- What an incredible contrast it is between life without Christ and life with Christ (in Christ)!
Life without Christ:We were alienated from God. We were enemies of God. We were strangers to holiness. Sin corrupted our way of thinking and living. Without Christ in our lives, our natural inclination was to be hostile to God's standards. "They exchange the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--Who is forever praised. Amen....They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy." (Romans 1:25, 29-31) We were ignorant of the Truth and were immoral. Our behavior was evil. We insisted in our own self-centered ways. We were indeed lost and blind in darkness.
Life in Christ:We are holy in God's sight without blemish and free from accusation. Because of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf, we've been declared innocent (no longer guilty and condemned). Christ's righteousness is imputed to us; we've been washed and made whiter than snow. "For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God." (Romans 5:10-11 NLT) In Christ, we're saved and secure, forgiven and free. Our relationship with God has been reconciled by Christ's death. We become children of God and friends of God.
- There are two states we can be in: friends of God or enemies of God. What makes the difference? The difference is made by whether we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior or we have rejected His irresistible offer of reconciliation, friendship, and intimacy.
- To live eternally with Christ, we must depend totally on God's grace. We're incapable of saving ourselves. No amount of good deeds will impress God. Apart from Christ, there's no way for our sin to be forgiven or removed.
- Paul explained that Jesus' physical body actually died. He suffered physical death as a human being; He truly died in our place. Jesus was fully God and fully man. His sacrifice was complete and satisfactory for removing all our sin. From God's perspective, it is as though we had never sinned. What an immense relief!
- Some people seem to struggle with an identity issue because they allow the lies of this world to define who they are, instead of finding their identity in Christ, defined by God's indisputable truth. I would like to invite you all to come to Immanuel (God with Us) and cling to Him alone. Without Christ, life is hopeless, joyless, and meaningless! With Christ and in Christ, we have an eternal, abundant, peace-filled, joy-filled, and meaningful life! What an incredible contrast!
- Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the eternal life that is now mine because of Your divine intervention in my life! Please help me live intentionally for You and conform me to the image of Jesus. May my attitudes, words, and actions be increasingly honoring to You. I desire to make an eternal impact in this world and to introduce everyone I meet to my favorite Person and Best Friend, Jesus. Please give me boldness, wisdom, strength, and opportunities to do so. In Christ's Name I pray. Amen.