I think a big misunderstanding we have is that salvation is all about going to heaven, & that we need to keep living right in order to make it to heaven on the day of judgement. Here’s the thing: the sin that people will be judged for on that day is only one: the sin of rejecting the free gift of Jesus Christ. If you’ve accepted Jesus, you’ll go to heaven, but Jesus didn’t come just so that you may go to heaven. His main purpose for coming was to restore us back into intimate relationship with God.
Once we get saved, an exchange takes place: that the same way when Adam sinned we were all made sinners (without us sinning), is the same way that when we accept the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, we are given His righteousness (without doing anything right). It’s a free gift! Jesus, who never sinned, was made a sinner, for all the sins of the earth were put upon Him. He did not deserve it, but God is holy, & sin had to be punished, & that’s why John 3:16 is so amazing – Holy God, who hates sin & had to punish it, put that punishment on Himself, that the wrath WE deserved, He put on Himself, so that we might receive the righteousness we DID NOT deserve. Amazing Love! Amazing Grace! We who were sinners, who did not deserve to be called righteous, were given Jesus’ righteousness, as a free gift! The only reason we can boldly approach God, the only reason we can have intimate relationship with God, is not because we are living right/keeping all the laws, but because God sees us through Jesus righteousness. And that is not something I have to sustain by my good works. God gave it to me – freely!! Jesus died ONCE, for all sin: past, present AND future sins! All my sins (that I have done, may be doing now, or will ever do) have been paid for, & now instead of focusing on trying to please God with my good works, I can focus on building my relationship with Him, on getting to know Him more, without worrying about whether I’m pleasing Him or not, because through Christ’s perfect sacrifice, I’m ALREADY accepted. I’m already His BELOVED. I’m already HIGHLY FAVOURED. Not by my good works, but by His grace. His Amazing Grace. That’s why it’s so tragic when many people die without hearing and receiving this great news about Jesus and what He has FREELY made available for us – relationship with God, the Maker of the universe.
The reason people fear telling others this amazing grace is because they fear that they will no longer see a need to live right, saying “Ah, si I’m going to heaven, there’s no need to live right.” But here’s the thing: Jesus didn’t come so that you may go to heaven. He came so that you may have an intimate relationship with God, both now AND in heaven (John 3:16; John 17:3). God is more interested in YOU, relationship with YOU, than He is in your good works. Living right will be automatic if you’re in close relationship with God, & you won’t be doing it so as to earn something from Him, but as an automatic response to His great love towards you. Relationships flourish when what we do is motivated by love, not a sense of obligation or because we want to get/earn/deserve something from the other party.
One reason why many are not being drawn to Christ today is because many of our lives as Christians aren’t attractive. Our lives look no different from those of non-believers (sometimes they seem to be living better), & I believe the main reason for this is that many of us Christians are focusing on pleasing God with our good works instead of focusing on building our relationship with God. Imagine a marriage where the partners are doing everything right: husband is paying the bills, buying clothes for his wife, etc; the wife is taking good care of the kids, ensures food at home is ready all the time, etc, but no relationship exists. They don’t spend time together, getting to know each other more, finding out how the day of the other person was, etc. Everything done is done out of a sense of obligation: “I’m the husband, and this is my role. I’m the wife, and this is my role. I’ve done my part so don’t expect anything more from me.” It would be very difficult to say that a relationship exists in this case, let alone an intimate one. We are trying to earn blessings from God instead of resting in the fact that through Christ we are already blessed, & that it’s just a matter of believing & receiving. We are trying to please God & yet He says He is ALREADY pleased with us, not because of what we’ve done but because we have accepted the FREE gift of Jesus. That’s why the message of Jesus is called the GOOD news, that’s why it’s called AMAZING grace. The abundant life God has in store for us is experienced through this intimate relationship with God.
So, instead of trying to please God with our good works (if our good works could earn us salvation then there was no need for Jesus to come), let’s seek to build a relationship with God; to learn more about Him, His nature. Find out how He leads, how we can hear from Him. We will live right more when we’re in intimate relationship with God. God doesn’t want your works, He wants your heart. He wants YOU.
Growing in our relationship with God (in knowledge of who God is, of who we are in Christ, etc) is what we’ll cause us to live the abundant, enviable lives that God desires for us to live.
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 MSG)
John 3:16 NLT
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
John 17:3 KJV
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
John 14:6 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
John 8:32 KJV
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
2 Peter 1:2-3 KJV
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Proverbs 4:7-8, 20-22 KJV
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.