Friday, November 6, 2009

Good Enough to Live By

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27)

You've heard the old saying, I'm sure, "Your religion may be good enough to live by, but is it good enough to die by?" I would contend that an even more pertinent question might be this: "Your religion may be good enough to die by, but is it good enough to live by?" If not, there's good reason to wonder if the first question is even relevant. John 10:27, and verses like it, make this a fairly reasonable assumption.

Ian Thomas has defined salvation as "reoccupation by God of a guilty sinner, in such a way that Jesus Christ has absolute control." That sums it up nicely, I think. After the Fall, God was no longer Adam's Companion, merely his Creator. When he declared his independence, Adam's internal connection to God was severed. But although his disobedience insured that we all come into this world predetermined to, and preoccupied by, sin; one Man's obedience offers the possibility of a predisposition to righteousness (Rom. 5:19). Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you and I can regain that Divine Tenant that Adam lost. (Depending on your surroundings, this would be a good time loudly praise the Lord!)

This kind of "reoccupation by God" is bound to have repercussions. Allegiance to Jesus Christ, God in flesh, is a given. Anyone who is willing to compromise His exclusivity in the matter of salvation can claim no connection to God, the Father. (1John 2:23). And when His authority is questioned, so may we question His presence. God does not require perfection, only allegiance. He knows we will sin as long as we are confined to these fleshly bodies (1John 1:8); but He does reserve the right to expect confession and repentance from us when we do (1John 1:9).

We often say, "He or she died peacefully," suggesting a heavenly destination; but being able to say he or she lived peacefully would seem to be a better indication. Christianity is a life, not an insurance policy. Eternal life, as offered by Jesus Christ (John 10:28a), does not begin at death; it begins when we acknowledge Him as both Lord and Savior.

I can tell you from experience, it's good enough to live by. And I can tell you by faith, on the authority God's Word, it will be good enough to die by.

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