By nature, the word salvation implies that we are saved from something.
The Gospel isn’t a self-improvement program. It is a liberation movement.
And liberation is only needed if I am a slave.
The truth is that all of humanity is enslaved to sin. The word sin means to “miss the mark”; we are by nature law-breakers and fail to meet God’s perfect moral standard.
“For all have sinned…everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin…for whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (Rom 3:23, John 8:34, 2 Pet 2:19).
Life is unpredictable. In the span of three decades, I’ve already lost more than I care to lose: family, friends, a job, dreams and health.
When you’ve experienced recurring loss and grief, it can create a cycle of anxiety and fear over what else you could lose.
Salvation, for one.
Many times I have been gripped by the panic that I could lose my relationship with God. Or that Jesus will forget me when death darkens my door. Could I do something to jeopardize my eternity? Will my faith be enough?
I know Jesus has forgiven me. But too often I live like this forgiveness isn’t full or free. I allow my past to define me. When I fail, I fear God will be mad at me. And though I don’t admit it, I’m still trying to prove my worth so that God will accept and approve of me.
But the resurrection proves I am forgiven.
The resurrection proved that Jesus died, not for his own sins, but ours alone. “For death has rightful claim only over sinners” but death had no hold over Jesus (Acts 2:24). The resurrection proved that Jesus had the authority to forgive sins and showed that God not only accepted Jesus’ sacrifice and payment for sin, but He declared Jesus innocent by raising him from the dead.
For many of us, the changing season ushers in a renewed sense of thanksgiving. But what happens when your season of change is marked by pain? When you don’t feel very grateful?
As we approached Thanksgiving, I felt anything but thankful. A serious illness had darkened my door, filling me with disappointment and heartache over what was being lost: hopes, dreams, expectations on how life would be. Yet it was in this difficult season I learned two important lessons about gratitude, discovering that hardship, not happiness, is the forerunner of joy.
Is your season of thanksgiving overshadowed by pain? Are you looking for a way to harvest more joy in your life? Join me on (in)courage to read more and discover how you can find joy in the midst of your hardship!
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