A series of posts highlighting biblical answers.
It was a special day, indeed. Our eighteen-year-old granddaughter was about to become a university freshman, so we needed a day of fishing together. That’s how we connected over the years, and this trip to the river was our way of sending her off on a good note.
We got up early (for her) and headed to the water. Although the fish didn’t cooperate, it was a beautiful day, and our conversation flowed freely as we squeezed in some interchange about her future. At one point Allie looked at me and said, “I’m just not sure how to live as a Christian. I think I want to get a group together for Bible study and try to learn more about that.”
Who among us doesn’t struggle with that question? Of course, at church, it likely seems as though we’ve got it mastered. But what about Monday through Saturday? What about at work or school? How well do our actions display our faith when we’re mixed in with non-Christians? Shouldn’t every minute of every day shed the Light within us onto a dark world?
Today’s post is the first in a series entitled, “How do I live this new life?”
We need a reminder of how Paul describes followers of Christ:
What changed at salvation, and how do I relate to God now? An amazing transaction took place. As Christians, we are transformed from an unrighteous sinner (that we all are) into a forgiven, righteous child of God by faith in what Jesus did when he died by crucifixion as punishment for our sins. II Corinthians 5: 21 says, “For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God.”
Even after over 60 years since my own commitment to Christ, I’m still learning new advantages of faith in Him. Here’s a brief list of some of the basic benefits found in the Bible.
We will escape the judgment of death, which is God’s just payment for sin: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6: 23 (ESV) The term “death” in this passage means permanent separation from God.
Instead, we have eternal life which begins at salvation and endures beyond our physical death throughout eternity: “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” I John 5: 11-12 (ESV). John 5:24 reminds us that it was God’s “steadfast love” that motivated Him to offer sinners an exchange eternity apart from God for eternal life with God: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life.”
Our salvation is the result of God’s grace. In other words, salvation cannot be earned. It is the undeserved gift from God: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9 (ESV)
We became part of God’s Family: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1: 12-13 (ESV). God grants us all the rights and privileges of sons and daughters.
Jesus will return and take us to Heaven a perfect existence without end: “In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” John 14: 2-4 (ESV)
We have the power of God to live the Christian life wherever we go: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1: 8 (ESV). We live the Christian life in His power, not our own.
Jesus gives us a new purpose in life: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 10-20 (ESV)
I get to practice veterinary medicine because the State of Alabama recognizes my DVM degree and my license. I have a level of confidence in doing my job because of the education I received and years of experience. Most of the days at work bring enjoyment and fulfillment. But I’m still learning and improving.
Let’s remember that because of what Jesus did for us through His death, burial, and resurrection, God now recognizes us as members of His family. We have His Word and the Holy Spirit to educate and empower us to live the Christian life. Every day is an opportunity to gain confidence through experience as we put into practice what we learn.