A lot of people think that when we give our lives to Christ we are then enslaved to Him. They think that life is boring and all about being “religious”. They think it’s a game with rules that you have to live by. They think it’s just a bunch of “Do’s” and “Don’ts”. Because we, as Christians, are to lay down our lives, take up our cross and live for Jesus, there are so many sacrifices we make. These sacrifices make us “give up” things of the flesh, which most people would almost be devastated to give up. “Why would I want to give up my life for some guy in the sky?” would be a typical response to someone with this view point. But what they fail to recognize is that it actually benefits you. It works the opposite way of which our natural minds would think. We think that it would be awful to have to give up our lives to someone else (Jesus), but in all reality, it’s the best thing anyone could do because only then, do we become justified… only then, do we receive such love and compassion… and only then, do we have access to benefits beyond our imagination.
We all like benefits right? I’m not about to use these benefits like a sales rep would to try and sell you the love of Christ, but you should be aware of all that God desires to give to us. One benefit is peace with God. Before we give our lives to Christ, there is a hostility between us and God because of our disobedience to Him; our sin against Him. However, the war comes to an end when we give Him our lives. We are made right in Jesus’ eyes. Also, our relationship is then reconciled with Christ and we receive the hope of glory found in Christ.
Not only can we find peace with God, we can also find joy in our sufferings. The sufferings you go through are not punishments from God. The book of James says:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
If we put our faith in Christ during these hard times we can experience joy in the midst of them. It may sound absurd to take joy in a tragic thing that is happening in our lives, but we need to not worry about them. 1 John 4:4 says “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” We can take joy in them because Jesus, who is in our hearts, is greater than any trial that we are facing in this world.
Lastly, we are given the benefit of assurance found in salvation. We all sin, even after we give our lives to Christ, but when we confess that sin to Him, we are set free. We don’t have to worry about whether or not we have done enough good deeds to earn our way into Heaven because we are promised eternal life through just believing in Christ (John 3:16). We are sinners saved by grace and that is certainly an important benefit to giving your life over to Christ.
Now, take yourself back to where you were before you accepted Christ into your life, or maybe that means it’s where you are now. You may have been free in the sense that you could do whatever you wanted to in your flesh, but you weren’t really free because you were still enslaved to sin. And, you didn’t have those benefits that you gain when you give your life to Christ. Even after we give our lives to Christ we can still take the benefits given to us for granted. We are only given them because our loving creator sent His only Son to die for our sins. Sometimes we have such a cold heart that it’s almost like we don’t even care about what Jesus did for us until we need Him ourselves.
We need to be more thankful about the benefits we find through Justification. Without Christ, we wouldn’t even have justification, let alone the amazing benefits that come with it. Are you taking these benefits for granted? It’s wonderful to see the love of a Savior towards sinners. It’s even more wonderful to see how this love pursued us and gave His life to save us so that we might be justified before God. To learn more about the benefits of justification, check out Painesville Assembly of God’s podcast “A Study In Romans: 3 Benefits To Justification” by Lead Pastor, Aaron Taylor.