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Monday, November 25, 2013

The Case for Salvation: Why living a saved life is the best life Guest Blog By Lawrence Cherry

A lot of people think being saved is all washed up. They think if you’re saved you have to live a dull and boring life. All you do is wake up, pray, eat, go to work, come home pray, eat dinner, read the Bible, pray, brush your teeth and go to sleep with the schedule changing slightly on Sundays because you go to church. There is no fun because everything is a sin. Anyone who thinks the life of a true Christian is this sterile has never read Acts of the Apostles or the Gospels. Getting saved and entering into the Christian life opens you to a world of possibilities, endless adventure, and most of all a freedom that is better than anything you could ever experience.

            First, being a Christian is totally liberating. Our culture is what is truly stifling with it’s dos and don’ts. Popular culture always tries to put people into categories or what I call ‘boxes’. There’s the pseudo counter-culture (you know those people that rebel in socially acceptable ways), the illuminati, the conservatives, the liberals, ghetto cultures, religious zealots and the like. In order to get by in life, people try to make themselves fit into one of these ‘boxes’. But upon accepting Christ, we are freed from having to live according to the standards dictated by these ‘boxes’ and are free to live according to the Word of God.  If you’re not sure what I mean by this I’ll explain.

            So many people are bound by societies unspoken rules. One example of society’s unspoken rules is that you have to have a lot of material wealth and/or recognition in order to be somebody. So many people strive for and wind up in all kinds of compromising situations because they wanted fame and/or fortune in the hopes of becoming “somebody”. If only they knew the simple truth that in Christ, it doesn’t matter how well known or esteemed you are “for that which is esteemed highly among men is an abomination before God” (Luke 16:15) or how much money or property you have, “for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth” (Luke 12: 15, and also read on to verses 16 – 21 of the same chapter). Once you realize this, you are free. You don’t have to waste your resources or your time trying to accrue meaningless things or trying to get the attention of people who really don’t matter. You don’t need the latest car, designer jeans, or fancy house. You don’t have to be the smartest, the best looking, to be the most powerful, or to have the biggest accomplishment. You realize that it’s okay just to be you because you know that God has created you in His own express image and he has a purpose for your life. For Jesus tells us
Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12: 6-7)

No matter how insignificant you may think you are, you are not forgotten before God. So what if you don’t have a building or a street named in your honor? You may not have a title of renown, or a lot of money, or the best job or even a lot of family and friends. You may think that you are completely alone in some pretty troubling circumstances, but you are not. God is always with us and He has his eye on us so we don’t have to worry about the things the rest of the world has to worry about. We understand that this life is about being the best you that God has created you to be and fulfilling the plan He has for your life. It’s not a race or a competition. It’s about preparation for our eternal destiny. Everything on this planet along with the customs and governments that currently exist will all eventually perish. The only things that will matter are those things we have done for Christ. Only those who are free in Christ realize this.

There are also men and women that believe that if they want someone special in their lives, they have to sleep with the person within the first three months of dating. For men, society’s definition of manhood dictates that they must sleep with a lot of women in order to be considered ‘real men’. In the case of women, many feel pressured to adhere to the ‘feminist ideal’, meaning in order to prove they are just as good as a man, they have to show that they can be sexually ‘open’ and not have emotional attachments. Many people feel cheap and unsatisfied by all the sleeping around, but do not dare express it because according to the “popular culture” this is all supposed to be ‘normal’.  The result is a lot of sexually transmitted diseases get passed around, children are born out of wedlock and are unwanted, and there is a lot of acrimony between men and women in their romantic relationships. Some people end up abusing themselves to the point to where it becomes so difficult for them to be aroused that they resort to the most depraved not to mention predatory acts. But when you are saved, you realize don’t have to live like this.

