|Posted on October 9, 2021 at 10:30 AM|
I’m so grateful for my salvation. I’m proud to call myself a Christian, and while not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, I can say for sure that I am not unaware of the price that was paid so that I could claim myself a child of God.
I think we conceptually understand what it means to be saved, and are forever changed by what this gift gives to us. It opens a door that offers freedom from our past, strength to get through our present, and the security of knowing that we have eternal life to look forward to. Literally, the chain of death is broken the minute we accept Christ as our Savior. Maybe not for our physical bodies, but certainly for our souls.
But even for mature Christians, maybe even more so, we need to shake ourselves up from time to time and be reminded of what that really means. Because, let’s face it, we still question why life must still be so hard even after we’ve gotten ourselves “right.” Age doesn’t necessarily bring acceptance or understanding, and once the initial giddiness wears off it’s easy to become complacent about the gift that was given, and resentful when it doesn’t turn out just as we’d mapped in our mind.
Give your heart to the Lord, we thought. It will be perfect, we thought. We made this huge life change, this incredible commitment, and here we are… still slogging through the same old mess. So apparently it’s not the ‘get out of jail free’ card we had hoped for. If we’re not careful, the weight in our thinking can shift, and we begin to wonder more about what we’re missing than what we’ve been given. And eventually it leads to us behaving like we’re the ones who made the sacrifice.
Make no mistake -- we are getting out of jail free. We’re just not getting out of jail innocent. Our salvation doesn’t ‘wipe the slate clean’ as much as we’d like it to. There was a penalty – it was just paid by One who was completely innocent of any crime.
It’s much easier to hold onto the thought that we’ve been granted innocence, than that we’re guilty but been given a pardon. But there is a huge difference. The reason we’re relieved of our death sentence is because it was paid long ago by Jesus. If that doesn’t make us humble, I’m not sure what will.
But here’s the thing. God unlocked the jail cell that we very rightly had earned. But then He stepped back because the next move is ours. We can stand there in the confines of those prison walls, complacently get our three squares a day, and enjoy our freedom from eternal death, but still not live in the joy and freedom that God intended. Because we will forever be restricted by the size of the cell we refuse to vacate.
Once we accept Christ, our next step will take courage. We have to let go of the disfunction that we’ve been living in and step into the freedom that He offers. But no matter how painful our sin-filled lives were, at least we knew what to expect. To step into something completely different – that’s where faith comes in.
And not only do we have to walk out of the prison, but we also have to keep moving! Because if we stop, we can start to rebuild those walls without even realizing it. We may use a different kind of brick – relationships, material possessions, the need for perfection or stability (as we view it), even the desire to be seen as righteous in the eyes of man. But walls are walls, and anything that comes between us and God is just another stone in our personal lockup.
Galatians 5:1 tells us “Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” The writer, the Apostle Paul, was simply saying ‘don’t let religion (rules) get in the way of relationship.’
Salvation is more than just existing forgiven, because it doesn’t turn us into automatons. God doesn’t strip us of our freedom of choice and slap a rule book in our hand. He offered the pardon simply because He loved us – no strings attached. As scripture tells us, God gave up His only Son’s very life so that anyone that believes in Him would have eternal life. But He does yearn for an ongoing relationship with us, through the good times and the bad. And, if we want to be successful in any meaningful way, we have to accept that will require some molding and shaping on our part. And change doesn’t come without discomfort.
So, as we move through our day-to-day existence here, let’s keep our eyes forward, and our perspective on what our freedom really cost. Let’s live in the fullness that God planned for us and focus on the promise found in John 8:36: “If the Son set you free, you are truly free!”
Be blessed, my Friend. God is on the throne!