Over the holidays, my family and I were driving across the country. Apart from some fields, windmills, and cows, there is usually very little to see. As we trudged along, a department of transportation message caught my attention. It read, “753 road deaths this year, 63% unbuckled.” I couldn’t help but be saddened by these numbers. It made me wonder how many of that 63% would have lived if they had simply pulled that safety harness across their bodies.
It’s tragic when people choose not to wear a seatbelt when it is so easy and accessible. However, this poor decision can hardly hold a candle to the spiritual negligence of so many in our world. Matthew 7:13-14 details out the heartbreaking reality of this neglect, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
This Scripture puts a sorrowful lump in the throat. God clearly explains that even though forgiveness of sins is widely accessible to everyone (John 3:16; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38), the majority of people are not willing to take hold of it. And even though so many continue to reject Him, God still patiently waits for us to repent (2 Peter 3:9). This seatbelt of salvation is easy to attach and available to all. If only our world would but put it on, that is, “put on Christ” in baptism (Galatians 3:27). If only our world could see the life-saving spiritual harness right in front of them (1 Peter 3:21; Mark 16:16).
Even though so few are walking the narrow path toward life, Matthew goes on to explain that the only way to gain salvation is by “doing the will of God” (7:21-23). Putting on the spiritual seat belt takes both hearing and doing, faith and works (James 2:14-26). Not that we are earning salvation through works, but that we are merely doing what is necessary to accept the incredible, unearned, undeserved, yet lifesaving gift.
63% of those in cars who met the Maker last year were physically unbuckled. Only the Lord knows how many would have been saved with a seatbelt. What percentage are spiritually unbuckled? Only the Lord knows that number as well. Let make sure we aren’t part of that number. As far as we are concerned, whether it’s physically or spiritually, let’s make sure we buckle up.