When you are saved you begin to gain a different perspective of things. You realize that you don’t have to follow the norms and standards of the popular culture. Sex isn’t everything - I don’t care what the Kinsey report or other nonsense research says. We are not sexual beings, meaning, our sexuality does not define who we are. We are spiritual beings first and foremost. If we were purely sexual beings then it would be that people would find fulfillment in sex, but I haven’t found one person yet who has.  So many people try to use sex to fulfill themselves, but after each act, they are left empty and depressed. That is because they don’t realize that the longing inside themselves is created by their need for God. When we respond to the call of God upon our hearts, we realize that only he can fulfill us and we become free to live unto Him. We realize that our bodies are sacred temples for his Spirit and as such we realize how precious we are in his sight. It is then that we hold ourselves dear and refuse to subject ourselves for some other person’s cheap entertainment. Some would argue, “Well, that doesn’t sound like freedom to me. I should have the right to have sex whenever I want.”  I’d remind them that God is not prudish. He gave people the right to have sex whenever they want: so long as it is with their spouse. I’d also remind them that God gave man the right to not have sex, without being made to feel as if something is wrong with him/her. When you are in Christ you are free to make the decision not to have sex without having to feel that you are somehow depriving yourself of something or that you’re crazy.

In addition to being free from society’s unwritten rules, you are free from the laws of society. When you have accepted Christ and you live according to his will, you most likely won’t have to worry about being in trouble with the law (i.e. so long as there are no government restrictions on religious freedoms), because those who are true Christians and have the Spirit of Christ will bear forth the fruits thereof as the Apostle Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”(Galatians 5:23) If Christ is living in you, there’s no way you could even think of doing something heinous without having his Spirit convict you and tell you that what you’re thinking is not in line with who you are called to be. If we listen to this conviction there’s no way we can go wrong in life. Like Paul implies, no one is going to call the cops on you for caring for a sick person, and there’s no law against giving money to those who need it. Things associated with selflessness are not crimes, but things associated with selfishness are. In the event that you happen to live under an unfair regime that penalizes good works, you still don’t have to worry. When God is on your side, he will be there even when people rise up against you to persecute you.

So as a Christian, you are free. What’s even better is you get to witness to others about the goodness of God and testify about the things he has done for you. You get to have a relationship with God in which you are open to him using you as he sees fit for His glory. This means your life will never be boring. You could be sitting in your apartment one moment and the next he could call you to the mission field. He could send you to another city to meet the need to someone who desperately needs the Word and a comforting friend. You might wind up opening your house and your heart to people who could end up affecting you in ways you never thought of (think of what happened when Shunemite woman opened her house to Elisha – 2 Kings, 4: 8-37, or the life of the Moses in Exodus, or the Apostle Paul in Acts of the Apostles). Being saved opens doors and expands the possibilities for you.

There are so many people that doctors told them they were going to die, but they are still here. Why? Because of God’s mercy and grace. There are so many people out there who don’t have fancy degrees who are doing better than those who do. Why? Because they trusted in God for their substance rather than man. There are so many women who could not have children, and tried the fertility treatments and in-vitro with no luck, only to have God work on their bodies and allow them to become mothers. There are so many things in this world that man can’t understand and explain, and yet these things exist. How can it be? It’s because of the power of God. Man’s world is so limited, but God is unlimited. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. There are only two things He can’t do: lie and fail. When we walk with Christ and live in Him, and He lives in us there is no limit to how He can work for us, if we have faith to believe.

Finally when you live in Christ, you are free from the fear of death. So many people fear death in our society. Many fear because they don’t know what happens afterward. But if you are saved, you know what’s next: eternal life with the God of creation. Let’s say some ruler makes an arbitrary law that makes death a penalty for believing in Christ. You don’t fear this law or death because the true hope of your calling is not in life on this earth. We know that the earth is temporal and will pass away. As a Christian, we are yearning to be a part of that eternal kingdom that God will set up when he recreates the earth. When you live in Christ, you know that you are not really going to ‘die’. You know that instead you will pass from the earthly realm into the eternal realm where you will forever be in the presence of God. You won’t be in the presence of God for 30 years or 80 years or even 150 years. We will be with him for eternity. So, all the sufferings and pains that we go through in this life for Jesus, will most likely be forgotten. Likewise, if you end up in hell all the money, power, and pleasures you had in your brief life will be forgotten in the face of eternal torment.

            Given all this, how could one not want to live a saved life and commit themselves into the hands of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Why be bound according to the dictates of men on this earth – men who are biased, capricious, and despite their authority and intellect, are clueless about this world and what it’s all about. They have been found to be wrong so many times, it’s a wonder people keep trusting them. Put your trust in the Lord and his Son, Jesus Christ and you won’t have to worry about anything else. Peace.


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