Saving, the Pain and the Gain

Nothing hurts like rejection.  Isaiah tells us that Jesus was a man of sorrows “rejected” of men.  Jesus told us as His followers, “If they hated me they will hate you also.”  What’s amazing is that what Jesus came to do is SAVE US.   Why would that bring rejection and hate?  Because saving also involves being changed by the Savior.  Jesus didn’t come to leave us “as is” but to bring us out of darkness and into light.  This process requires us to trust Him, and believe that He is worthy of commanding our lives.  It takes submission to His authority to be saved.

There is a cheap grace gospel that says “all you do is receive Jesus as your Savior and you are eternally saved, period.”  Properly understood, that is partly correct, but receiving Jesus as your Savior is not simply being convinced He is the Son of God and “accepting Him into my heart to save me” without submission to Him as Lord and King of my life.  Just because you say a prayer and/or get baptized doesn’t complete the saving work of Christ in you.

I recently spoke with someone who had been deceived by the false gospel of cheap grace.  They told me they were saved, but (as I observed) didn’t live for Jesus.  Life in sin was just too much fun.  Giving up all the toys and making changes in language and behaviors didn’t matter.  All that mattered was to accept Jesus as my Savior.  That, and that alone, summed up the saving work of Christ in this person’s mind.

I know that you can isolate a few passages of scripture in the Bible and come up with that, but reading the clear warnings of God’s word to Christians (saved people) would indicate that you can’t accept Jesus as your Savior and dismiss Him as your Lord and King.  That’s like telling God’s Son, “I like that saving part, Jesus, but you can keep your holiness stuff to yourself!”  Saving requires submission to changes in not just our lost condition, but also our lives in Christ.

In Christ!   That’s the saved place to live where the saving work of Jesus is.  Just listen to Paul’s words about what it means to be alive in Christ instead of dead in sin and see for yourself what that looks like.  Looking like, sounding like, acting like and talking like Jesus is the very heart of what Saving grace does to us.  God’s purpose for saving us is about His praise and glory not our pleasure and gusto.

God’s grace is not to be treated with disrespect and disobedience.  God not only saves us, He empowers us to live saved lives as we submit to Him.  God gives us His Holy Spirit to live in us and help us.  He bears in us and through us the fruit of a repentant life with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Those who would bow to Christ Jesus as King and follow Him as disciples are those who enter His saving grace and enjoy His blessings and benefits.  We also enter into fellowship with His suffering.  It can not be otherwise.  The temporal pain is not worth comparing to the glorious gain!

May God help us hear His voice and submit to His reigning authority and follow Jesus Christ, His Son.  May we who have received the Holy Spirit fan into flame that burning gift of God for His praise and glory, even as it costs us in pain and suffering.  God actually uses the suffering for our good and His glory too!  Nothing is lost in the saving work of God in us!  Nothing!  He works all things together for good to those who love Him.

Jesus said it best: Blessed are you, when men revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad!  For great is your reward in heaven!

Do you trust Him?  I do.  I pray my faith will never fail, no matter what this world may throw at me.  Jesus Christ is worthy!  He deserves and has earned much more that all I have to give.

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