I was thinking about the issue of salvation last night, and what is involved in the process. How do we explain the Gospel without involving works, at least works that are done by us to receive salvation? Or, how do we explain works when it involves God working in us and our response to that?
What are some things we have to let go of when we come to Christ? What if we didn't know those things were going to be gone, or on their way out, after we responded to the Gospel?
I have been listening to 'The Cross and the Switchblade' telling of David Wilkerson's adventures in NYC ministering to young men and women who were part of gangs. What he did was dangerous, but God's protection was there, and many of these gangsters came to Christ.
A couple of the presidents of these gangs came forward and wanted to receive Christ. They wanted change. They really hated what they were doing and gladly gave up their violence and hatred in order to receive Christ. They were truly born again and from that point on, they risked their lives because of the Gospel. Most of us have no idea what that is like, unless we live in a country that is hostile to the Gospel.
When a couple of the presidents of these gangs came to Christ one evening, you could tell that they really grasped the Gospel, but they didn't know anything else that would happen to them until they started growing in their faith. So, they received Bibles and as they left the building, each one lit up a cigarette and walked out. One of them even used a curse word telling David Wilkerson that he gave his life to God. They definitely were not saved long enough to realize all the many details of their sins, but, that would come in time!
All of us are like that though, in a sense. When we come to Christ, we know some things we will have to give up. Some things will have to be let go. Some things we are not aware of yet, but later on we will be.
After we come to Christ and become a new creature in Christ, the Bible says that old things go away and all becomes new. As we grow spiritually, we understand more truth, and the lies that we used to hold onto, we start letting them go. We will never become perfect in truth until we are in the next life though, but we can grow in the knowledge of the truth every day during our short stay on this earth.
This reminds me of a key. If you have ever had a key made, you know that the key has to be shaped exactly like the inside of the lock. Every key is different and has a different shape it will correspond to. When a key is being made, tiny pieces are chipped off. This process continues until the key fits the inside of the lock perfectly. When the key is finished, it fits the inside of the lock and can be used for it's intended purpose.
We are like that key. As we grow spiritually, little by little, we are being chipped away. Little lies fall off here and there. The pieces that get in the way get smaller and smaller until they fit exactly. The image we are going to be shaped in is Christ. He is the model key and we will be like Him. Jesus is the door and He is the key. We will be like keys opening up the door to eternal life so others can enter. We don't want to be crooked or rusted keys that cannot be used.
So, as you grow in your Christian life, just as the key is being shaped to fit the lock, you are being conformed to the image of Christ. Not always easy and fun, but there is no other way to compare with the greatness of what becomes of a person who is in Christ and is growing spiritually.
If you do not yet know Jesus Christ, and He is not your Savior, please go to: http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com for more information on your relationship with God.