July 13, 2021
…so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God… Colossians 1:10 NIV
One of the deeply disturbing fallacies in the Christian world is that salvation is seen as an event. People speak of “the day I got saved” and “when I prayed the sinner’s prayer” and testify to this great event that happened sometime in the past. As a pastor for more than 40 years, I have led memorial services for hundreds of people. A very common scenario is to be asked to officiate the service of a person I have not known. As I talk with the family I always ask, “What can you tell me about his relationship with Jesus?”
Most of the time the answer goes like this: “Oh, yeah. He was a Christian. He went to Sunday school as a kid, and I know he believed in Jesus.” They might even be able to recall a memory of a specific moment mentioned. Maybe they can tell of a night, years back, at a Billy Graham crusade. But further discussion of the deceased’s life shows there was a lot of water under the bridge from that moment when a prayer was said and the moment of death. Let’s not even debate whether or not the man made it to heaven. That’s not the point. The point is that salvation is much more than that. Yes, we accept Jesus Christ as Savior when we repent, but it’s not a business transaction that is simply “handled.” We are to receive Jesus, to actually bring Him into our daily lives, moment by moment walking with us. Salvation has a start, for sure, but the writers of Scripture refer to it as a walk, keeping step with the Spirit of God.
We are living far short of both our privilege and responsibility when we use Jesus as simply a ticket to heaven or a place to turn in trouble. Salvation is a journey that begins with repentance and faith in Jesus, but it doesn’t stop there. Jesus is not just an observer to our independent lives. He is to be central to all of life, in fact, the Source and energy to our lives. We receive Him, we welcome Him, we follow Him.
Jesus didn’t invite people to be saved or to be Christians, He always invited—and still invites—us to FOLLOW Him. This is the essence of receiving Jesus. It’s active, intentional, and daily. It is what Paul describes as “living a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing Him in every way.” It results in “bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God,” an intimate relationship. THAT is salvation. THAT is receiving Jesus. That is the way to greater wholeness.
- Lord, forgive me for ever treating Your invitation to follow You as less than a fulltime commitment for my whole life. Help me receive You deeply into every part of my life and live in the greater wholeness that is Your design for me.