I recently heard the following statement: accepting Christ takes a minute, but following Him takes a lifetime. That’s not to downplay the enormous and eternal importance of salvation. It is, however, to highlight that God calls to more than momentary acceptance. Let’s look at Romans 6.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Romans 6:1-6
Here are three big challenges from this passage:
- We’re not just supposed to carrying on sinning: Sometimes I feel we take advantage of God’s grace. I’ve often heard the phrase: oh well, God will forgive me anyway! The theology is right (God will forgive), but the thinking is wrong. God didn’t save us so we could just keep on living a life of sin. He saved us to transform us NOW and FOREVER. While God will forgive our continued sinfulness, God expects more from us. He expects us to ditch our old lives of sin to follow Him. He expects us to stop living for ourselves and instead follow His ways.
- Christ had to die to save us: This is one of those things that many of us take for granted. But, lets back-up a second and look at this as if we’re hearing it for the first time. This is radical! The only way for us to be saved from the eternal death facing us was by God dying on the Cross as Christ Jesus. This is something WAY beyond our ability to earn, and something God couldn’t just hand us. Instead, God had to suffer and die so that we may live eternally. Do we really take the time to grasp this? Do we sufficiently give God the glory and honor?
- We are something new: Do we really understand what it means to walk in newness of life? God wants something different and greater from each and every one of us. He just doesn’t want us to take the gift of eternal life, go home, and keep it to ourselves. He makes us new to make an impact on our world. He wants us to BEHAVE differently so that our behavior improves the world. He wants us to SERVE others so that our service impacts the world. He wants us to THINK differently, so that our thoughts may be guided by His perfect thoughts.