One recent thought I keep mulling over is this: “How far will I go for Jesus?” I’ve taken a recent interest in the persecuted church and I am astonished by the sheer violence they experience without wavering in their faith. Some have witnessed horrible acts of cruelty enacted upon their families, yet they refuse to recant and deny Jesus. How is this possible? How is Jesus worth this?
I ask this question because I find within myself the tendency to forgo deepening my relationship with Christ for foolish things (movies, hobbies, and various other things). I love Jesus—I do—but I also really enjoy a lot of other things well beyond the proper boundaries these things belong within. Such knowledge creates a great amount of inner turmoil and anxiety. In response to such turmoil, numerous fears surface in my life. I’ve doubted my salvation. I’ve doubted if God loves me. I doubt if I will be faithful to the Lord until the end of my life. I wonder if God is going to punish me and make my life miserable because I sin. I wonder if something bad is going to happen to me, my family, or my church because I am such a wreck. Truth is, I hear the success stories of others remaining faithful to God and I feel like a fake! I feel that I am an imposter and a fraud. And then I realize something, I am—this is why Jesus saved me and gave me His righteousness!
Ephesians 1:7-8 states: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding.”
Notice this, we have: 1) Redemption; 2) Forgiveness; & 3) Grace poured out with ALL wisdom and understanding! Jesus, absolutely knowing our evil hearts and extreme helpless weakness, perfectly purchased us and adopted us into His family. Jesus saved us and purchased us back from sin and death because we were not created for death and hell. Our loving God created us for Himself. However, our sin made us imposters in two ways. First, we were children of God who sold our position in God’s family to join Satan’s family!!! Second, as children of Satan, when we try to please God independent from Christ, we are imposters! This is why the work of Jesus is so good, He paid the necessary price to purchase us back (redeem) and restore us to the family of God!
Even further, Paul tells us that by grace we have been saved so that we COULD NOT boast of ourselves (Eph. 2:8-9). Wait… it gets even better! Ephesians 1:13 tells us we were sealed with the Holy Spirit! Think of it like this, not only did Christ purchase us, but He did so without anything from us at all and, then, He made it so we could not be re-sold into slavery to death and sin! We endure because of the work of Jesus Christ! Our self-determination does not guarantee our salvation. Our effort does not guarantee our salvation. Our meritorious works and great achievements do not guarantee our salvation. OUR GOD GUARANTEES SALVATION! If we have the presence of the Spirit within us, then we are saved. Case closed!
Consequently, when I find myself wondering if I will endure, I am actually demonstrating that I am both doubting the work of God and confused about the promises of God. If God has said that He has sealed us with the promise of the Spirit, who are we to doubt Him? What do we know that God does not? Nothing! God knows we are but dust, yet He has purposed to save us! God knows we are double-minded, so He has given us His Spirit as a guarantee and promise to secure us when we find ourselves doubting Him.
Are you struggling with in your faith? Are you aware of your failures and sins? Are you unsure about the love and mercy of God? Then I hope this brief devotion encourages you to put your trust and hope in the work of Jesus instead of in your ability to make yourself acceptable to God. We have no ability to make ourselves acceptable to God, so God did that for us—rest in this!
I hope you are encouraged to draw near to God and enjoy His presence. The Lord is good to His people—He is good to you! This is what makes Jesus worth it! Jesus is worth it because He completed what we could never begin. When you find that you are struggling, embrace the righteousness of Christ and go to your Lord. I promise you the Comforter will comfort you with His presence.
In Christ, Pastor Darin