Because God is a just god, his morality requires that all sin receive its due punishment, which is death, the consequence resulting from separation from God (Romans 3:10-12,23, Romans 6:23). But not wanting anyone to die, God planned right from the beginning to provide the means of salvation for anyone who chooses to accept it.
So why would everyone not choose salvation? Because choosing salvation comes at a cost: letting go of one’s pride and denying oneself, admitting one’s sinful nature and inability to save oneself, and giving one’s life over to Jesus as Lord and savior with a desire to live in His presence for eternity. It requires that each individual recognize the depravity of the human heart and, out of love for God as creator and sustainer, humbly acknowledge Jesus as the one and only savior of mankind. Another way of putting it would be to admit that our way of living is wrong, and that we desire the life that God offers.
A true conversion would result in reciprocated love manifesting itself in the form of honor, glory, and worship of God, living our lives ultimately for Him, with increasing outward manifestation apparent through acts of love and service to others. For those who willingly choose this, the expected outcome is not a mundane life of servitude. For those who truly embrace this lifestyle and freely choose Christ, the resulting life will likely not be easy. But despite any outward struggles, the true believer will, in increasing measure, develop an underlying joy and peace beyond anything that this world can offer or explain (John 16:33).
There is not a checklist to follow. Belief is truly all that it is needed, but a true believer will be one who embraces Christ and the new life that He offers. One who truly believes will act on that belief. The things that this world can offer pale in comparison to the glory that is available for eternity to come. I like what John Piper says regarding true saving faith.
“So, this is true saving faith: seeing the promises of God from afar, and experiencing a change of values so that you desire and seek after and trust in the promises of God above what the world has to offer.1”
Apart from God’s saving grace, we have no hope. But God has extended to us a lifeline in the person of Jesus Christ. The choice is ours. We can either accept the death and resurrection of Jesus on the cross as the final and complete payment for our eternal debt, reconciling our relationship with God, and giving us the ability to spend eternity in His presence, or we can reject God’s offer of salvation and spend our lives eternally separated from God. Next time, we will look more closely at our eternal destination.
- John Piper, Solid Joys Devotional App-Saving Faith Isn’t Easily Satisfied, February 10, 2020.