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Friday, May 12, 2006

Counting the Cost


While salvation through Christ is a “free gift”, there is some sacrifice involved on our part, so it is wise to count the cost before making this decision. A hasty decision is not usually a wholehearted one, and simply “believing” Jesus died on the cross and was raised to life as a sacrifice for our sins is not enough. If your “belief” in Jesus Christ has no more effect on your life than your “belief” that George Washington was the first President of the United States, then that’s not a saving faith. We must be willing to forsake our sins, deny ourselves (quit living our lives selfishly and begin living for God), take up the cross (be willing to risk rejection for Jesus’ sake) and follow Him (read the Bible, pray, obey His commandments, and seek His direction for our lives daily- see Matthew 16: 24). We show our faith by our works, not because they are necessary for our salvation (they are not!), but because the Spirit of Christ living in us compels us to do His work and we want to serve out of the gratitude of our heart for what He did for us. The thought of having to stop indulging in sinful habits may sound impossible, but if God can change me, He can change you, too. When you invite Jesus into your life, God will give you new desires that will help you to want to obey His commandments and He will give you the power to do so. That doesn’t mean we will live a sinless life or that sin will never be enticing, but following God’s ways will be our heart’s goal. When we do sin, we are convicted of it and go to God daily in repentance. We must continually ask for forgiveness so that our prayers will not be hindered. The Christian life is a high calling, but more fulfilling than anything the world has to offer.

What will you do?

I think that many people can live their entire lives consumed by the cares of this world and never even stop and take the time to think about eternity and their own mortality. “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3) Some don’t want to hear the truth and reject the gospel message: “but because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed…for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger” (Romans chapter 2). I believe many people don’t come to Jesus because they don’t want to feel guilty for the things they do, but the truth is, they already are guilty. Jesus came to take away our guilt and shame. Christ will justify you before God, just as if you’d never sinned before. He will make you pure in His sight- sinless. He will even purge your conscience so that you no longer have to carry a sense of guilt over past sins.

So, dear friend, “today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. See to it…that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:8 & 12) The moment you repent of your sin and accept Jesus through prayer, God will write your name in The Book of Life permanently and the penalty for your sin will be erased. I’ll leave you with this final thought from the book of Revelation in the Bible:

“And I saw the dead… stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works... And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Is your name in The Book?


2 Comments:

  • You are very right, mrshammer. In fact, there are plenty of people who question why we take this all so seriously, and why we are concerned about things AFTER this life.

    I have been in situations where people truly believe I am wasting my time, and can't comprehend why I spend time and energy on all this Jesus stuff when there is so much "living" to be had.

    It is too bad that their jokes about hell being a place to sit around with their unsaved buddies, with the whole "see em' in hell" commentary, is not only true, but much less dramatic than the actual end will be.

    By Blogger Rightthinker, at 5/15/2006 02:07:00 PM  

  • I remember Paul's writing that, if there is no resurrection, then we Christians are more to be pitied than any other group. The hope of heaven is a central part of our faith.

    Of course, though, "heaven" isn't simply after we die. The Kingdom of God starts here and now with Christ's body the Church. We must learn to live now, as well as to prepare for life in heaven after we die.

    pax et bonum

    By Blogger John, at 5/15/2006 05:21:00 PM  

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