How would you respond if someone came up to you and asked, “Why are you a Christian?” You may recall your sin and the need for a savior, or maybe you would tell them how you grew up going to church. You may share when you were at the lowest point in life and how Jesus was there to love you.
All good answers, and yet, I think the Apostle Paul gives an answer to this question we need to explore.
Consider Romans 8, a familiar passage. We’ll often use these verses to remind us that God is still at work, even when life doesn’t make sense. Verse 28,
We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.
We often don’t keep on reading and miss the work God is doing.
26 In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. 27 The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will. 28 We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 We know this because God knew them in advance, and he decided in advance that they would be conformed to the image of his Son. That way his Son would be the first of many brothers and sisters. 30 Those who God decided in advance would be conformed to his Son, he also called. Those whom he called, he also made righteous. Those whom he made righteous, he also glorified.
Do you hear what God is doing? For those who believe and accept the work of Jesus Christ in their life, God is at work in them, transforming them, glorifying and making them righteous!
This is something that needs to be repeated over and over again. Many of us grew up in the church and we heard how we need to say a prayer to ask God to forgive us. It’s often referred to as the sinner's prayer and may go something like this,
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.
Now if someone asks you, “Are you saved?” You can answer, “Yes!” If someone asks you, “Will you go to heaven when you die?” Again, you can answer, “Yes!”
Unfortunately, what has happened is that we have reduced Christianity down to getting into heaven when we die. We have taken parts of Christianity and made them everything, while at the same time forgetting the powerful transformation that takes place.
As a Christian, you are made new and transformed by the work of Jesus Christ to be His image in the world!
PS - This can be a lot to think about. You can read more about this in a book we put together called, Forget Heaven, Live God’s Love Now. Simply click here to order your copy today.