Who We Are as Christians (cont'd)
First we have to deny ourselves. We have to admit that nothing we can do will solve the deadly problem of sin. We can't be good enough to get on God's good side. Most people think that if they do enough good things to counter balance the bad things, they'll get in good with God and get to heaven. That's really just human pride, and it actually leads us farther away from God. Paul insists, "It is by grace that we are saved, through faith. It is not because of our good works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8). May I emphasize this again--being a "basically good person" is simply not good enough. Our sin will still sink us before a holy and perfect God. We need a Savior! And that's what grace is all about. It's not about what I can do for God. It's all about what God has done for me in Christ. I have to admit my sin and my need for a Savior. This is not easy for many to do, but there is no getting around it.
Second, we have to take up the cross. We have to gratefully acknowledge that the love sacrifice Jesus made for humanity is the only way out of our deadly mess. "Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6). All religions are NOT heading in the same direction. All religions long for the same thing, but the only rescue provision God has given a lost humanity is His Son, Jesus. This is not easy for many to acknowledge.
Third, we have to follow Jesus. While on earth, Jesus presented people with an arresting decision. Christianity is not a religion as much as it is a relationship. To be a Christian means we humbly enter into a life-giving, heaven-bound friendship with the Creator of the Universe. We walk with Him through life. We put Him in the driver's seat of our life. We go where He goes. His agenda and priorities become ours. We reconnect with what we're originally created to be--God's co-workers in expanding His Kingdom of order, harmony and peace. What an awesome prospect, don't you think?