(November 05, 2022) Richard Winter highlights that there is no excuse for concealing wrong actions!
On the spur of the moment one day, my good friend Ray and I decided to ditch school and play golf. It was an easy decision; the golf course was behind a pine forest right that was itself behind our high school and we wouldn’t be seen from the school.
So Ray and I rode our bikes through the pines, retrieved some old clubs and balls from the golf shed, and took off our school blazers and ties that identified our school – and away we went.
We had only played five holes when conscious struck us, and we decided we’d better go to school. So, ties and jackets back on, we cycled down the hill and joined others who were going into the next class, hoping that no one had missed us.
What we didn’t know was we were seen ditching school by a passing driver who went to our school office and reported us! Suddenly an announcement came through: ‘The two boys seen riding through the pine forest this morning – come to the office.’
Well, Ray and I stood up and off we marched. But not bravely, we were really scared and everyone was watching us. What could we say, as we were ushered into the principal’s office – we were completely rumbled.
‘Excuses’ don’t excuse!
There it got scarier. The principal kept doing whatever he was doing, writing apparently. Occasionally he would look up, glare and start writing again. Minutes went by and soon we were perspiring!
Finally he put his pen down and looked straight at us, then asked, ‘Well gentlemen: What’s your excuse for playing golf when you should be at school?’
Ray and I looked at each other, then at the principal and confessed we didn’t have a good excuse except that we wanted to ditch school and play golf. ‘Not good enough, gentlemen; see you here in my office at four o’clock.’
Yes, we had afterschool duties for a week! And yes, we had to write why we – indeed no student – should ditch school. And… as we were seniors we had to attend the junior assembly and tell them why school was critically important to their future.
The truth of the story: We had no excuses to excuse our behaviour! And that’s the revelation that is found in the parable of the great banquet that Jesus tells in Luke 14.
In verses 16-17, He said, ‘A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, “Come, for everything is now ready.”’
Then in verses 18-20, Jesus very pointedly tells about the excuses no to attend that the invited guests all began to make. Here’s three of them that He highlighted: ‘The first said, “I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.” Another said, “I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.” Still another said, “I just got married, so I can’t come.”’
An excuse is something said to conceal the real reason for wrong actions. It’s an attempt to cover up a shortcoming or sin. People who make excuses often exaggerate, lie, and deceive to evade confrontation for their misdeeds.
For example –
- People have excuses for neglect of duty.
- Debtors makes excuses for delay of payment.
- Employees for being late for work.
- Students for being absent or failing in exams.
- Church members for not showing up to church gatherings.
- And so on…
Excuses are here to stay but we should look at them carefully! Excuses can damn not only a person’s character but the very soul!
Let’s look at the seven that have paved the expressway for millions of careless souls going into hell. Yes, hell is a real place and so is heaven. Our personal decisions will determine our direction of travel.
Excuse 1: Everybody else is doing it
Every great man of God that was used by God was a non-conformist, and I don’t mean they were crazy people because these were men who worked out what was important in life!
The Bible commands us not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2; 1 John 2:15).
- Enoch did not conform to the world – he walked with God.
- Noah in his day was quite different – he built an ark to escape sin.
- Abraham – he took a different path when his nephew Lot was attracted to Sodom. Sin is always attractive!
- Daniel and his three friends –theywere different… even in the face of the king’s death penalty, they prayed.
- Paul and the other apostles – they were strangely weird by popular standards of their time! They did what God wanted them to do… going into all the world and teaching about Jesus.
The majority is not always right!
- They were wrong at the time of Noah during the great flood.
- The majority was wrong at the time of Lot during Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction.
- They were wrong at the time of Elijah’s challenge to the Baalites in Israel.
- And they were all wrong at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus!
The majority will still be wrong in the things of God during our time! Proverbs 16:25 warns that ‘There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.’
Excuse 2: Times have changed
They sure have, but God and His word have not changed! Pandemic, increase mortgage rates, crime, politics, inflation, the price of gas, society, fashion and even church has changed.
But God’s word does not! ‘I the Lord do not change’ declares Malachi 3:6; Isaiah. 40:8 says, ‘The word of our God endures forever.’ In this present hi-tech world, the wages of sin is still death (Romans 6:23), both physical and eternal.
