On Cape Cod, a sandbar on the outer banks of Chatham, which protected the southern shore of the Cape from the Atlantic Ocean, was recently broken through. Chatham Break has caused the dramatic erosion of the main shore line and undermined the foundations of many beautiful homes built on the sandy bluffs. Several homes have been washed into the sea. Little did their owners imagine that their homes, founded upon the sand, would one day be destroyed.
A parable addresses this in Luke 6:47–49: “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Today, great care is taken to ensure that house foundations are built properly to prevent future disaster. Soil tests are made to make sure the soil can be compressed to hold the weight of the structure. Concrete is tested when it is poured to ensure its structural integrity. Foundation walls are designed to bear the full load of the house. When all of these precautions have been taken, we feel secure in our homes because we know that they are well founded.
Unfortunately, the same care is seldom expended on the foundation of our lives in preparation for eternity. This is ironic, since our earthly homes are temporary, even if we live in them for a lifetime. In speaking of “those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches” the Bible says, “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit. For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others. Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they called lands by their own names. Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish. This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts” (Psalm 49:6–13).
According to God’s Word, while we may be able to pay the debt on our mortgages in a lifetime, there is one debt we cannot pay—the debt our sins have incurred. We do not even have the proper currency to pay the debt. The price of our redemption is too costly. One day, when life is over, we will each have to answer to our Creator for how we have lived in his world. According to God’s Word, if we have lived for ourselves and failed to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, we will be cast into outer darkness. All of the comforts of our earthly homes, with which God has blessed us in this life, will be taken away forever. This is the danger of which Jesus warns us in the parable: building our lives on foundations of sand. Such shoddy building ends in eternal destruction.
But there is good news! God is so good by nature that he has sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to live a perfect life of love in our place. His holy life lived for God and his neighbor is just the currency we need to pay the debt for our sins. This is why he died: to pay the awful debt we owe. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Only Jesus Christ could pay the costly price required of God for our sins. This is what Jesus meant in the parable about the person who built his foundation on solid rock. “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them” is like a person who builds his house on a rock (Luke 6:47). Jesus Christ is the only solid Rock to build your life on. Every other foundation is sand.
If you are troubled about your lack of a solid spiritual foundation, Jesus invites you to come to him, admit your sinfulness, ask him to forgive your debt, and become his follower. He promises that if you do this, he will give you everlasting life, and he will become your everlasting home. “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).
Important as the foundation of your earthly home may be, it is nothing compared to the importance of your everlasting foundation. What is your life founded upon—sand or solid rock? This is the most important question you can ever ask. What is your answer?
© 2014 Gregory Edward Reynolds
© 2023 The Orthodox Presbyterian Church