I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life. John 5:24 HCSB
I’ve been a Christian since I was 8 years old. That’s a mighty long time, and you’d think I’d have this Christian-living thing down pat by now. Decades of practice should have already made me perfect.
Except that it hasn’t. Daily, I make mistakes. I sometimes act selfishly. Just last week, I messed up big time and hurt people I love. Let’s just call it what it was – sin. If anyone deserves judgment, if anyone has her punishment “coming to her,” it’s me.
And yet, what I got was grace – undeserved favor. God forgave me. My family forgave me. All is restored and well, and I am a wiser woman because of the ordeal. Last week, I felt the weight of the yuckiness upon me. This week, I am praising God for the fresh breath of life He’s given.
How can this be? How can I deserve one thing and receive another? Because John 5:24 is active in my life. I have heard Jesus’ words, and I believe them. I believe God sent Jesus to earth to become my sacrifice, to take my punishment for me. He died – so I don’t have to.
I will not come under judgment, now or later. While I walk on this planet, I am forgiven and free. When I step off of it, I will still be forgiven and free. I have life here. I’ll have life there. Eternally.
But this grace didn’t come cheaply. Christ gave his very life to win it for me. So, I’m not saying a person can just live however she wants to live, sin as much as she desires, and in the end it’s all ok. No. Becoming a Christian means giving your life to Christ, making him Lord and boss. There is a difference between living your life in willful rebellion and in living it while striving to please Him but tripping over your own humanness every now and then. I’m in the latter category.
I have passed from death to life. My sins are paid for. Christ was judged in my place.
I am free to live.