There is something that needs to be made perfectly clear about the power of the Gospel. Every Christian is eternally safe in his or her standing in Christ.
- Not because of good works
- Not because of trying harder and doing more
- Not because of personal merit
- Not because of self-righteousness
- Not because of the consistent practice of the spiritual disciplines
Because Jesus lived the perfect life and went to the cross to pay the penalty for sin, He has secured for all eternity the relationship between the Christian and God.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
But inasmuch as we are safe in our standing before God, unable to be separated from the love of God in Christ, we frequently don’t feel very safe as we go sledding down the icy hills of life. There is a war that rages inside us, and we feel the stress of that combat.
The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:17)
Sin no longer reigns over us, but it most certainly remains in us! In the heart of every believer there is a never-ending battle between the old nature and the new nature. Charles Spurgeon explained:
The old nature is very active, and loses no opportunity of plying all the weapons of its deadly armory against newborn graces. The enemy is so securely entrenched within us that he can never be driven out while we are in this body: but although we are closely beset, and often in sore conflict, we have an Almighty helper, even Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, who is ever with us, and who assures us that we shall eventually come off more than conquerors through Him.
I once heard an older saint say with wry frustration, “If Satan is bound [Revelation 20:2], he’s bound to my right leg!” Do not think it peculiar that you battle morning, noon, and night with the evil forces of darkness. It is a fact of life that every child of God faces. But we do not battle alone!
“I will not leave you as orphans,” Jesus promised; “I will come to you” (John 14:18). Omnipotence is with us, and He will strengthen us in our weakness . . . in all our weakness, in our thoughts, words, deeds, and desires. And knowing that we are eternally secure in our standing we can find strength enough to keep fighting the battle, regardless of the cost or circumstance.
“Let not your hearts be troubled,” our Savior said, “neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT…AMEN!