Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Am I really in?"

This is my first of a series of posts that I want to write.  First off I want to be honest that what I'm going to write about is something I've struggled with all my life, before I was a Christian as well as post-conversion.  I'll also be honest that I've struggled with this very recently, and it has been a MAJOR struggle in my life.

My guess is many of you have asked the same question that I've found myself asking: Am I really a Christian?  Am I really going to heaven after I die?

First, let me answer that through the lens of scripture.  Romans 3:23 says that "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  We all have fallen short of the glory of God, and heaven is ultimately a place with eternal communion with God.  If we have fallen short due to our sin (which all of us have), then we don't deserve to enter the presence of a holy, all powerful God.  BUT, Paul continues in the letter to the Romans, saying this in vs. 24-25: "and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith..."  In other words, we can have salvation, redemption, and enter into God's presence if we put our faith in Jesus Christ, and His death and resurrection.  Jesus took the penalty for our sin, we receive Jesus' righteousness.  (A fancy term for this is substitutionary atonement).

Let's stop there.  Do you have a relationship with Jesus?  If not, my plea is that you ask Jesus to forgive you of your sin, and to place your faith in Him as your Lord and Savior.

If you do have a relationship with Jesus, maybe you're like me and you're tempted to feel like you're not "in."  Maybe you see what I wrote above about Jesus, and you're asking yourself "I remember when I placed my faith in Jesus, but I don't feel the same way about Him as I used to."

"I don't have the same passion I once did," maybe you say.

"I was doing so well in this one area of my life... now it feels like all I do is fail or struggle!"

"Man, I'm not even in the same league as 'Joe Superchristian,' I've never converted anyone to Christ."
Ever felt that way?  Do you play the comparison game?  Or do you interpret life through your emotions?  Or do you judge your salvation based on how you do regarding your porn problem, alcohol rehab, pride issues, time in God's Word, missing evangelism opportunities, etc?

Romans 5:8 says this: "but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

In other words, whatever sin issue that plagues you, whatever standard that you don't measure up to, whatever passion you don't have for Him, Jesus still chose to come to this world and die for you.  If you're in Christ, you can't keep yourself out of the Kingdom.  Even if you continue to struggle, even if it means that God brings you into heaven kicking and screaming.  You don't determine whether you're in heaven, God does.  And His only requirement is to bank everything on Jesus, because you know that you're unqualified in every other way. 

In His Grace,
Zack

PS:  Look out for part 2, as I share more about the practicals of how I've been fighting this lie.