Having given us life and a free will, God will hold us accountable for the use of our freedom of choice between good and evil. Think of it in terms of “stewardship.” With such great gifts, we will answer for our faithfulness in using them.
We must learn to do what is right because it is right, and not because it will turn earthly events in our direction. The sooner we give up our “comprehend and control” approach to life, the sooner we’ll be ready to hear the gospel.
As Christians we will fall short and our only hope of salvation is in God’s grace. But forgiveness requires godly sorrow and repentance. In the absence of “a broken and contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17), grace offers no freedom to continue in sin.
If the gospel is true, it is the most important truth in the world — and it is worth being defended. Just as surely as the gospel is preached, there will be those who corrupt it. When they speak up, those who know the Scriptures must speak up also.
In regard to God, we must say a decisive Yes! — or we’ll not like where we end up. As I heard someone say, “God lives upstream from us, and we’re not going to get to where He is by just drifting.” The most disastrous thing we can do is “not decide.”
Confessing Christ goes beyond saying the words “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” Truly believing it, that truth must be confessed in our deeds as well as our words. We can’t have Jesus as our “Savior” without obeying Him as our “Lord.”
Our motivation today needs to like Paul’s. My own prayer is that I obeyed the gospel in order “that I may gain Christ and be found in him . . . becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
What Jesus showed His disciples from the Hebrew Scriptures is that (a) the Messiah would suffer, (b) He would rise from the dead, and (c) repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in His name to all the world, beginning from Jerusalem.
There is not one of us who won’t have to account for himself or herself before Christ at the judgment. That accounting will be an absolutely accurate assessment of our life-choices. There will be no favoritism and no miscarriage of justice.
It takes faith to accept whatever the Lord commands in cases where what He requires goes against our preferences. But if we don’t trust the Lord enough to comply with His instructions, it’s vain for us to think that He will save us anyway.