By virtue of his sinless life, death, burial and resurrection, Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He bridged the gap that separates us from God because of our sin. And if you have placed your trust in him as your Savior, your sin is no longer a barrier between you and God. According to Romans 5:2, you have a standing in grace.
The Bible teaches that we have a “positive righteousness” before God, because the very righteousness of Jesus Christ has been credited to our spiritual account. In other words, God doesn’t deal with us on the basis of our performance or our merit, but rather on the basis of Jesus’ performance and merit. Your sins—all of them, whether committed in the past, the present, or the future—have been forgiven (Colossians 2:13-15). This means that, as a Christian, God’s blessing is never based upon your performance. That was true before you came to faith in Christ and it is true now. You need God’s grace every bit as much after you are saved, as you did before you were saved.
God’s standard is absolute perfection. Jesus once said, “You are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Even on our best day, we can’t meet that lofty standard. We are as dependent upon God’s grace for his blessings on our best spiritual day as we are on our worst spiritual day! As recipients of God’s incredible grace, we should make it our goal to please God in all that we do (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). By a spiritual process the Bible calls “sanctification,” God is constantly working to make us more like Christ in our thoughts, deeds, and motives. The further down that sanctification path we go, the more loving, honest, and patient we will become. And one day—when we see Jesus face-to- face—that process will be made complete.
But we are not there yet. The performance gap between what we know to be God’s will for us and how we actually live continues to exist. Church family, let’s stop “pretending” that we have it all together, when we know that we don’t. And let’s determine to cultivate an authentic, life-transforming, “performance gap-reducing” relationship with God. Over the next several weeks, using Romans chapter 12 as our guide, we are going to answer five critical questions that will help us live out an authentic relationship with God in the real world.
The first question is this: “What does God want most from me?” Romans chapter 12:1 gives us the answer. After spending 11 chapters talking about what God has done for us, Paul finally gets around to talking about what our response should be to that grace. He says… “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
What God wants most from those of us who call ourselves Christians is that we surrender our lives to him. God’s plan for us doesn’t revolve around keeping a bunch of rules or doing a bunch of religious activities. No, God wants to have a personal, life transforming relationship with us. His primary agenda is to make us more like his son so that we can enjoy and love him and others the way he loves us. But that kind of life is only available to those who are willing to submit themselves to Christ’s Lordship.
The surrendered life is not the burdened life…in fact, it is just the opposite. In surrendering to God, we bring him our burdens, and in exchange, he gives us His peace; not a peace without trials and challenges, but a supernatural peace in the midst of those challenges. The decision to surrender to Jesus’ Lordship says more about a person’s intelligence and wise decision-making skills than it does about their degree of spirituality. In light of the vast historical evidence pointing to the fact that Jesus is who he claimed to be, the very Son of God, any other decision seems to be just plain foolish.
Will it require a degree of personal sacrifice? Absolutely! But it is the wise thing to do. It’s not so much about self-denial, as it is about logic and common sense. It’s not so much about what you must give up, as it is about what you will gain. If you haven’t already, challenge yourself to “get wise” by wholly submitting to Christ’s Lordship. Get off the fence and stop holding back. It is the wisest decision you will ever make.
Application / Challenge
Make a life altering decision today; stop holding back. Get off the fence, and submit to Christ’s Lordship. It is the wisest decision you will ever make. The question is, “Are you ready to make that decision?” If not today, when? Do it now.