freephotoIt is human nature to take for granted the things we cherish. Whether it is that new car, a brand new big screen television, or our latest technology gadget, the excitement of that new possession grows faint as we become familiar with it.

Sadly it is even the same in our personal relationships. The joy of marrying that wonderful spouse begins to fade as daily circumstances and familiarity begin to settle in. Those quirky things your spouse does that used to be cute, now turn into irritations. And the day our children are born is a day of joy and celebration—but we tend to forget that joy as the challenges of the teenage years settle in.

The day we were born we came into this world as self-centered, selfish sinners. The Bible tells us every desire of the human heart is wicked and perverse. We are sinners through and through, deserving of eternal punishment and nothing but misery, separated from the God who breathed life into us.

That is simply the natural state of fallen, sinful man. Deep down we are only really concerned with our own happiness and we will use people and things around us to get what we want. But God loved the world so much that he sent His only begotten Son—Jesus Christ, God in the flesh—to offer us a way out of damnation and into eternal joy in His presence.

God who created all things, looked down on sinful and hopelessly lost man with mercy, sending Jesus, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath for sin, that we who believe and trust in Him as Lord and Savior might be free from the power of sin and have eternal life with Him. As born again believers we then receive the Holy Spirit to teach, correct, encourage and rebuke us, teaching us to deny sin and seek holiness.

But there is a problem brewing in this perfect formula—we are not holding up our side of the arrangement. The Bible clearly states that salvation is a free gift from God and there is nothing we can do to earn that gift. However, in our perverse sinful nature, we have managed to twist that to our advantage as we seek to continue to love things of this world.

“Nothing I can do to earn salvation”—a correct statement—has been twisted to “Nothing I have to do because I am saved”—an attitude we seem to live by every day. But the Bible clearly states there are things a true born again believer must be doing to prove the faith we claim to have that saves us. We are to love God above every other person or thing; we are to obey all Jesus commanded us; we are to pursue holy living; and we are to bear bountiful fruits of the Holy Spirit through our love and deeds. But that is just often too much to ask of us, isn’t it?

The truth is a growing number of Christians looks at salvation as the end of the race, when in reality it is just the beginning. We think we’ve arrived because we’ve been saved, and that we can just go on living as we prefer, instead of living how God commands us.

Look, none of us will walk in perfect obedience to God until we are with Him in heaven free from the presence of temptation and sin. But are we even trying to deny sin in this lifetime? Is our love of God a consuming fire that drives us to pursue holiness? Or has it become nothing more than lip service?

Salvation is a free gift from God, available to anyone who honestly professes that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is Lord and Savior of their lives. But with this proclamation comes a responsibility to live a life holy and pleasing to God and to bear fruits of the Holy Spirit. If we are not living a life holy and pleasing to God, might our wicked human hearts be pulling the wool over our eyes, making us think we have something we really don’t have? Might our profession of Jesus as Lord be nothing more than idle lip service?

“Search me, o God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of the everlasting.”