that Jesus is the way because He rose from the dead. 

How comforting it is to know that Jesus will bring His own to His Father’s house safely because He, Himself, is the way. 

How reassuring it is to know that Jesus is the full presence of God with His people even now. 

How marvelous it is to know that although we cannot see Him, Jesus is here with us now – and He brings heaven and all its blessings with Him. 

By the Holy Spirit, we are God’s witnesses to our neighbors and the world. Our joy is to tell the world that Jesus is “no almost Savior” – He is their loving, loyal, living Lord.

There is no “almost” about Jesus. He is the way to salvation.. Jesus is the truth, and He is the life!

In Jesus, there is forgiveness of sins. Jesus is our only sure hope.