Back in 1959, I officially began my teenage years. Music was already a big part of my life, and not just one type. My Mom was from Tennessee, and one of her cousins, and her cousin’s husband, were performing members of the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium. Old-time classic country-western music was, and still is, among my favorites. (any emphasis mine)
Another part of my heritage is classical Southern Gospel Music. I have been blessed over the years to have met in person, and listened to, many of the Southern Gospel performers and groups. The majority of them have been good, down-to-earth performers who share a deep love of our Lord and Savior. I am not a real fan of the “modern” type gospel music, but to each their own.
Having been present during the 50’s and 60’s start of the classic Rock-and-Roll era, I still enjoy listening to what’s now called “oldies but goodies.” As a teenager, I did get to attend several concerts that came to my home town; and at that time, the music was good enough for the whole family to hear.
Right about now, you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with worshiping the Lord. After all, even the classical oldies had little to do with true Heavenly things.
While there are not a large number to draw from, there are some secular songs I can hear today, and apply them to my Love for Jesus, the Heavenly Father and Holy Spirit. One such song was originally released in 1957 by a singer whom I didn’t realize that we had crossed paths with more than once; and that was Jackie Wilson with his version of “To Be Loved.”
Doing a bit of research, I discovered he was from Detroit, Michigan, and as a youth had spent a couple “tours” in a Juvenile Detention Home in Lansing, Michigan, my home town. Even though his tours were just before my high school years, that facility was right next to my high school, and the two were separated only by a chain link fence.
Later, in 1975, he was at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where he had his heart attack on stage. I lived near that area at the time, and I read about that incident and learned he was admitted to a nursing home in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. I was not there when he passed away in 1984 at 49 years of age.
The song he performed was about an earthly relationship, but with the exception of a couple lines, it could be applied to our Heavenly Father’s Love for us, and our love for Him.
Consider the first stanza, “Someone to care; someone to share; lonely hours, and moments of despair. To be loved, to be loved, Oh, what a feeling to be loved.”
Immediately, my mind goes to John 3:16-18 and Romans 5:8-9. We can’t even begin to comprehend why and how the Creator of this universe, and everything in it, could ever love each and every one of us individually. Most so-called other religions worship their impersonal deities that they claim require many works, prayers and total dedication or one may face even martyrdom. There are no personal relationships with their gods in any of them.
What does the true Lord God Jehovah require? How about John 3:16-18; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Okay, where does it say to offer sacrifices; do tasks to prove our devotion; hope we’ve done enough to meet His demands which never seem to end?) “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes on Him is not condemned; but he that believes not is condemned already, because he hasn’t believed in the name of the only begotten Son.” (see also 1 John 5:12.)
Next, Romans 5:8-9, “But God demonstrates His own love for us; in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from God’s wrath.”
Now for the “mechanics” of our Salvation; Romans 10:9-13; “because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord; and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead; you will be saved [solid promise from Our Father]. For with the heart one believes, and thus has righteousness; [true belief, not a passing fancy] and with the mouth one confesses, and thus has Salvation [not vain repetitions, but true confession from the heart]. For the scripture says everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek [all Gentiles], for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Plain, simple, easy to understand; a full promise from our Creator given freely to us. Our total commitment is to accept the absolute most generous gift that was totally paid for on our behalf by Jesus at Calvary. We deserve the punishment He suffered, but He took it for us willingly (John 10:18).
Our Heavenly Father is fully justified to require these few terms for us to follow. Everyone must accept His Son, confess and repent of our sins; and to ask that Jesus add us to His “flock” and save us. Anyone who doesn’t believe they are a sinner needs to read Romans 3:23. One more point: God already knows everything we are guilty of, yet He is ready to forgive and accept us if we are totally honest with Him.
The second stanza of the song is; “Some wish to be a king or a queen; some wish for fortune and fame. But to be truly, truly loved is more than all of these things.”
Matthew 16:26, “For what does it benefit a person if he/she gains the whole world, but loses his/her soul; or what can a person give in exchange for his/her life?”
This world is just a blink of an eye compared to our eternity. We will spend forever in one place or another. Heaven with Jesus as He told us in John 14:2-3, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And, if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you will be also.”
Imagine, no more pain, suffering, temptation, death or any of the negative things of this earth ever again. Any time the Father gave us an “I will” statement, it was a full covenant that is unbreakable, and that applies to the full Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
For the only other outcome Revelation 20:11-15: “Then I saw a large white throne, and the One who was seated on it; the earth and the heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead; the great and the small, standing before the throne. Then books were opened, and another book was opened – the Book of Life. So the dead were judged by what was written in the books according to their deeds. The sea gave up the dead that were in it; and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them; and each one was judged according to his/her deeds [for them, there is no forgiveness for any and all sins they ever committed]. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is the second [and final] death [the Lake of Fire]. If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, that person was thrown into the Lake of Fire.”
No one at this judgment will find their names in the Book of Life. It’s called the “second death” yet the soul lives forever in torment, and the one there will wish forever they could cease to exist. This is the broad path that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:13-14. There is no third option.
Any judgment that involves true believers is about rewards, not punishment. This includes all those from the beginning of creation to Calvary that followed the will of God; and from Calvary to the end of the Millennium that accepted Jesus as their Savior. We can receive or lose rewards, but will not be cast out. The thief on the cross was an example of a “last minute” Salvation for calling on the Name of the Lord just before he died.
For each of the paths above, it is totally your choice which one you end up on. The “straight and narrow” which few will find; or the broad path leading to destruction that many will be on. Heaven will be a paradise for all who will be there. A time is coming very soon where there will be a removal of all true believers from this earth in what’s called the “Rapture.” It is the means that has been offered to all who would like to avoid the last 7 years of this age, which will be worse than any period of time that has ever been. There will still be people accepting Jesus during the Tribulation, but the cost will most likely be martyrdom.
For myself and all my loved ones, I want to be where we will be able to say what a Joy it is “To Be Loved.” Praise Father, Son and Holy Spirit for providing a way to Salvation that we could never attain on our own. Nothing we could ever do could meet the absolute perfect requirement the Father demands. Yet, for those who have Jesus as their Savior, God no longer sees any of our sins – great or small. He sees His Son, and through Him we are saved.
John 14:6, “Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Call on Him today, and find out for yourself what it means “To Be Loved.”
Maranatha! (Come Lord Jesus)