This is for any and all who have bowed their hearts in trust to Jesus Christ: you need to be very careful not to make the following mistake. If you give in to this particular temptation it is really going to cost you. Precious components of life such as peace, joy, rest, gratitude, praise and selflessness will be forfeited quickly and lastingly if you don’t employ great strides to avoid this common snafu. What am I talking about?
Living your life to maintain, earn or keep your standing before God secure. You would never mean to do this but, if you are not precise, your potential could be to live your life of gracious forgiven-ness as if you really weren’t pardoned at all. You may very well tolerate the tendency to allow your emotions conquer your spiritual reason.
How does this happen? We are brought to faith in Christ through the narrow door of Spirit-granted repentance. Jesus said this was a tight squeeze and comparatively few people ever find it (Matthew 7:14). At the moment of this greatest of events this is what happens: all that is wrong about you is placed on Jesus Christ’s account and all that is right about Him is placed on your account. It is not merely that what you have done has been erased, it is that who you are has been exchanged. You didn’t need to be saved because of what you did, it ran much deeper to the very core of what you were apart from Christ. At the moment of salvation you are positionally secured before God for all of eternity. Nothing can undo this because it is as lasting as is the righteousness of Christ. This cannot be overstated: you are immediately as acceptable to God the Father as His only begotten Son is. As the Son is welcomed by the Father, you are equally invited to rest in His presence. Fully pardoned, impeccably secured, cleansed to the tiniest cell of your spiritual anatomy! No accusation can stick to you, no subsequent sins (and there will be many) can penetrate the declaration of your acceptance before God, and no failure on your part to live up to this glorious, gracious standing can diminish your completeness in Christ. Yours is an instant and undying welcome into the presence of God with no barriers or blowouts affecting its endurance. Friend, you are so saved it’s pitiful!
Now, having briefly testified to your ending security in Christ, let me go back to my thought concerning the soul-plundering mistake of living in frenzied activity that you might think helps God out in the keeping of your standing…
What can I add to perfection? Is there anything lacking in what God has done on my behalf through Jesus? Should I seek to strengthen my privilege of living in oneness with God by a ceaseless effort of good works? When I am bad or weak or rebellious or indifferent, does my security before Him lessen? While clearly acknowledging that good works, holy living and purposed sacrifice are valid parts of Christian living, I am also compelled to learn why I live that way. Is there some haunting worry that if I do not perform well before Him that I will be loved less? Am I one who praises Him publicly for accepting me on the merits of Christ while I privately fret that, in the end, I simply won’t measure up and may hazard rejection? I suggest that it is completely possible to be theologically robust in believing that salvation is not through any merit of my own while simultaneously living as if I disbelieve His grace with all of my heart. Amazingly, I can actually dishonor God by trying to be good. Has that ever occurred to you? The issue rests in why I am seeking to be good. Herein is the potential for colossal failure or glorious success.
Salvation through faith in Christ is: instantaneous, comprehensive, irreducible, fortified, everlasting, sheltering, impenetrable, mountainous, resplendent, absolute, assured, relieving, liberating, empowering, glorious, victorious, joyous and…untouchable. It cannot be made better nor can it become weaker. You did nothing to originate your salvation. You add nothing to maintain your salvation. You will never complete your salvation. Jesus Christ did for you spiritually what He did for Lazarus physically in John 11; He came to you in your death. He was moved with compassion before your grave. He defied the limitations that nature and others sought to bind Him with – doubt and decay would not overrule Him. He singularly called your name and commanded you to live. He empowered you to emerge from the tomb, unwrapped that which held you immobilized and then presented you to this world as being fully alive.
Then, just as with Lazarus, Jesus dines with you. That’s how saved you are. That’s how saved you will always be. Now go and be good because of this…not to assist it.
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