We forget–or ignore– that Christ came humbly the first time; the second time He will come as a Warrior King!
My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
2 you have been trapped by what you said,
ensnared by the words of your mouth.
3 So do this, my son, to free yourself,
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary [who is Christ] who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. Matthew 5:25-26
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
Lest we get complacent with our position in Christ, we must remember that we Americans live in an entitled state. In other words, we are spoiled. In fact, even our salvation can be faulty because we base it upon OUR decision to receive Christ (almost in a condescending way). Because of our tendencies, salvation has been made a tricky thing. Our western understanding is that a transaction has been made and that’s it. That’s all it takes. Jesus cleanses us from our sins and we’re good with God now. We continue to live our lives for ourselves, but when things don’t go the way we think they should, we call on Him and He gives us what we want. He is our heavenly vending machine–NOT! It’s also why so many “Christians” leave the faith when God doesn’t perform like they think He should.
Salvation is offered by God through Jesus Christ for anyone who is ready to die–to give up who they are and to become like Christ: Holy, Righteous, and without fault. Impossible? YES, without Christ Himself living in us. Without this willingness everyday, our willful spirits keep Him from “taking the reins” and leading us heavenward. Consider the rich, young ruler:
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
- Notice that the emphasis is on what he must do. Ephesians 2:8-9 clears that up: 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
- Jesus made it clear that only God is good, yet in verse 20, the man declared himself on the same plane as God. Jesus knew better. In fact, Jesus knew exactly what stood between the man and God: his money.
- Still, Jesus loved him. He had compassion on him. He gave him a chance to come clean and walk with Him.
- The man did not take it–then. We do not know what transpired in his life as Jesus went to the cross and then rose again. We can hope to see him in heaven!
The promise that Jesus gives us is that when we allow Him full access and complete control of our lives, He becomes very involved in our lives. We sense His presence, we feel His love for us, His joy in our decisions, and His peace that He gives to His disciples (John 14:27). We see Him moving and shaking in our lives as He weeds our vineyard, prunes our vines, and rebuilds the walls around our vineyard (Proverbs 24:30-34).
Are we willing to take His offer of salvation seriously? Every day? We don’t need to be saved but once, but the commitment is and must be the same everyday.
Abba, I pray for my readers that they have given their hearts and lives to You. It is my hope that they have died to themselves and now live for You, with You, and in You even as You live in and through them–and me! May Galatians 2:20 become our mantra: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. This life I live in the body I live by faith [trusting what He has told me in His Word] in the Son of God, who loves me and gave Himself for me.” Hold me to it, LORD. Amen.