Romans 7:15-25 has definitely been on my heart recently. I could write a lot more about it than what I will end up briefly saying here and I’ll probably reuse the passage for another blog post. For now though… In light of the shooting in Connecticut and again realizing how short life can be, I was really thinking about how my life truly reflects the love, grace, mercy and FORGIVENESS that I’ve been given through God’s sacrificial gift of His Son Jesus Christ. How do my actions portray how a born-again saved Christian should act.
What am I “saying” with my actions – OR INACTION(S)! See, I know that I’m saved. By the grace of God, He’s called me and I made a proclamation of faith years ago – and have since reaffirmed that. I know I have a place secured in eternity with God. So when I screw up like the stupid sinner I am – I know that when I confess that sin and ask for forgiveness – that forgiveness is there. And thank God, ’cause I need that often – and more than I actually confess.
(John Piper has a great article on the assurance of salvation here.)
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[c]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved
At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
BUT, the people in my life who see my visible sin may not yet be saved. If they see me living in a way that is opposite of the way God has instructed, it’s only natural for them to think that if I can do it (as Christian) than they can do it too. But, truthfully, it’s worse for them – because they don’t yet have that assurance of forgiveness and salvation. My actions or words may be a hindrance to them accepting Christ’s free offering of Salvation.
Romans 14:19-21 says:
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
To be a part in the people I care about’s separation from God is a heavy burden to bare. But it’s also a necessity in being a witness to those around me – those that I can affect with the Holy Spirit working in me.
As important as my verbal witness is, so also is my witness of just how I live. I believe one of the best ways to open doors to conversations about faith, Christ, and salvation is to simply be a Light to those around us and let the Holy Spirit work through our lives and empower us to do the things that don’t feel natural to us because of our sinfulness. Love when they don’t deserve it. Forgive when they hurt you. When the world wouldn’t expect you to respond positively, or in love, or in forgiveness: Respond with an abundance of love. Respond with an abundance of forgiveness. Respond with care. Show them the love that Christ showed you.
My goodness is that HARD. Every day is a struggle to live out those easy words to write. It is in complete contradiction of how I feel sometimes. I really want to get that pleasure for myself. I want to hold a grudge. I want to ignore. I want to be passive and let others take the first step. I want to protect myself first. I don’t want to intentionally go out of my way for others.
But I can’t imagine what would happen to me if God had not done the COMPLETE OPPOSITE for me (and YOU) – in intentionally sending His Son to be the perfect covering of all my missteps, faults, and shortcomings – to save, love, and direct. Therefore, I MUST do what I can and continually ask for help in reflecting that new life to others.
Thank You for loving me
Thank You for finding me
Thank You for hearing me
Thank You for healing me
Thank You for loving me
Thank You for saving me
Please continue to work through me so that those I love (and those that you will continue to bring into my life) will soon say the same thing!
Soli Deo gloria
When I could only see the floor,
You made my window a door,
So when they say they don’t believe,
I hope that they see You in me