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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When Love Truly Wins

God saved us for a purpose. He didn't save us just to go to heaven.

The Gospel is called the "good news." It is often said to be good news because God sent His Son to die a substitutionary death for our sins. Jesus paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our relationship with God has been healed. We can be in His presence because we have had our sins forgiven. Our sins kept us from God. We could not know spiritual things because we had no spirit to understand them. Our spirits were made alive because sin was removed. Our spirits could communicate with the Holy Spirit who is God.

Yes, this is good news.

Would this be good news if everyone was going to heaven anyway? What if it didn't matter whether or not you believed in Jesus? You would go to heaven without any belief at all. What if didn't matter if you could communicate with God? What if you never had the change in your life that comes from faith in Christ? Would that be good news too?

I don't think so. There would be no gospel because God has left us just as we are. Who loves somebody yet is quite alright with their present condition of depravity? Who loves somebody but doesn't try to keep the loved one from hurting himself? Is is really love if this gift of salvation is ineffective until you die?

God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. He sent His Son so that we might be changed by faith. He gave us the faith necessary to believe. He also gave us works to do so that we would be changed. He gave us a purpose on this earth. That purpose is not merely waiting on our salvation from death. It is unique to each person so that he or she will conform to the image of God's Son.

Love truly wins when people walk in God's presence by doing the good works He has prepared for us before the beginning of time. Love truly wins when we are transformed by God's changing of our minds so that we can know these good works. These good works are God's will which we prove by walking in them and thus becoming like Jesus.

I wish everyone would trust in Christ. I wish I would see everyone in heaven. But there would be no love and no good news in a world in which everyone goes to heaven even if they never believed in Christ. God would be so ambivalent about us that we would be hard pressed to understand His love.

No one trusts in Christ because Jesus gave us an example of sacrifice on the cross. Each one of us trusts in Christ because we believe He is Someone who ends our estranged relationship with God. It is not salvation if we have to wait for it until death. Salvation saves us from being separated from God today.

Love truly wins when we are so changed that we cannot explain our change apart from God's love.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

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