“Jesus didn’t die to change your circumstances; he died to change you.” (How Jesus Saves, pg. 59)
I remember when my first child was born, my son, Devin. It was an amazing…miracle (for there really is no other way to describe that event). My wife had been in labor for over twenty-four hours and the last eight or so of those were pretty hard. Even throughout my experiences in the Marine Corps I hadn’t seen someone – my wife in particular, delicate little flower that she is – pushed to physical limits like that. If you’ve never witness childbirth, 1) you’re missing an incredible experience, and 2) calling it “labor” is an understatement. As much work as was done in that time span, however, labor isn’t the end of the journey, rather, it’s just the beginning. No, and as with Jesus’ redeeming work on the cross, it’s not over yet.
Salvation is a process. In Jesus’ sacrifice 2000 years ago, the sins of the world – your sins – were completely and irrevocably atoned for. God sees you as redeemed, made pure, holy. God is in eternity, so upon your heart’s confession of Christ as your Savior and Lord, he sees you as the finished product. In time, where we live, we must work out that salvation with fear and trembling. Salvation in Jesus Christ results in personal holiness and a public witness. As you walk with Jesus, he will make you holy. As you walk with Jesus, he will lead you into the lives of others for his glory and their good. Jesus’ work did not end at the cross.
There is no cross in Jerusalem to go see. It’s long since gone. Jesus didn’t remain there. In fact, he didn’t stay in the tomb! Jesus is alive and is with us as he promised in Matthew 28. He is active in and through our lives. He wants to meet you right where you are, restore you to the Father, and show you what it means to live in a right relationship with God. He still teaches, he still heals, he still restores the dead and gives sight to the blind. He still calls the lost to himself and he invites you to join him in this great work. Your salvation means something. You remain here after your profession of faith because through the trials and joys of your everyday life you will have the opportunity to choose Christ, to seek him, to follow him, to be made like him. Jesus did not die on a cross, rise from the dead, and put his light of salvation in you just to hide you away in a trophy case. He wants to put you on a stand and cause you to give light to those walking in darkness.
I’m glad you’ve surrendered your life to the lordship of Jesus Christ, but it is not over yet! This is only the beginning. You are called to die to yourself – to deny yourself, to take up your cross, daily, and follow Jesus. Are you ready? Are you willing? God does not call the equipped. No, the calling comes first and after your step of obedience the equipping of the Holy Spirit comes. If you want to see the power and majesty of God in and through your life, you will have to follow him into places and circumstances that you would never go on your own. He will lead you to the end of yourself and your resources so that you can experience Him. What’s your next step? Where is Jesus leading you?