BY GABBI ZEGERS
This piece is a part of a syndicated series in collaboration with Yale Logos for Lent 2021. Read more at: https://www.yalelogos.com/lent-2021.
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” James 2:14, 17-18, 20-23
For the Christian, declaring anything other than salvation by grace would merit a strange look. This is rightly so: the idea behind Christ’s death on our behalf is that we, on our own, could not possibly be righteous enough to avoid God’s wrath. We constantly find ourselves losing sight of who God is. But God cares enough about us to make His love for us known through offering His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. Because of Jesus, we have the freedom to be our true selves—to love God and love others as we were meant to do. We are given a home with God, a place of rest that lasts for eternity.
What does this mean for the everyday life of someone who believes in Christ?
Here we find the main difference between Christianity and other religions: instead of working to earn God’s favor, Christians work because they have already received God’s favor. Jesus did everything necessary for God to forgive us. God’s unmerited grace toward us also calls us to live out that faith while we are still on Earth. The way we live now should be a response to what God has granted us.
Before Jesus left Earth, He gave His disciples the “Great Commission,” which includes both a declaration of divine authority over the world and a charge to “make disciples of all nations” by “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19-20).
This means that we as Christians are called to help each other live out our faith within the family of believers and to bring others into this family. Just as the divine Christ came to Earth as a human, we are to go and look for those in need of a Savior, bringing them the good news of Jesus.
God does not ask us just to “hang on” until our entrance into heaven. Instead, He invites us to respond to the love Christ has shown us by serving others. Humanity’s greatest need is to experience Jesus’ saving work in their lives. We can play a part in this work by pointing others to Jesus, sharing His truths with our words and exemplifying His character in our lives. God does not want us to watch Him do His work like an audience member in a sports game. He wants us to come out of the bleachers and play the game.
As we move forward in this Lenten season, I hope this reflection challenges you to think about these questions:
- What God has done in your life, and how has He impacted you?
- How is God challenging to reflect this through serving others and telling others about Himself?