What Must We Know?
As deep and detailed as the Bible is, Christians must always be sure of the most important thing. We look at the commands. We look at the law. However, none of us can ever hope to perfectly live those commands, neither the letter nor the spirit.
“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).”
The fundamental Christian principle is the person from whom the name of the religion is derived. Apart from Christ, we are lost. It is Christ who lived the perfect life we couldn’t. It is Christ whose death paid the price we couldn’t. It is Christ’s resurrection that justifies those who believe in Him.
Wherever else one’s Christian walk takes him, the Christian walk does not begin until one confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in his heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9).
A Christian life begins in mourning, for indeed we morn our sins, realizing the price that must be paid and understanding that we need a savior. The Christian life transitions to joy when we see Christ for who He is, our God in the flesh who was made to be sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
This is a humbling position to accept. I, for one, wanted to earn my place in the world. I wanted to earn God’s love, and I wanted to earn my “right” to go to Heaven. Realizing that there was nothing I could do to justify myself to a perfect and holy God demanded the realization that I needed a redeemer because I could not redeem myself. But there is a joy in this realization. Our God who made us does not need us. He doesn’t have to redeem us. He didn’t send his Son to die for us because He had to, for God existed before all things, and He will always exist. So why, then, did He do it? The answer is simple. He loves us, and He wanted to redeem us, and doesn’t want any of us to be lost (2 Peter 3:9).
Living a life seeking to earn love and earn a way into Heaven was exhausting and fruitless. It wasn’t until I realized that love is a gift that I realized God’s love was already there.
God shows His love for me (and everyone) in that while we were lost in our sins, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
So rather than work to earn a thing that can’t be bought, I now work content in the knowledge that God loves me. The mind shift is critical. I don’t work to obtain a gift I’ve already been given. Who does? Instead, I desire to do everything, not for the sake of what I already have, but in gratitude for everything I have been given.
This means that whatever happens, if we hold fast to this truth and remember it always, God will work in our hearts and mold us to be more fruitful and pleasing to Him (Philippians 2:13).
We are still human. We are still trapped in our human flesh. We will live and suffer and rejoice and celebrate as every human does, but it is not the things of this world we rejoice, cerebrate and suffer for. Instead, a Christian does everything for the Savior who redeemed him.
This message is only burdensome to those who would seek to earn their place in Heaven or those who seek to justify their goodness by their own right, which is impossible since no sane person would ever declare himself perfect. This message is freedom for those who hear it because it declares a path to Heaven that provides redemption through Christ’s death and sanctification though the earnest desire to be more like our great redeemer.
It is this message that I leave you with, dear readers, because it is a message that tells us we need not judge one another if we remember we seek to do everything to the glory of God. It tells us we need not fear because whatever happens on this earth is nothing because it is but an instant compared to the rest of eternity. It tells us that we have an example to follow in Christ and an advocate when we stumble.
I hope this message reminds believers of the fundamental truth that brings us all together as a body of Christ, and I hope this message finds those who are seeking truth in a world dominated by lies. May our lord Christ watch over us and guide us all the days of our lives. May His peace and truth be a light that shines within us all the days of our lives.
For our panel: What is your parting message to any who may be reading this?