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This daily devotional represents the most impactful spiritual lessons I have learned in my lifetime, most of which came recently as truths I knew in my mind finally penetrated my heart, opening my eyes, and setting me free. It reveals the reasons for my unquenchable joy and the peace I had been seeking. You will be challenged to exchange “Comfortable Christianity” for the real thing that will rock your world.

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1050. Salvation God’s Way Part 2

Biblical Salvation or Salvation Lite?


When Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished” just before He died, He meant more than we realize. He had procured our justification (declared not guilty) but with it came every blessing we could ever desire (Eph. 1:3). When we received Christ, we received everything we would ever need. It’s ours right now. We don’t need to ask God to bless us. He already has, more than we realize. Yet, most Christians act as though their old self, the person they used to be, is still alive and well, needing all the help it can get. In fact, they act as though God were holding back on them when He has given them everything.

Salvation, therefore, is a matter of believing the truth and allowing that truth to set us free. Christ has already set us free, but we have refused to believe it, so we hang on to the things that used to drag us down. We pray for deliverance when Christ has already delivered us. We pray for strength when Jesus has already given us His strength. We ask for power when Christ has already given us the same power that raised Him from the dead. We simply refuse to believe it. This is why so many people are turned off by what they see masquerading as new life. It’s nothing more than the old life with Jesus added to make them look better.

This sounds harsh, but it’s true. The Bible says, “If any man is in Christ he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Cor. 5:17). Most Christians act as though this new creation is some indescribable new form of who they were—a form that needs Jesus’ help to become mature and complete through Bible reading, prayer, and acts of service. God, however, says that at the moment we are born again, our old self has been replaced by the life of Christ who is holy, righteous, and complete. God gives us everything in an instant. The new “us” is Jesus’ life in our bodies, utilizing our unique personalities to reveal Himself to those around us. Do you see it? There’s nothing in us to be fixed or improved. Spiritual maturity isn’t a matter of adding something to make us better Christians. All that we desire is already within us. It’s a matter of removing every remnant of our old self that still clings to us—remnants like the lie that we didn’t really die with Christ or the old habits of self-sufficiency or distrust that refuse to go without a fight.

There’s still another element of “receiving Jesus” that we must embrace. The Bible says, “He made Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). God’s plan of salvation was the most wonderful trade in all of history. We traded our sin for the righteousness of God! Not our own righteousness on spiritual steroids, but God’s very own righteousness. He knew we were incapable of living righteously so He gave us His own righteousness in the person of Jesus. He pursued us, saved us, gave us His righteousness as well as every blessing we would ever need. All He asks of us is that we believe.

That covers the receiving part. So far it seems too good to be true, but it’s all true. Now for the tough part. We have a difficult decision to make.  Are we content simply to call ourselves Christians, or are we serious about following Christ? The two are light-years apart. Becoming a Christian, according to the most widely accepted standards, is easy. Believe in Jesus, who He is and what He did, and the gospel message, usually acknowledging your decision in a prayer, and you’re in.

Following Jesus is another matter. It requires absolute and complete surrender to Him. We must deny ourselves and take up our cross (Mt. 16:24). This means we give up all rights to ourselves, which is possible only if we agree that we died with Christ. Dead people have no rights. Following Jesus means going wherever He leads us, regardless of the cost. Our plans are meaningless. Our personal desires are inconsequential. We belong to Jesus. We are His.


Does this describe most Christians you know? Does this describe you? Jesus made His requirements for following Him crystal clear, but we act as though He really doesn’t expect us to go that far. Surely, He can’t expect us to be willing to give up the things we’ve worked so hard for. Surely, He can’t expect us to adjust our entire life around Him. That’s just not practical. He just wouldn’t do that…would He? We acknowledge that Jesus bought us at the cost of His life, but deep down, in our flawed theology, we assure ourselves that this is just theological hyperbole. He can’t possibly mean that He owns us…can He? And on and on we go with our excuses for bringing Jesus into our worlds when it’s convenient instead of molding our lives around Him.

Back to our dilemma. Do we simply want to be called a Christian or are we serious about following Jesus? It’s easy to make the case that what I have described takes a long time. It’s all about making Jesus Lord. Accepting Him as our Savior is easy. Accepting Him as our Lord takes time, sometimes a lifetime. My point is this: how many “mature” Christians do you know who have denied themselves, taken up their cross, given up all rights to themselves, and have unselfishly followed Jesus? Probably not many. Why? Because we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re fine and Jesus is happy with things just the way they are.

Are you investigating Christianity? Are you looking for something that “suits your needs” or are you willing to submit to the One who valued you enough to die for you so that you could leave the old behind, embrace the new (Christ Himself in you), and become one with the God of the universe (John 17:22)? The former is easy and won’t require any modifications to your life. The latter will be difficult. It will require hard work and sacrifice. You will become Jesus’ bond-slave. One allows you to stay where you are. The other will take you into a world beyond anything you’ve ever dreamed. The choice is yours. Choose wisely.



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