Dad always told me, “Don’t take a wooden nickel.” Now I know why. I spent several days with a few friends of mine on a business trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Out of curiosity, we followed a winding mountain road as far as it would take us. It led us to the top of the mountain, where we found a museum with memorabilia from the Wild West Era of American history. Inside a gift shop, I noticed a basket full of small wooden disks. When I took a closer look, I found they were wooden nickels. I had to buy one. To my surprise, they cost 30 cents. I had been ripped off.

The Jewish people at the time of Christ had been sold a wooden nickel when they bought into the works-based salvation of Judaism. They were so intent on working their way to Heaven that they overlooked the Savior Who offered salvation through faith alone. Many thought Jesus’ teachings were such a radical departure from their tried and true religious system that they could not be taken at face value. They needed to repent and be converted—change their minds about trusting their works and put their trust in Christ. That was a real deal, if only they could see it.

Wooden nickels are everywhere you look. Before your salvation, they were the good works you clung to for eternal life. After you trusted Christ, they became the abilities, gifts, possessions, and dreams which hinder you from absolutely relying upon God to supply your needs. It’s easy to settle for a wooden nickel, but don’t be duped by a cheap imitation. Go with the original today. You can take it to the bank.

Error is dangerous; a man may as well go to Hell by error as by moral vice. Gross sins stab to the heart; error poisons. There is less hope of an erroneous person than a profane. — Thomas Watson

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.