Every now and then, I hear a testimony of sacrificial salvation. That individual lists all of the things they had to leave behind to become a Christian. His or her pursuit of Christ almost sounds heroic. Such individuals, sometimes, come out looking better than Jesus.
I trust such stories to be accurate and true. I have no reason to think otherwise. But, I feel sad that salvation ends up looking shabby and tattered, like left-overs.
The truth is salvation is majestic and miraculous. It's full of treasure, fulfillment, and hope. It's beyond a dream, because it's real and tangible. Salvation introduces elements of life totally unaccessible for those without it. It creates a relationship with God totally absent apart from it.
Jesus said that people can do nothing of spiritual significance apart from Him, nothing. The Bible reveals that, along with salvation, we receive everything pertaining to life and godliness. Those receiving salvation become adopted by God into His family. Christians are outsiders who became insiders. They are individuals without access to God who have become temples for His Holy Spirit. They are real people who were condemened to hell, but grace has given them the hope of heaven instead.
I have a story of leaving something behind, too. I read it in my quiet time. It wasn't the central focus of the passage. Instead, it was only a phrase. God drew my attention there. He showed me how rich I am, today, as His child. Here it is. "...You know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life..." (1 Peter 1:18).
My earthly ancestors could only leave me an earthly inheritance. I, luckily, came from a Christian home and relatives. But, they could only talk about, speak of, and encourage salvation. They couldn't give it.
God took away my empty life. That's what I lost - all of it. I had to leave it behind to follow Jesus. In its place, He has given me treasure in heaven. In its place, He promises a dwelling place in heaven, with Him, for all eternity.
What I have on earth will perish. It is all fleeting. That's why Peter also says to fix my hope completely, not partially, no the hope that Jesus will bring me when He returns. Nothing here matters like that. So, yes, I left it all behind.
Crossing the Lines
The ideas behind this blog emerged from my study and preaching of a message I titled "A Single Step." It was an unexpected message out of Philippians 2:12-18. I'm the one who was surprised. I had a whole different idea of where the sermon would go. Then, I got into the text and followed it. That led, eventually, to the response by individuals after the message. God worked in me and in our congregation. He's still at work.
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