The Only Hope

“I ceremonially pour out this water to dedicate merit to my enemy from a former life.”

“I will become a Buddhist monk for three months and dedicate the merit to my mother to help ease her way to heaven.”

“May the merit from my good deeds today be accounted to my cousin who is facing hardship.” Repeated a million times daily throughout Thailand, these and similar sentiments reinforce the fundamental Buddhist belief that merit is transferable—that someone can make merit on behalf of another.

What does the Bible say of such things? “Surely a man cannot redeem a brother. He cannot give to God his ransom so that he may stay alive forever and not see the pit—since the redemption price for their life is costly and it always fails” (Ps. 49:7-9 Lexham English Version). “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18, 19 NKJV). “Jesus is the only One who can save people. No one else in the world is able to save us” (Acts 4:12 New Century Version).

According to the Bible, saving merit is not a currency that we can trade, buy, sell or bequeath. But what if we could? Is there anyone with a positive balance of goodness? Does anyone have any merit to spare? The answer is no. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. . . . Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Rom. 3:23, 20 KJV). Praise be to God for the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ!

What will happen at the end of time to those who are depending on their own merit or the merit of others? There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Your prayers and support open doors for us and other missionaries in Thailand to lift up Jesus, the only hope for salvation.

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