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By George H. Alquist Jr.

      Never before in the history of our country has there been more concern about fitness. More individuals are walking, exercising, and pumping iron than ever before. Having become ever increasingly aware of the value of physical fitness, Americans have jumped right in. Indeed, physical fit- ness is important. Nothing beats the feeling of being physically fit and enjoying the power of being in shape. The knowledge that one is actively pursuing a better physical state is encouraging and satisfying. I personally work out with free weights on a regular basis and enjoy the sense of well-being and physical power enlisted by the workouts. However, I know that there is another power and another fitness that is even more important than the physical - the spiritual!

      The problem with man is that no matter how in shape one may be- come physically it does nothing to affect his or her shape spiritually. As a matter of fact, it is the preoccupation with the physical that many times leads to the neglect of the spiritual. Man is both a physical and a spiritual being. We can make ourselves fit physically but only God can make us fit spiritually! As human beings we are barn unfit spiritually. The Bible says, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags . . ." (Isaiah 64:6) Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." In other words, we are all unfit for heaven because of our sin.

      Now we may be able to exercise and work hard to get rid of our fat, but we cannot work to get rid of our sin! "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us . . .' (Titus 3:5). No person can make themselves fit for heaven by good works, religious activity, or personal performance - "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) One may boast in their accomplishments physically but not for any accomplishments for salvation! You see, there is only one individual who could secure salvation and He did it for us all, His name is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was willing to die on Calvary's cross and shed His sinless blood to pay for our sins and rise again for our salvation. Only He had the power to accomplish this - and He did it for you and me. 'But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8). The Word of God says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord' (Romans 6:23). Because of sin, we deserve to die and spend eternity in the lake of fire of Revelations 20:15-15. But because God loved us He allowed His Son to take our place and pay our penalty so we could be made fit spiritually to go to heaven when we die. Now that is love!

      The only way that we can be made FIT for heaven is to be made righteous. "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). When we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior, God makes us righteous in Him. His righteousness is transferred, if you will, to us by an act of God's power. God wants us to believe Him and trust His Son, Jesus Christ. In the Bible God tells us how Abraham received this righteousness, 'For what saith the scriptures? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness . . . Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed (counted) to him, but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed (counted), if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offenses and was raised again for our justification (salvation)' (Romans 4:3 & 23-25). In Romans 10:13 God's Word says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." God wants to make you fit spiritually so you can spend eternity with Him in heaven. Won't you, right now, believe God and receive His Son, Jesus Christ as your Savior? If you would, just sincerely pray to God something like, 'Dear God, I know that I am sinner and therefore unfit for heaven. I believe that Jesus Christ died for me, shed His blood for my sins, and rose again from the dead. I now believe Your word and receive Christ as my Savior placing my faith in Him as my Savior. Thank you Lord for loving me and thank you Lord for saving me by Your grace. Now, please give me the power to live for you. Amen.

      "If you have just received Christ as your Saviour you should let some- one know. You may contact the church listed on this leaflet or you may contact me at 806 Parade St., Erie, PA 16503, (814) 455-8600. I congratulate you on making the most important decision of your life. Upon the authority of God's Word you have been made FIT for His Kingdom, Heaven. Now you can enjoy the wonderful knowledge of being not only physically fit, but SPIRITUALLY FIT as well!

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