Monday, February 11, 2013

What Do I Have to Give Up to be Saved?

Saved from what? Christians use some terms that may be hard to understand to someone who has not heard these terms. For instance, in John chapter 3, a priest named Nicodemus came to Jesus at night (he was afraid of his superiors who hated Jesus) because he had some questions. He started the conversation by saying that he knew Jesus was sent by God because no one could perform all of the miracles Jesus had, unless he had been sent by God. But Jesus looked into the man's heart and saw the real reason for the visit. Jesus answered him, "In order to see the kingdom of heaven, you must be born again." Nicodemus was confused. Surely Jesus wasn't suggesting that he go back into his mother's womb. No. The first birth is a water birth, Jesus explained. The second birth must, and can only, be done by the Holy Spirit.

Born again means salvation. But what does it mean to be saved? We think of being saved from danger, or from imminent death. We think of being spared from tragedy or heartache. But Jesus came to save us from an eternity in an eternal state of anguish and torment in the burning flames of hell, which never go out. Thus, salvation is the act of accepting the sacrificial, substitutional death of Jesus on the cross for our sins. It means inviting Him to be our Lord and Savior.

Many people reject salvation, reject Christ, because they are afraid of the changes He will make in their lives. But true salvation is falling in love with the God-man who loved you so much, He willingly paid your penalty for sin so you wouldn't have to. When you truly love someone you willingly let them have their way. I didn't HAVE to give up anything to get saved. I had reached the end of my rope. I was so miserable with myself I couldn't take it anymore.

The Christian life is a process. We don't ever become perfect. We will always, in this life, be sinners, saved by God's amazing grace. But as we attend church, Sunday school, Bible studies, gather together for fellowship with other Christians, we learn to love God more. He never makes us give up anything. We always have a choice. Just as He allows us to choose heaven or hell, He allows us to choose whether or not to allow Him to be Lord of our lives. There are some things I still need to get out of my life, like television, but God still loves me. My relationship with Him will be improved when I give up television, but I have a relationship with Him now. It just grows stronger with each new part of my life that I yield to Him. He laughed with me today at a situation I had created for myself because of my temper. When I calmed down and really looked at it, I laughed. When I laughed I felt His laughter too. What an amazing thing, to be able to laugh WITH God.

No comments:

Post a Comment