Those of us who have been saved all have one major thing in common… we are all fully aware of what we’ve been saved from… sin and death. We know that we were once lost. In fact, the Bible says we were actually dead in our sin. We recognized our need for a Savior, and we surrendered our lives to Him. And while most of us understand who we were before Christ, it’s a bit more challenging to embrace who we are now in Him.
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From Death to Life
Of all the truths about myself before Christ, this one astonishes me the most. Passing from death into life is certainly the greatest miracle one can possibly experience. But not only are we now spiritually alive… the Bible tells us that we will live for all eternity with Christ. We will be resurrected and receive new bodies! No more sickness, disease, or old age. We will be fully alive and made whole.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. – Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV)
Once a Slave… Now Free
Prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection, we were all in slavery to sin. But His victory on the cross gave us access to true freedom! Paul speaks of this freedom from sin in Romans 6. We no longer have to live in sin; and in this new freedom, we become “slaves” to righteousness. In other words, we begin to freely serve God in obedience and reverence; but unlike our slavery to sin, we are slaves of righteousness by choice. We choose to serve the King of kings and Lord of lords all the days of our lives.
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:34-36
No Longer an Orphan… But a Child of God
God could have rescued us from our slavery to sin and that would have been enough to serve Him with our lives. But He took it a step further when He chose to adopt us as His sons and daughters. As Jesus said in John 8, “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.” God’s plan from the beginning was not to have slaves, but sons. Our God, the Creator of the universe, longs for us to call Him, “Abba, Father.”
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. – Romans 8:14-16 (NIV, emphasis added)
Once Lost… Now Found
So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. – Luke 15:3-7 (emphasis added)
In this famous parable of Jesus, a shepherd leaves behind ninety-nine sheep to search for one. This is the heart of the Father towards those who are lost. But that’s not all! Once found, notice the reaction of the shepherd. He not only rejoices over the found sheep, but He gathers everyone together to rejoice with him! This story is not much different than that of the prodigal son. When the son comes home, he is embraced with open arms and the father throws a party!
No Longer Unclean… But Declared Righteous
When they were babies, my daughters’ favorite song to sing before was the old hymn “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus.” In fact, when my oldest was just three months old, it was the only song that would help her fall asleep at night. What can wash away my sin… nothing but the blood of Jesus.
When we are born again into the family of God, the blood of Jesus washes us clean. It is as if our sins are no more, and we are declared righteous in His name!
But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. – 1 John 1:7
Forever Loved and Forgiven
In yesterday’s post, I pointed out that all are loved and forgiven by God. Jesus died for the sins of the world even though we were still lost in our sin. But if there’s one thing I’ve noticed within the church, it is our tendency to dwell on our sin and past life instead of embracing the newness we have in Christ.
Yes, we will still fall short from time to time, and we need to take that sin to God. But God saved us from slavery to sin in order that we might walk in His freedom and grace. We have a God-given mission here on earth to be the church, to advance the Kingdom, and to make disciples of all nations. And we will be far less effective in this mission if we are constantly dwelling on our past mistakes.
You are loved. You are forgiven. And even when you fall down, these things are still true.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
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*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.