Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:4 -9
God’s creation walked away and rebelled against Him. It is through Christ’s blood and the grace of God that we are saved from the consequence of our rebellion and inherent sin nature.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8, 9
Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus.
As a lawyer, I “get” the debt of sin we accrue. Christ explained to a young lawyer that the foundation of the law could be summed up in two maxims: love God with all that you are and love others as you would love yourself. In law, those two maxims are referred to as “affirmative duties.” They create an obligation to do something. Whenever you fail to perform your obligation you break the law. Accordingly, every time we fail to love God with all that we are or love others (to include our enemies) as much as we love ourselves, we sin. That means our sins are constantly accruing. During our “best” moments when we’re loving selflessly and/or praising God with a pure heart and righteous behavior, we’re simply not sinning.
I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. John 6:47
It’s not about us. We had nothing to do with our creation. Our present life was an unearned gift. We didn’t choose or earn the right to live. We didn’t select this time, this place, or these bodies. Life was a gift, which we cherish.
Eternal life is also a gift from God. Our original sin was turning away from God and looking to our own ways, our own wisdom. The world’s false religions teach us how we can or should warrant God’s approval. That is the first principle of sin and Satan’s lie – look to ourselves first. The way that seems “right” by our own reckoning is the path of destruction, for we are creatures of wrath warranting destruction from the eternal and perfect Creator.
Creation and salvation are about what God has already done through Jesus Christ.
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!‘ Mt. 7:21-23
Testimonies on the day of judgment about how well we lived and what we did for Christ will be a denial of God’s grace. Such testimony will reveal a soul still self-focused and oblivious to the mountain of sin in our lives. On the day of judgment, those who rely upon themselves and what they did will be cast away as evildoers.
Jesus said, “only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” God’s will is for us to place our faith in him, in Christ, and not in ourselves. We are to look to our Lord. Even in the Old Testament, the story is told over and over again. God called his people to look to and rely upon Him. Repeatedly, the people of Israel looked to their own ways, which repeatedly led to their misery and destruction.
Our salvation is to God’s glory only. It’s all about Jesus. It’s not about us. Salvation is entirely through the holy blood of Christ, it is not about our sweat. And the fantastic thing is, there is great, perfect and lasting pleasure in enjoying and praising God’s grace and perfection. People praise because we were designed for it and it feels great. Indeed it does. Praise Christ, our Savior.