In the book of Romans, chapter 5:6-8 it says this, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
All religions of the world (except Christianity) are based on following some sort of rule or law to either earn salvation or to please God. The prevailing thought is; that if you are good you can get good things from God. If you are bad, you’d better watch out because you will get something bad. Even after many are saved and follow Jesus, they still operate under the rules and laws of a “do good get good or, do bad get bad” mentality. And if you operate under that thinking, it will lead to burn out, or even leaving Christianity because it’s just too hard to keep up with all the “doing this or that right.” This thinking forces you to focus on your behavior, and not on Jesus and all He has done to grant you eternal life.
As the verses in Romans state, Christ died for us “while we were sinners!” That means then, that no amount of good behavior, or lack of bad behavior, has anything at all to do with salvation. It also levels the field. We are all sinners in need of a salvation we can never earn. Christ died for us; paid the ultimate price for our sin and offers us full access to His Father; without us changing our ways first, or attempting not to sin etc. God knew no man could ever reach perfection in behavior. Keeping laws and rules does not make anyone holy or give him right standing with God. We were, like the verse says, helpless. We were unable to “do” anything to help ourselves. Salvation can only come through what Jesus did for us. He was the one who came to us because He saw our helplessness, and knew we could never be free of sin on our own.
Romans 5:10-11 states, “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”
If you are saved, it is only by His doing. You cannot do anything to earn your salvation. Our only part is to fully and completely trust in what another (Jesus) has already done for us. This is what receiving is. Notice in that verse that we received reconciliation. We did nothing to get it ourselves. God did the reconciling towards us! Oh that we would stop trying so hard to please God. God is already pleased with us because of what Christ did on our behalf. If you are saved that means you are “in” Christ and when God looks at you, He sees Jesus – His righteous and perfect Son who died in place of you. He is pleased with you!
If someone gives you a gift and you take the gift, put it on the table and never open it, it is never really yours in the sense that you are not enjoying what’s under the wrapping paper, and, if not opened, you don’t even know what it is! Remember, it is God who loved the world and sent His only Son. It wasn’t that God saw us trying really hard to please Him and therefore, He “should” grant us salvation and eternal life. If that was the case, then salvation would not be a gift.
Romans 5:17 adds more: “For if by the transgression of the one, (Adam) death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
This gift of being freed from sin and having unhindered access to the Father is something God desires us to fully enjoy. If salvation is a free gift, unearned and given to us when we were helpless and sinners, then it follows that everything else in life is a gift to be received. When we believe in what Jesus did for us, we receive His righteousness – something we did not deserve. This is the essence of grace. We’ll explore what receiving from God is in most all the other posts here. May you be fed, encouraged and at peace with all the love God has given to us in Christ Jesus.