Science and technology have greatly aided us but have also sped up sin and rebellion against God and His word! You can see it and do it on a cell phone, anywhere, any time.
Excuse 3: I have my own religion
Some say, ‘I was raised up in another church or religion. It does not matter what religion you have.’
- But ‘religion’ is not synonymous with salvation. The question is – do you have salvation? Do you know 100% for sure that your sins have been forgiven and that you have eternal life?
God makes it clear that you can be saved from hell even right where you are, right now at this very moment… 1 John 5:11-13 tells us that – ‘… God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.’
It’ll soon be Christmas when we’ll be joyfully celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Son of God! But I would take you ahead to Easter… when we’ll rejoice in remembering Jesus’ Calvary death – Jesus sacrificing Himself for us, paying the price for our sins.
That most famous of all scriptures verses, John 3:16, reminds us that, ‘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.’
And John 1:12 confirms that ‘… all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.’
Excuse 4: It doesn’t matter what you believe for, as long as you’re sincere, God will accept you
Satan has used this common excuse more than any other to send people to hell.
- You may be sincere and yet be still sincerely wrong at the same time!
- You may have faith but unless you faith is in the Christ of the Bible alone, you can’t be saved.
- You may have good intentions and decent morality but unless you have Jesus as Lord and Saviour, you cannot enter heaven.
In John 14:6, Jesus declared, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ In other words, He alone is the way, not one way of many! That He is the door all must go through to meet God.
Salvation is found not in religion or anything else on earth but in the person and finished work of Jesus at Calvary!
Excuse 5: I don’t understand the Bible and have many questions
Ignorance is no excuse for not being saved in God’s way! Romans 3:23 says that we are without excuse! That we all have sinned.
None of us needs to know every answer before we can believe and accept God’s free gift of eternal life!
We live in a world full of things that we don’t fully understand, such as – conception, birth, death – but we believe and accept such things! I don’t even understand electricity or why the moon is ‘full or empty.’
God has promised wisdom and guidance to those who need it (James 1:5 cf 1 John 2:27).
Excuse 6: I’ll postpone my decision until some other time
Of course, you can!
But consider that the Bible has a long list of people who shut their open-door opportunity by delaying their right choice for their eternal destiny and thus perished! They are recorded so we will not make the same mistake.
Here I would very seriously ask this pertinent question… ‘Who knows how much time we have to live and make a salvation decision to accept Christ?’
Excuse 7: I am too bad to be forgiven
In Acts 2, we read that Peter – who had denied Jesus – preached on the day of Pentecost and saw some of the men who crucified Jesus believe.
Paul, who intensely persecuted the early church and Christians, called himself ‘the chief of sinners’ (Galatians 1:13; 1Timothy 1:15) was forgiven and serve his Saviour and Lord.
God can and does instantly forgive any repentant sinner who fully believe Jesus Christ, even right now (Isaiah 1:18).
Excuse or a right decision?
Imagine you were sitting on the railroad tracks and a speeding train was coming toward you. You can make one of three possible decisions:
#1. You can totally ignore the train and pretend like it was not coming until it hits you.
#2. You can say, ‘The train is still quite far off and I still have time. I’ll just wait till it gets closer then move away.’
#3. You can heed the warning and get off the track quickly and be saved!
Only one of these responses will save your soul. Which one will you make? Be wise and heed the warning of God in His word – ‘Now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation’ (2 Corinthians 6:2).
The world is full of excuses like the ones mentioned above… most are made in ignorance or rejection of the facts and the truth. The most common of these excuses are:
- Everybody may be doing certain sins.
- Times have changed so it’s not important.
- You may have your own religion.
- Some say it doesn’t matter what you believe so long as you believe something.
- And you may not know or understand the Bible.
- May want to postpone their decision for Jesus till later on.
- Or you think you are too bad to be forgiven.
But… dear reader, if you do not know Jesus, have not accepted Him as your Saviour, I encourage to make the right decision that ensures your eternal salvation.
Romans 10:9-10 says, ‘If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.’
Don’t make an excuse, make a right decision!
Dr Richard Winter pastors The Connection Church, Huntington Beach, California. Link: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com