Kennedy & Letter to the Pope

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Senator Edward Kennedy was a man of significant influence in the United States of America for almost half a century. He survived many personal issues and family troubles. On May 20, 2008, Mr. Kennedy faced another major hurdle – a brain tumor that proved to be an insurmountable barrier. He left this life for eternity on August 25, 2009.

As the late Senator Kennedy faced what he called “the next passage of life”, he requested the President of his country to hand-deliver a letter from him to the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI. In the letter he wrote: “Most Holy Father, I asked President Obama to personally hand-deliver this letter to you. I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me… I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith I have tried to right my path… I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I have worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination, and expand access to health care and education… I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic Your Holiness. And though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. I… would be most thankful for your prayers for me.”

During the 50 days after Mr. Kennedy wrote his letter, I hope he found the peace and forgiveness that comes from knowing Christ as his personal Saviour, but there are lessons for us that can be learned from his letter.

Lesson #1: Prepare today to meet your Maker.

The Bible says: “Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12). Are you ready to die? Do you have some unattended business to clear up between you and your Maker before you go out to meet Him?

Lesson #2: You have failed according to God’s standards.

Mr. Kennedy was not the only imperfect human being nor was he the only one who had fallen short of God’s holy standards. The Bible is clear – not one person on this planet measures up to God’s righteous requirements. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23). No one has any ‘goodness’ to offer God to gain His favor. Mr. Kennedy was preparing for death and he was facing his own guilt over failures in his life. What about you? Have you faced the guilt of your sins?

Lesson #3: Doing your best is not the way to get eternal life and Heaven

Religion (not the Bible!) teaches that our human efforts will influence God’s decision as to whether you go to Heaven or Hell after you die.

The Bible is clear – when God grants eternal life He gives it as a gift – not a reward for accomplishments on earth. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). We are saved through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ. “It is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Lesson #4: Your record of sinful failures and your guilt can be completely removed.

Regardless of our failures in the past, the Bible says, “The blood of Jesus Christ His (God’s) Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Christ died for your sins and took all the punishment. Now God can offer you, free without charge, the complete forgiveness of all your sins the moment you trust His Son as your own personal Saviour. But you must accept God’s offer!

Lesson #5: There is only one mediator between you and God.

There is nothing wrong with asking others to pray for you, but no human being, regardless of their status, can mediate on your behalf in helping you to find favor with God. Forgiveness is through Christ alone. There is no other way to atone or make amends for your sins. “Through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 13:38). “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

Accept God’s offer of salvation today!
Source: Washington Post dated August 29, 2009

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