As we are presented with the Gospel, each of us is faced with the fact that we have a choice to make. We either continue resisting God, refusing the gift of full pardon for our crimes and eternal life by insisting on being our own gods and choosing to live in our fantasy worlds; or, we can choose to humble ourselves, admit that we can’t save ourselves, and accept God’s gift of redemption – we stop trying to be god, and surrender our throne to the one who really is God.
Our response will have implications. If we refuse God, we will get what we asked for – separation from God. This may be presently preferred, as we can do whatever we want without having to follow someone else’s rules – but one day we will have to answer to a Holy God for the choice we made, whether we our faith and trust in Him or not. If we reject God in our life, we will spend eternity in Hell in our death, forever separated.
However, if we believe that Jesus came, lived, died, and resurrected to redeem us to Himself; if we confess that only Jesus can justify us before a perfectly righteous God; if we choose to turn away from our own self-salvation projects, knowing they are hopeless, and instead choose to surrender ourselves to a Holy but Loving God; if we step off the throne of our hearts and resign that throne to Jesus, desiring that He be the master of our lives; then, we will be redeemed, becoming children of God. Just as nothing we do can earn merit or favor from God, nothing we do will ever be able to separate us from God, and, when we die, we will be with Him forever (Romans 8:38-39).
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We all have a choice.
This was mine:
Growing up in a Christian home, I have always known about God, our sin, His love, and Christ’s sacrifice. Knowing about God, however, didn’t mean that I knew Him personally. I lived fooling myself into thinking that I could have both: I could be a “Christian”, but still be in control and obtain an earthly sense of security. However, the truth is that I was choosing to refuse God and to know Him intimately. I was more desirous for a sense of security in my life than to give my life fully into God’s hands – a place where I cannot control it.
As I graduated high school and began living “adult life”, this became more apparent. I found myself grasping tighter at anything that would give me any sense of security. The desire to feel in control of the situations around me was overwhelming, and when I wasn’t in control, anxiety and depression kicked in. As more and more disappointments came into my life – relationships, friendships, work, health – I became more and more angry and bitter at God. I had no joy. I would not – could not – be content.
At the same time, I desired to live in a way that pleased God. I wanted to prove myself worthy of the love and forgiveness God had provided to me, and so I strove to live a life were I attempted to earn the right to be God’s child. In my blindness and depravity, my attempt to please God was really my desire to glorify myself.
All my struggles to please God by my own efforts proved fruitless. I was frustrated at my inability to change myself into the person I should be, and in my discontentment and frustration I began considering suicide as a option. I was so sick of life. Life was not what I wanted, and I couldn’t change it. Though I struggled with the thought of suicide over a period of years, it wasn’t until late October 2016 that I decided on an end date for my life. I no longer cared, and I was done.
But God was not.
Two days before that date, God opened my eyes fully to the truth of my self-deception. My assurance of salvation had been grounded on my knowledge of God and my conviction of sin. Though these are fruits we should be looking for in those professing Christ, they alone do not make one a Christian; instead, in my case they prevented me from seeing myself for who I truly was. Knowing about God and being convicted of your sin doesn’t mean you are a Christian – these attributes are often characteristic of those having grown in a Christian atmosphere. What makes me a Christian is all of God: He chose to love and adopt me in spite of who I was, with all my imperfections and messiness and unfaithfulness to Him. I could never earn God’s love or my worth because they were not granted to me out of anything I had done, but solely on what God did.
I now realized I had a choice. I could continue to live the hopeless cycle of trying to be the ruler of my own broken kingdom and pointlessly attempt to please God with my self-salvation projects (“my dirty rags”); or, I could act on the truth that I was not worthy of God’s love, but that God in His grace had chosen to show me mercy. I had to step off the Throne of my Heart that I had spent my life desperately clinging to and run to God, clinging to Him and begging that He would be Sovereign Lord in my life and redeem me.
What is breathtakingly beautiful is that, He did.
That night, as I stopped trying to justify myself by my own merits, turned away from all attempts of self-righteousness, and in broken humility accepted the precious gift given freely to me at the great cost of my Saviour – that night, God changed me. My security and salvation is no longer based on who I am or what I do, but grounded on who God is and what He has done for me.
In His indescribable mercy and grace, God has redeemed me from a state of overwhelming hopelessness into a state of overwhelming joy.
I will never be able to express the depth of my gratitude to God for His fathomless love for me.