“When the baby was eight days old, all the relatives and friends came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. But Elizabeth said, “No, his name is John!” “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” So they asked the baby’s father, communicating to him by making gestures. He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John!” Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.” Luke 1:59-66
The above passage is the story of John the Baptist’s birth. For those of you who don’t know the history behind this story, Zechariah was a priest in the temple of Jerusalem. During one of his terms of service he was offering prayers and burning incense in the temple when the angel Gabriel appeared to him, telling him that God had heard Zechariah’s prayer and was going to answer it – meaning he and his wife were going to have a baby. Zechariah was astonished at hearing Gabriel’s news, and in his humanity he questioned it because both he and Elizabeth were well past their child bearing years. Because of his unbelief, Gabriel caused him to be tongue tied and he was unable to speak. Neither the other temple priests, Elizabeth, or the rest of his family heard him talk again until he’d confirmed that Elizabeth was correct in the child’s name being John. At that moment his tongue was loosened and he began praising God for the wonderful miracles He’d done in their life.
Salvation is a very personal experience. There is no such thing as salvation by association. I can sit in McDonald’s all day long, but that doesn’t make me a cheeseburger. Likewise, each and every one of us makes the choice to either accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, or we don’t. When we die God isn’t going to look at us and say, “Oh yes, your parents have been here for 40 years already, come on in.” He’s going to look at you for who YOU are. What YOU’VE done. The choices YOU’VE made. He’s going to want to know why YOU did or did not choose to follow Him, and he’s going to judge accordingly.
I know this to be true because of the part Zechariah played in the scriptures. If it was possible to be saved by association then Zechariah would have been able to speak again once Elizabeth made the child’s name known. But that’s not how it happened. It wasn’t until Zechariah himself stepped up to the plate and said, “His name is John!” that he was able to speak. When Zechariah willingly choose to obey God and name the child John then and only then was he able to speak again. It was his choice and he choose the path of God above his own will.
How about you? Are you treading on the salvation of someone you know? Perhaps it’s your spouse or your parents or grandparents; maybe even a friend or pastor. If so, I hope you’ll take a few minutes and make your own choice whether or not you’re going to follow Christ. No one is going to force you into a decision – especially not Jesus. But following Him is far better than any life you can imagine for yourself – I can guarantee you that.
“Dear Jesus, I know I’m never going to be able to make it to Heaven on the salvation of someone else, so today I choose to follow you with my whole heart. I know that I’m a sinner and so I ask you to please forgive all my past sins, and come into my heart. Help me to walk in your ways and on the path you have chosen for me. Thank you for your forgiveness and your salvation. It’s in your precious and holy name I pray this. Amen.”
If you just prayed that prayer for the first time, I bet you have some questions about what comes next. There are several great websites out there that can give you some direction on the next steps – check out Campus Crusade for Christ, CrossWalk.com, LifeWay.com or you can email me (snobound (at) gmail (dot) com) for more information on where to go from here.