In his book, The Ministry of Marriage, Dr. Jim Binney shares how amazed he was when he saw a live elephant for the first time at the county fair. What amazed him the most was that it was restrained by only a thin rope tied to a small stake in the ground! The huge beast could have easily pulled up the stake and walked away at any time but it didn't. Later he learned that as a young calf the elephant had been chained to a tree stump with a logging chain. Every time he tried to escape, the baby would run at full speed to only be dumped on its belly when he reached the end of its chain. After making several attempts its little brain came to the conclusion that it was a lost cause to try to escape as long as there was resistance on its leg. From then on the handlers would only need the lightest weight line and a small stake because the elephant had been conditioned for captivity.
In John 3 we find Nicodemus, a Pharisee and religious leader of the Jews, in the same situation spiritually bound by his unbelief. You could say he was the “elephant in the room” that night with Jesus.
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13
Believing the lie that religion and good works can save one from condemnation, Nicodemus had been conditioned and condemned to lose.
So many good, religious people are right there. “I’m a good person.” or “I have been baptized.” These thoughts and thoughts like these keep us chained to our false religious belief that being good, going to church, doing good works will get us to heaven. This is exactly where the devil wants us. Believing in ourselves rather than believing in Christ.
Yet, in our own hearts, we know we are condemned already. We know that we are sinners and have come short of the glory of God. The truth is, if I try to to save my life myself I will certainly lose it.
How can one take that step of faith toward a relationship with Jesus Christ? Simply repent of your unbelief, believe on Jesus and receive the free gift of everlasting life.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ and through Jesus alone. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty of death in hell for our sin. He has done everything for us so we can spend eternity with Him.
Heaven is a free gift. All you have to do is receive it. Don’t let the thin rope of false religion bind you and keep you from taking that step of faith in Jesus today.
Loser Bible Study Series Theme Verse:
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” Mark 8:35
“Lose” from the Greek word “Apollymi” means “to destroy fully.” It is translated should in John 3:16, our verse for today.