I have an aunt named Betty Jean who was married to a man named Bill. Bill passed away several years ago, but I’ll always be indebted to him for doing me a great favor one day. For some reason that incident recently came to my mind, and I’d like to use it as a way of illustrating an important spiritual truth.
The year was 1987 or somewhere thereabouts, and my car at the time was a white 1978 Camaro Z28. That was a great car, one that I wish I still had, but it wasn’t without its periodic mechanical problems. That day those problems took on the form of a dead battery.
As many of you know, the answer for a dead battery is a set of jumper cables whereby you use the electrical juice from the battery in another car to “rejuice” (I just made that word up) the dead battery in your car. The process is pretty straightforward. The jumper cables have two attachment devices located at each end, and you attach the two devices of one end to the battery terminals of your dead battery and the two devices of the opposite end to the battery terminals in the other car. And since I owned a set of jumper cables, I didn’t think it was going to be too hard to use another car to get mine started.
I pulled the other car up close to mine, kept it running, popped the hoods on both cars, attached the cables to the batteries of both cars, and waited a minute or so. Then I tried to start my car. I figured that it would fire right up, but it didn’t. It wouldn’t even grunt. I thought, “That’s odd. My battery must be REALLY dead.” So, I decided to keep the cables hooked up, leave the other car running, and go back into the house for a while to allow the battery in my car to have ample time to charge. By now I was getting annoyed with the whole process, but I was still figuring that it would be just a matter of time before I got my car started.
I hadn’t been in the house long when Bill just happened to come along and out of nothing but curiosity check out the situation involving the two cars and the jumper cables. He made a slight adjustment regarding how one of the cable ends was attached to one of the terminals and then came to get me in the house. He said, “Russell, you never would have gotten your car started because the way you had that one end attached wasn’t pulling any charge to your battery. But go try it now. It should start.” He spoke the assessment with such authoritative expertise that I knew he was right before I ever walked out of the house and tried to start my car. That’s why it didn’t surprise me one bit when I barely turned the keys in my Z28 and heard that big 350 V8 motor roar to life.
Since Bill had walked out there with me to make sure that he had told me the truth, he was standing there while I unhooked the jumper cables and closed the hoods on both cars. I looked at him and gave him a sincere, “Thanks.” He just smiled and warmly said again, “It never would have worked the way you had it.” He wasn’t rubbing my mechanical inadequacy in my face. He was just glad that he’d been able to help.
The spiritual application of this story has to do with nothing less than salvation itself, and that application isn’t hard to understand. It goes like this: If you aren’t attached correctly to the right source, your spiritual life will never get charged and you will die lost. That right source, of course, is Jesus Christ, and you attach yourself to Him by placing saving belief in Him. That attachment allows you to pull His limitless power into your spiritually dead self and thereby experience salvation. Consider the following passages (all from the N.K.J.V.):
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)
And you He (Jesus) made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins… (Ephesians 2:1)
And you, being dead in your trespasses the uncircumcision of your flesh, He (Jesus) has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses… (Colossians 2:13)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)… (Ephesians 2:4-5)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
You see, there is spiritual life to be found in Jesus, but the key is that you must be correctly attached to Him. Being almost attached to Him by knowing about Him but not really knowing Him as Savior won’t get the job done. Being correctly attached to the wrong source won’t either, and even mere religion itself is a wrong source. I say that because authentic Christianity isn’t actually a religion but is, instead, an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ.
So, in closing, what I’m trying to do here is get you to examine your spiritual connection (or lack of it) to Jesus. Are you truly connected to Him in a soul-saving, life-changing way that has spiritually charged your life by drawing from His power? Or is your connection to Him somehow lacking and leaving you to remain spiritually dead in your trespasses and sins? A good man named Bill helped me fix a bad connection one day, and maybe, just maybe, I can play that same role for you right now. All my bad connection cost me was a few minutes delay in getting my car started, but that bad connection of yours will cost you eternal separation from God if you don’t get the connection fixed. Remember, spiritual life is not the same thing as physical life, and there are a whole lot of people walking around who are physically alive but spiritually dead.