Billy Graham's "My Hope America" aired last night, broadcasting the name of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins made possible through His death on the cross. Graham, who has faithfully proclaimed the Gospel to hundreds of millions of people around the world, has an unwavering hope in the Son of God Who came to redeem men.
We are in a place and time where following the ways of the Lord is often thought foolish and offensive. "Our country is in great need of a spiritual awakening," began Graham on the Fox News special broadcast Thursday. "There have been times that I've wept as I've gone from city to city ... I've seen how far people have wandered from God."
Graham, who turned ninety-five Thursday, wants for people to see a glimmer of hope in the midst of the great darkness that surrounds us. "I know many will react to this message, but it is the truth. And with all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth," says Graham - "that He loves you, [and is] willing to forgive you of all your sins."
The faithful evangelist knows that there is only one hope for America - "Of all the things that I've seen and heard, there's only one message that can change peoples' lives and hearts," says Graham of the Gospel - and so he began:
Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. People don't want to hear that they are sinners - it is offensive, Graham says; however, the cross of Christ "demands a new lifestyle in all of us." We are all in bondage to our own sin, and God tells us that the only way out of this is to humble ourselves and repent, and to place our trust - our hope - in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. "The cross is offensive, because it confronts people," Graham says - "Even so, it's a confrontation that all of us must face."
Throughout his ministry, Graham has met people from all walks of life, and knows that each of them are "objects of God's mighty love, to the point that He gave His Son - His Only Son - to die upon a cross," he says. Graham did not shrink from telling the whole truth of the Gospel - "Jesus endured all that in our place. Because of our sins, we deserve the cross - we deserve hell, we deserve judgment, and all that that means."
Yet there is great hope:
"On that cross, God was laying on Jesus our sins," Graham explains. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins - and God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinning against Him, Christ died for us (see Romans 5:8). Jesus gave His life for us so that we might be given eternal life when we repent from our sins and place our faith in Him. "When you come to Him, you're clothed in His righteous. God no longer sees your sin, He no longer sees your own heart, He sees Jesus," says Graham.
In John 14:6b, Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (New International Version).
No one - not you, nor I - can enter the kingdom of heaven on our own terms. "When you come to Christ, you come by the way of repentance," Graham explains - "'Repent' means to change - to change your way of living and turn from your sins, and turn to Jesus Christ and say 'I'm a sinner, I need forgiveness, and I know that You're the only One that can change me.'"
This is the hope that lives in Billy Graham - and that which lives in all who have earnestly turned from their sin and trust in Jesus Christ to save them. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says,
"For our sake He made Him [Jesus] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (English Standard Version).
Our only hope lies in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It is the hope that when a holy God looks at us, He sees His blameless Son. Those who trust in Christ are forgiven, forever. His Spirit lives inside of us, to comfort us and to guide us. God promises to never leave or forsake us, and has given us His word as a lamp to our feet and a light to our paths (see Psalm 119). Therefore, we have joy - even through pain and suffering.
And on top of all this, everlasting life.
"Today, I'm asking you to put your trust in Christ," Graham says. He asks all who desire to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior to respond by praying a repentant prayer:
"Dear Heavenly Father,
I know that I'm a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness.
I believe You've died for my sins, and rose from the dead.
I turn from my sins. I repent of my sins.
I invite You to come into my heart and life.
I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior.
In Jesus' name - Amen."
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