In the previous post, we observed that Jesus came for the purpose of saving us.
But that isn't the only reason Jesus came to earth. In this post, we consider the truth that Jesus came for the purpose of transforming us.
When GOD created us, He intended for us to be with Him—to share life with Him.
When sin entered the world, the relationship was broken.
Though each child that enters the world is innocent and free from sin (see Eze. 18; Matt. 18:3), as they grow up, they begin to make more choices for themselves.
At some point, we all choose to walk away from GOD—we choose to sin.
GOD created us in His image (see Gen. 1:26).
When we sin, we deface that image. We become unholy, guilty and condemned.
In the last article, we looked at the wonderful news that Jesus came to save us and forgive our sins.
But once we obey the gospel and receive forgiveness, GOD doesn't instantly take us home to heaven to be with Him.
GOD loves us immensely—more than we will ever fully understand—and He wants what is best for us.
You know, Jesus could have just come to the earth and instantly given His life for us, but He didn't.
Why did He walk around on this planet for 33 years?
There are numerous answers to that question, one of which is that Jesus wanted to show us how to live.
Regarding this, the apostle John wrote:
4 In [Jesus] was life, and the life was the light of men.5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
(John 1:4-5 NKJV)
GOD says that what is best for us is that we become like Jesus—that we develop His character. This is a long and pretty painful growth process for us. GOD disciplines, refines, and prunes us along the way.
It's a journey, and when we recognize that He is working on, in and through us individually, we can start to appreciate and enjoy the process, because we trust GOD's goodness and foresight to lead us where we need to end up.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Rom. 12:1-2 NIV)
Because GOD is holy, He has always, since the beginning of time, required that His children be holy as well.
GOD cannot associate with sin, because His holy character will not allow it (Hab. 1:13). Because we have sinned, we can't be holy by our own merits. We require Jesus' blood to make us holy again. But that has been GOD's plan from before the beginning.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
(Eph. 1:3-4 NIV)
Jesus washes, cleanses and purifies the church in order to make her holy.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
(Eph. 5:25-27 NIV)
It seems that there is a common misperception that, because Jesus died for us, the Christian cannot lose their salvation, regardless of their actions. This concept is not found in Scripture.
In fact, the opposite is true.
Paul told certain Galatians who were attempting to be justified by works that they had "fallen from grace" (Gal. 5:4).
Likewise, Paul wrote to the Roman Christians:
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
(Rom. 6:1-2 NIV)
The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that an attitude of willful sinning leaves a Christian in danger of judgment:
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
(Heb. 10:26-31 NIV)
The Bible says that the one who willfully engages in sin is an "enemy of God."
Ouch! That's a scary position to be in.
The person who looks at GOD's grace as a license to sin either does not know GOD or does not love Him, neither of which are acceptable to Him.
When we sin, it hurts GOD immensely. It's as if we were crucifying Jesus all over again (see Heb. 6:4-6).
No my friend, the one who thinks they can be a Christian and still live like the world is a fool. Instead, let us remember the words of the apostle Peter:
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Pet. 1:13-16 NIV)
Allow Jesus to transform you, day by day, into His image.
As Paul said:
15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Cor. 4:15-18 NIV)
Live holy. Be blessed!