'Are You Ready?’ were the first words transmitted by radio across the waters of the Bristol Channel from the small island of Flat Holm, nearly four miles off the coast, to Lavernock Point near Cardiff, in May 1897. They were the words of the assistant of 23 year-old Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi, the young Italian nobleman, who had recently arrived in the UK from Italy to further his radio experiments. The radio conversation went on ‘Can you hear me?’, and the reply was ‘Yes, loud and clear’, all of course rendered in Morse code. Less than five years after this event Marconi was transmitting the first-ever radio signals across the Atlantic Ocean. Twelve years later he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his radio work.
Radio communications at sea soon became very important. At the British enquiry following the Titanic disaster in June 1912, the chairman, H. Babington Smith, summing up, said: ‘Those who have been saved, have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi ... and his marvelous invention’.
So almost 120 years ago, the simple words ‘are you ready’ were the beginning of great developments with lasting consequences.
The same three words spell out a question that has to be asked today in connection with God’s good news, ‘the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ’. Now the question is about being ready to leave this life for the next. If you want to be sure of a place in heaven after death, then you need to be saved now, because that is the only way to get ready according to the Bible. Of course, most people think that if there is a place called heaven, then our behaviour now decides our worthiness’ to be there. They think that the key to heaven for us is our merit, we must deserve it.
Of course the Bible has something quite different to say to say. The apostle Paul in writing to some younger friends about getting to heaven and being save from hell, said ‘Not by works of righteusness which we have done’ and ‘not according to our works’. He had written earlier to friends in Ephesus in modern-day Turkey, and said why this was, ‘Not of works, lest any man should boast’, Eph. 2. 9. In other words, if someone could arrive in heaven, having earned a place by their works, then they would have plenty to boast about, but this will not be so he then went on to say, on these three occasions that it is God who saves us.
What does it mean to be saved, and how do we get saved? To be saved means to be rescued. The rescue in Bible terms means deliverance from the penalty of our sins which we actually deserve. Most people forget about this when they are thinking about earning a place in heaven. However, this is what God had been working to do. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross as a sacrifice for sin. Faith in him brings deliverance and rescues us from God's eternal punishment.
All because ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’.