The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of The Georgia Virtue.
By: Dr. William F. Holland Jr., minister, chaplain, and author of the column series ‘Living on Purpose’. You can read more about the Christian life and see other works by Dr. Holland at billyhollandministries.com.
I notice when talking with certain people about Christian living, it’s common for them to lose eye contact as they start searching for a way to change the subject. Actually, this is perfectly understandable. Why? Because if someone, even if they are somewhat religious has never given their heart to Jesus Christ or made the commitment to follow him, they feel uncomfortable thinking and talking about it. Our natural mind and the Spirit of the Lord are like oil and water as the old nature wants nothing to do with being held accountable or surrendering our will to anyone, especially to God. Conviction from the Holy Spirit is a sense of guilt and remorse that graciously reminds us we are heading down the wrong path and awakens our need for God and His forgiveness. God’s word is the truth that can set us free and is the means which he has chosen for gathering the lost to himself.
The average non-Christian does not mind listening to a Bible story, and might even enjoy a cute Christmas play where the children dress up and re-enact the account of when baby Jesus was born but when the subject turns to abandoning and yielding our will to the righteous judge, this is when they head for the door. We know there is quite a bit of religious activity around because churches are everywhere, but our personal relationship with Jesus is what life is really about. It’s good to attend church, but sitting in a church service does not necessarily mean someone is committed to Christ. We do not like to admit this but it’s much easier to custom design our association with God instead of surrendering our control and allowing his truth to change us into his image. Humans are experts with deception and denial which explains why most people live in a world that is affiliated with a form of religion without the responsibility of doing what God says. Matthew 15:8 puts it this way, “These people draw near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”
The plan of salvation is for Jesus to rescue us from a depraved and hopeless existence. Every human is born lost in their sin because when Adam and Eve disobeyed in the garden mankind became spiritually separated from God. There was only one way that anyone could be saved from spending a miserable life on earth and most importantly suffering forever in the next life and that was to be redeemed and ransomed. The only payment that has the power and authority to save and deliver us was the innocent blood of a perfect lamb. This sacrifice was Jesus Christ – The holy lamb of God. We can now rejoice and understand why the gospel is called the good news. It’s the greatest love story of all time that describes how Jesus willingly embraced the cross, was crucified, tortured, suffered, died, and rose from the dead. His infinite love for you and I provide the invitation for us to accept his amazing grace so that we can be born again and live with him forever. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16. As we call upon him to save us, he changes our lost spiritual condition into a brand new creation so we can become a member of His family and be with him forever. If you confess you are lost and believe that Christ died and rose again for you, ask him to forgive you and he will save you.
Godly sorrow and repentance are major pillars of our redemption that allow us to be adopted as God’s child. So how can we be redeemed? All we have to offer Him is our heart which is exactly all he has ever wanted. This is the deepest part of our free will that makes every decision right or wrong and the very place we have been called to give Him total control. Call upon Christ today and receive his grace by faith. When our old spirit is replaced by our new spirit, we make a covenant vow to God and pledge to serve and follow him in everything we think and do. This means we are no longer living according to our desires but instead we are agreeing for Jesus to be our personal Lord and Savior.