Senator Edward Kennedy was a man of significant inf luence in the UnitedÂ States of America for almost half a century. He survived many personal issuesÂ and family troubles. On May 20, 2008, Mr. Kennedy faced another major hurdleÂ – a brain tumor that proved to be an insurmountable barrier. He left this life forÂ eternity on August 25, 2009.
As the late Senator Kennedy faced what he called â€œthe next passage of lifeâ€, heÂ requested the President of his country to hand-deliver a letter from him to the head ofÂ the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI. In the letter he wrote:Â â€œMost Holy Father, I asked President Obama to personally hand-deliver thisÂ letter to you. I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for meâ€¦ IÂ know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faithÂ I have tried to right my pathâ€¦I have done my best to champion the rights ofÂ the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I have worked to welcomeÂ the immigrant, to fight discrimination, and expand access to health care andÂ educationâ€¦ I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic Your Holiness. AndÂ though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believeÂ and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. Iâ€¦would be most thankfulÂ for your prayers for me.â€
During the 50 days after Mr. Kennedy wrote his letter, I hope he found the peaceÂ and forgiveness that comes from knowing Christ as his personal Saviour, but thereÂ are lessons for us that can be learned from his letter.
Lesson #1: Prepare today to meet your Maker.
The Bible says: â€œPrepare to meet your Godâ€ (Amos 4:12). Are you ready to die? Do youÂ have some unattended business to clear up between you and your Maker before youÂ go out to meet Him?
Lesson #2: You have failed according to Godâ€™s standards.
Mr. Kennedy was not the only imperfect human being nor was he the only oneÂ who had fallen short of Godâ€™s holy standards. The Bible is clear – not one person onÂ this planet measures up to Godâ€™s righteous requirements. We are all sinners (RomansÂ 3:23). No one has any â€˜goodnessâ€™ to offer God to gain His favor. Mr. Kennedy wasÂ preparing for death and he was facing his own guilt over failures in his life. WhatÂ about you? Have you faced the guilt of your sins?
Lesson #3: Doing your best is not the way to get eternal life and Heaven
Religion (not the Bible!) teaches that our human efforts will influence Godâ€™sÂ decision as to whether you go to Heaven or Hell after you die.
The Bible is clear – when God grants eternal life He gives it as a gift – not a rewardÂ for accomplishments on earth. â€œThe wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal lifeÂ in Christ Jesus our Lordâ€ (Romans 6:23). We are saved through faith alone in the LordÂ Jesus Christ. â€œIt is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boastâ€ (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Lesson #4: Your record of sinful failures and your guilt can beÂ completely removed.
Regardless of our failures in the past, the Bible says, â€œThe blood of Jesus Christ HisÂ (Godâ€™s) Son cleanses us from all sinâ€ (1 John 1:7). Christ died for your sins and took all theÂ punishment. Now God can offer you, free without charge, the complete forgivenessÂ of all your sins the moment you trust His Son as your own personal Saviour. But youÂ must accept Godâ€™s offer!
Lesson #5: There is only one mediator between you and God.
There is nothing wrong with asking others to pray for you, but no human being,Â regardless of their status, can mediate on your behalf in helping you to find favor withÂ God. Forgiveness is through Christ alone. There is no other way to atone or makeÂ amends for your sins. â€œThrough this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sinsâ€ (ActsÂ 13:38). â€œThere is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesusâ€ (1Â Timothy 2:5).
Accept Godâ€™s offer of salvation today!
Source: Washington Post dated August 29, 2009
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