Do you ever think about all the things you take for granted? I have to admit, I wish I thought about it more myself. It is so easy to complain about our lives. It is so easy to look at all the things we do not have or look at the bad things in our lives. But what about the good? There is something about our human (sinful) nature that likes to focus only on the negatives. Rarely do people like to talk about good news and rarely do we like to focus on the good things in our life; the blessings we have (material and immaterial), the good people around us, and most importantly God. In fact there is one thing in life that is available to all of us, that if we had only this one thing we should never complain again. It doesn’t matter where we live, how much money we make, what kind of house we live in, how safe we are, or how healthy we are, but if we possessed this one thing we should always be joyful and thankful. What is this one thing you may ask? It is salvation, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is the fact that through the Cross of Christ our sins have been forgiven and we have been given the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Now you may say, I know many Christians that are not happy and joyful, and you may even be one of them! Again, I have to confess that I myself fail often in this area. I have lived my entire life hearing the message that God loves me. I have been raised in a culture that told me I am a good person and that my sins are forgiven even if I do “sin.” I have believed my entire life that Jesus died for me so that I can go to heaven when I die, yet at the same time I thought that since I am a good person I deserved heaven anyway! Maybe the reason we so often take salvation for granted is this very issue. We often think that we deserve God’s forgiveness. We think that heaven will be missing something if we are not there, we think God owes us something in this life and that if He did not save us then He would be unjust! Why wouldn’t God save me? I am a good person! The problem with this of course is that it is not true. After some years of really studying the Bible, praying, and listening to good preaching, God has opened my eyes to see how false this mentality truly is.
Because I was so used to thinking I am a good person and looking at myself and my life, the more I realized the reality of my sin the more horrified I was. I often would think, “I have been a Christian for years and I still struggle with this sin.” I was so confused to the point I doubted whether I was really saved or not. Everywhere I turned in the Bible I was condemned. Often we want to believe God’s law no longer applies to us, but I can assure you the fact that we still have guilty consciences proves otherwise. We try to escape the law by saying, Jesus abolished the law, now all we have to do is “love God and love our neighbor.” This is also true; but ask yourself, “Do I really love God more than anything else all the time?” I have never met anybody that can claim this is true of their life in honesty.
This is where the greatness of the Gospel comes in my friend. This is why salvation is so great! It is impossible for anybody to save themselves. Look at Adam and Eve for example. Even before sin entered the world they still could not resist it! How much harder is it for us to resist sin our entire lives when we were conceived in it, when sin dwells within us? Even after we are born again through the Spirit of God and we are saved and justified, we still cannot fully escape sin in this life. And with only one sin committed we all deserve damnation, God is just and must punish sin. This is why the Gospel is so great, it is utterly amazing because God gives us something we do not deserve. This is why we should always be grateful! This is why we should always be joyful! No matter the circumstance if God has saved you from your sin and justified you, you always have a reason to be joyful.
“God thank you so much for your salvation. Thank you that even though I do not deserve it, you made a way through the Cross of Christ to be saved. Help me not to take your salvation for granted. Help me to love you more and to have more joy in my life, because you have saved me. Convict me when I am not being joyful God. Show me when I am taking your grace for granted. Help me live a life more dedicated to you. In Jesus name, Amen.”