Staff Corner: Greg Spires,Teaching Pastor
Ken Johnson pitched a nine-inning no-hitter for the Houston Colt .45’s in 1964 against the Cincinnati Reds. Although Johnson was credited with a no-hitter for the game, the top of the ninth inning led to a rare finish.
The game was scoreless at the top of the final inning as Johnson took the mound. Pete Rose advanced to base on an error, making it all the way to second. A batter grounded out, but Rose was able to get over to third. Another Reds player hit a pop fly to the outfield. The fielder made the catch, but Rose was able to tag up and make it home for the score.
When Johnson retired the Reds for the inning, he still had his no-hitter going. However, the Reds had scored a run and now led the game 1-0 against the Colt .45’s. At the bottom of the ninth, Houston failed to score and lost the game.
Johnson pitched the only nine-inning no-hitter in Major League history that resulted in a loss. After the game, he said, “I just pitched the best game of my life and lost.”
When it comes to pitching, Johnson had something to boast about: a no-hitter. However, he had nothing to brag about in terms of baseball because his team lost the game. The winner of baseball is not the team with the best pitcher. The winner is the team with the most runs.
Notice what the Bible says in Romans 3:27-28, “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”
Being religious, doing good works, and avoiding the evils of sin to know God are like Johnson’s no-hitter: things to brag about that still result in a loss. Why? Because good works don’t provide access to God, only faith in Jesus can do that.
What does this mean for us? The goal of the Christian life is not a life-long effort to try and impress God. Instead, the goal of the Christian life is a life-long journey to trust God more and more.
Here’s a simple way to think about it. When you consider your relationship with God, is it in terms of sins that should be avoided? And do you evaluate your relationship with God based on good things you are supposed to be doing? If this is the case, you might think, “I’m doing okay with God because I’ve said ‘no’ to some bad things this week and tried to do some good things for others.”
There is a better way, by faith. What if you thought about your relationship with God as rest to be enjoyed? Read what the Bible says about Jesus in Hebrews 7:25, “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
According to this verse, our only job is to draw near to God because we trust Jesus to make the way for us to do so. In all of our busy and dutiful Christian activities, we often miss the one thing that matters above all else: draw near to God and rest in Him by faith.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Romans 3:27-31.
Praying with you,