“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10).
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST CALLS ON US TO TAKE SIDES. To be more precise, it calls on us to change sides. Jesus was clear that if we have not cast our lot with Him, that amounts to a decision to stand against Him. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23). If our present position (the status quo, if you will) is that we have said no to Christ, we are on the side of the enemy. But Christ invites us to change our minds and say yes. He will makes us His friends and treat us just as if we had never left the rule of God in the first place.
Having been enemies, we are urged to be reconciled to God. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:10,11). But this involves far more than simply a change in our legal status before God. To be reconciled means that we not only pass from a wrong relationship with God to one that is right — it means that our character is brought back into conformity to God’s character. God having removed the barrier and made us His friends, we learn to think — and act — as His friends.
Writing to Christians who were not living as they should, James said, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Having changed sides, we need to make sure that we don’t live like people who are still friends with the enemy!
But what if we have not yet obeyed the gospel at all? We need to see the reality of the position we’re in, without glossing it over or making it seem more innocent than it is. If the gospel is false, it should be rejected. But if it is true, indifference is not an option. If we die in our rebellion, it will not go well with us at judgment.
“You may say you are far from hating God; but if you live in sin, you are among God’s enemies, you are under Satan’s standard and enlisted there. You may not like it, no wonder; you may wish to be elsewhere. But there you are, an enemy of God” (Gerard Manley Hopkins).