Keep a car long enough, and sooner or later it happens. Something so bad goes wrong that the vehicle must be replaced. This year I heard the news about my beloved ’97 custom Ford F150 from Desi the mechanic, “Sorry Nick, but your motor is sucking on 3 of the 8 cylinders. It’s only going to get worse . . . and here’s the bad news; it’ll cost more to repair than the truck is worth. At 280,00 miles, your truck is ready to be retired.”
“Retired?!” I thought to myself. I am of the age where I remember a time when tires went bald, you didn’t “retire” them, you “retreaded” them so they would live on to continue to serve you. Couldn’t that also be done for old cars? And I wondered about that “Cost more than it was worth” idea. Certainly worth is measured in more than dollars. If a loved one was sick, we would say, “fix her, no matter the cost!” … But then again, the ole Ford wasn’t a beloved person. It was just a truck.
Now, to be sure, I considered that I still “needed” a truck, so I started shopping around. New was definitely beyond the budget. Used in as good a condition as I wanted both in and out also turned out to be thousands beyond what I could really justify paying. So I took another look at “Ole Blue”.
While it would involve paying about twice the blue book value of the truck itself, I could put a rebuilt motor in it for still less than half what I would have to pay for a good used truck with 150,000 miles on it. Since I had recently rebuilt the drive-train and suspension, and serviced the transmission, I figured replacing the motor would make her “as good as new with ‘virtually’ NO miles on it.” … so I did! And now you can still see me driving around in “Ole Blue”; good as new! . . . Except it’s not. The truck still has 280,000 miles on it (and continuing to accumulate miles!). The motor itself isn’t really “new”. Many of its parts may still have hundreds of thousands of miles on it. The motor, and the rest of the truck will eventually succumb to wear and tear and eventually wear out. DIE.
One of the unbreakable rules of the universe is that EVERYTHING eventually breaks down; wears out. It’s call the Second Rule of Thermodynamics; Entropy. The rule exists because the universe itself is broken; winding down; wearing out. It’s not just old cars, it’s EVERYTHING . . . even people.
But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if it were possible to make everything new . . . and KEEP it all new . . . forever! What if it was possible to make it so that nothing ever wore out; nothing died; nobody died? How much would it cost? Would it be “worth the cost”?
Unfortunately, we are all contained within and part of the closed system of this “broken and dying” universe. In fact, we are all descended from the two that originally broke the universe (and we continue in their footsteps no better and often worse than them). The entire universe (all time, space, and matter) was irreparably broken when Adam and Eve rejected the authority of the creator of all time space and matter. As we are contained within and part of this closed broken system, it is beyond our ability to “fix it”.
Now if the Creator of the Universe (God) could create one universe, He could certainly create another. He could also “un-create” the broken one. And that is exactly what He has told us He will do. The “good news” for us, is that He wants to “fix” us and bring us into the new, unbroken universe. The “good news” for us is that He is willing to do this thing that we ourselves are incapable of doing for ourselves NO MATTER THE COST!
Last week the world around celebrated “Christmas”. Celebrated right, it is a celebration of God Himself coming into our brokenness in order to pay the cost to rescue us from this broken universe, and our sinful broken selves; to make us completely new, and finally to bring us into a new and perfect creation where there is no brokenness, no wearing down and out, no death, but LIFE forever without end.
It must be clearly understood that this is something beyond our own ability to do or pay for. NOTHING we do or desire has anything at all to do with whether or not we will be taken into this perfect, eternal new life. It is a free gift. To receive a gift, means you DON’T PAY ANYTHING AT ALL; someone else has already paid for it. God, the Son paid for it . . . with His very life. His life for yours. THAT is how much you are worth to Him.
If you don’t want the gift, you can simply leave it unopened and it will never be yours. Better, you can keep it and simply say,
“Thank You, Jesus”.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1-5)
Rev. Nick Wirtz is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church at 2750 Mogollon Dr. in Overgaard, AZ and can be reached at (323) 717-4390. Pastor Nick resides in Overgaard with his wife Patricia. He has spent over 20 years as a pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod with most of that time spent in bi-lingual (English-Spanish) ministry. He also serves on the board of the local Salvation Army as an advisor, and as Chaplain for Post 86 American Legion Riders. He’s also known to be seen pickin’ a little guitar around town from time to time.