There are many Christians in the church that, if asked, would say that Jesus died to save us from our sins. While this is true, it does not give the real reason why God sent his only Son to die on the cross. I believe that many people who have left the church is due to this: they only understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ as fire insurance and lost their "fervor" weeks, months, or years later. We do a really good job of asking people to accept Jesus because he died for their sins and we need our sins to be forgiven, but this does not address everything. Often times we stop at justification, being made just before God through forgiveness, but there is more.
The Son of God incarnate, Jesus Christ, came to reconcile us to himself AND free us from sin! If we only see salvation as fire insurance, then we have missed the most beautiful part of salvation. The Jesus of the Bible came to give life and give it abundantly, to be made like Christ, to be restored in the image of God. If we do not have power to live and walk in obedience, then the death of Christ was in vain. In Galatians 2:20, Paul says that he is crucified with Christ and it is no longer him who lives, but Christ who lives in him, and that the life he lives in the flesh he lives by faith in the Son of God who loved him (and everyone) and gave his life for him (and the whole world). Paul says that he has been crucified. I wonder what the church would look like if we began to preach that conversion means crucifixion and new life in the blood of Jesus. A life that is holy unto the Lord. A.W. Tozer says it this way, "The purpose of God is not to save us from hell; the purpose of God is to save us to make us like Christ and to make us like God" (The Crucified Life).
In Paul's letter to the church of Rome, chapter eight is about living in the power of the Spirit. He talks about God sending his only son and how nothing can separate Christians from the love of God. In the power of this love of Christ, Christians are called more than conquerors (Romans 8:31-39). If we are more than conquerors, then we should not view salvation as a mere ticket out of hell, but a mission. We are set free from sin to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our strength, with all our mind, and with all our soul; and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are set free to go forth, not be idle and "a get out of hell free card". Salvation is to be made like Christ and continually renewed.
To live a life that is crucified is not an easy task, it means surrender and the first thing that comes in the way of surrender is self-will. I promise you that it is not an easy path, but a life surrendered to the work of the Holy Spirit is a life that is abundant; a life that can experience victory and walk in holiness. Whether you are living in victory or fighting daily battles, know that God fulfills his promises. In Philippians 3:12-15, Paul talks about pressing on towards righteousness and being made perfect, not that he has attained perfection, but that he continually walks in the power of the spirit. Paul begins Philippians by saying that "He who has began a good work in you is faithful to bring it to completion" and ends Philippians with the same encouragement of pressing on toward the mark, which is being made like Jesus. Seek the Lord; seek to be made like Jesus and pray for the Lord to renew himself in you.
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Just a guy trying to share the gospel and love people well. (B.A. Asbury University;