We just recently celebrated one of the most beautiful, somber, and celebratory weeks of the Christian calendar—Holy Week. I’m still thinking about it. We were reminded of the unimaginable suffering Jesus endured to fulfill the will of our Holy God. We took time to ponder what the cross means. That Jesus, the perfect son of God, was nailed to a cross and not only experienced great physical pain, but all of the sin of everyone in the entire world – ever. I cannot fathom the weight and guilt and shame and horror that Jesus must have known as He hung on that cross, condemned to death as a criminal.
Praise God that is not the end of the story! After He was dead and buried, He was resurrected! He rose from the grave! He claimed victory over death, over sin! His death ushered in a new era for believers. We are saved by grace and not by works (Eph 2:8-9). There is nothing we can DO to be in right relationship with God. Jesus did it for us, and we, as believers, stand in righteous glory before our Heavenly Father, fully restored to Him in Christ Jesus.
Salvation is such a big and beautiful word and the extent of its importance cannot be adequately conveyed. Any person who knows Jesus as their Lord and Savior should know they are redeemed. They will be with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit for eternity.
As I have worked through our current Thistlebend study, I have been considering what it truly means to be a redeemed child of the King of kings. Who am I in Christ? I know Christ has plucked me out of the pit of destruction and set my feet upon a rock (Psalm 40:2). I know I have the gift of salvation. I know what I have been saved from. But what have I been saved to?
Throughout the Old Testament, we are instructed in what our life post-salvation should look like. But in our homework this week, we camped out a bit in Paul’s letter to the Romans. In Romans 12, Paul shows us how we are to live in the light of God’s grace, and how we are to live in unity within the body of Christ. Note: I have recorded specific passages in which Paul tells us how we are to look:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to:
- Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
- Do not be conformed to this world.
- Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect …
- Do not to think of (yourself) more highly than (you) ought to think.
- Think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
- (Be aware that) as in one body we have many members,[e]and the members do not all have the same function.
- (Recognize…we have been given) gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.
- Let love be genuine.
- Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
- Love one another with brotherly affection.
- Be fervent in spirit;serve the Lord.
- Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
- Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
- Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
- Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
- Live in harmony with one another.
- Do not be haughty.
- Associate with the lowly.
- Never be wise in your own sight.
- Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
- If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
- Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[I]to the wrath of God.
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Friends, this sort of love is what we have been saved to. The cross makes it possible for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to walk in this kind of self-sacrificing love.
This week, my Taking the Truth to Heart scripture comes from Romans 12:12: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” My plans to “put on” the truth of this scripture for the week include: writing out the scripture on a card and placing it on a small clipboard on my dresser; entering it into my phone so it automatically comes up at a certain time each day, and setting prayer reminders throughout the day (via my phone). The choice to fix our eyes on Jesus and not on ourselves is a daily commitment we must make, over and over again. As Lauren Daigle says in her song, “Refuge,” “There is no distance, That cannot be covered, Over and over….”
We will always walk certain paths back and forth as we seek to work out our salvation (Phil 2:12). I know some paths very well. But God has endless patience, and is at my side the entire time I cover that same path.
May you know the sacrifice and love of our Lord this Easter Season, and may you take time to thank the Lord for the life He saved you from and the life He saved you to.
Growing in Grace