This past Thursday was Opening Day in Major League Baseball. I always love Opening Day; baseball is my favorite sport, and as a Red Sox fan, I look forward to seeing what they’ll do this season. I also love Opening Day because everyone starts off 0-0; it’s a clean slate. The Atlanta Braves won it all last year, but back on Thursday, they were 0-0 just like everyone else. It doesn’t matter at all how good (or bad) a team was last year; they all began this season with the same record, and not until July or August will we begin to see real separation between the good and bad teams. In late October of this year, only one of those 30 teams will be celebrating on the diamond as World Series Champions.
I’ve read a number of articles by the so-called “experts,” who predict how this season will go, and of course it’s based on how teams did in the offseason with trades, acquisitions, the draft, and other roster moves. At the end of the day though, it’s unpredictable; these are human beings, playing a 162-game regular season schedule. Games will be won and lost on freak plays, won by improbable comebacks and lost on improbable blown saves, won and lost by one run or ten runs or somewhere in between. There will be rain delays, bad calls made by umpires which affect the outcome of the game, and, of course, errors, made by players in the field. It’s impossible to predict what will happen this season, but it’s all about execution. Look no further than last year’s Red Sox; they had to win their final three games of the regular season just to get into the playoffs, then they beat the Yankees in an always-unpredictable Wild Card Game, then upset the Rays in the Division Series before falling to Houston in the American League Championship, just two wins away from the World Series. No one saw that coming; the guys just went out there and played good baseball and made it work.
The LORD is willing to give you and I a clean slate in life; he is willing to remove our sins from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:24), to make white as snow our sins which are as scarlet (Isaiah 1:18), through the work of the Messiah, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:20). This is not unconditional; the LORD will only give you and I a clean slate as long as you and I will give others a clean slate: in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us (Matthew 6:12).” If you do not forgive others, God will not forgive you. Paul writes to the Ephesians, “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).”
But that’s not it; you also have to have faith that the LORD will make good on his Word. Abraham went into a foreign land, not knowing anything about what was ahead, but his faith was counted to him as righteousness (Romans 4:19-22). He knew the LORD was willing and able to do exactly what he said he would do.
There’s nothing scientific about it; you just have to do it, unwavering (James 1:5-8); “the just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4),” which comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
Don’t look back at the way you were before; press forward toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). Look unto Jesus; he is the author and finisher of the faith (Hebrews 12:2).
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”-Jude 24-25
Grace and peace,