“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!” Romans 5:10
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? It is an age-old question. Strong arguments can be made on both sides. Life is filled with these types of questions. Scientists study, examine and argue over the origin, make-up, and effects of different forms of life and matter all of the time. Sometimes they find definitive answers, and sometimes they are left with more questions.
Likewise, there are many deep, theological questions that are continuously examined and debated in the Christian community. Some of these are important, while others only serve to divide, confuse, and preoccupy. Oswald Chambers wrote, “I am not saved by believing; I realize I am saved by believing.” In other words, “Which came first, my faith or my salvation?” While some might be frustrated by such a question, I believe it is a necessary one.
There is a danger for Christians to emphasize what we have done over what God has done in Christ when it comes to our salvation. We don’t mean to…but it happens. We look to our repentance, our prayer of salvation, and other outward signs to give us confidence that we are saved. We look to the point of our realization of what Christ had done; instead of to that cross thousands of years ago, as evidence that we are His.
The truth is, however, that if any of us are right with God, it is because of what Jesus did – prior to anything we have done. We are saved totally because of His finished work on the cross and His resurrection from the grave. When God reveals the truth of the Gospel to us, inviting us to believe, and we accept His invitation, we experience the supernatural grace of God. All at once, we stand right with God. Not because we repented and believed, but solely because of what Jesus has done.
Romans 5:10 tells us that we were reconciled with God – not when we believed – but while we were His enemies. Understanding this truth is paramount to living the life that Christ desires. There is nothing we did to earn salvation…and there is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor now. In Christ, we are truly free.
Dear Lord, as much as I want to honor you with my works and my obedience, I know that there's nothing I can do in my own power to save myself. Please help me to always remember that truth, and to find peace in the fact that it is only because of Jesus' work on the cross that I can have a relationship with you. In Jesus' name, amen.