“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and are saved.”
See Hebrews 10:39
I have been a Christian for most my life, although for a majority of that time I lived as an extremely weak Christian. Sure, I believed in Jesus, but I mostly believed in Him because I didn’t want to go to hell. Which, that is a very healthy fear. Hell is bad. So if you became a Christian for fire insurance, that’s smart. However, it doesn’t end there–not even close! That’s only the beginning!
Jesus didn’t die on the Cross and take away the punishment for our sin (which was hell) just so that we wouldn’t be eternally separated from Him, there is so much more to it! He also died to give us an abundant life–His life! (See John 10:10, Colossians 2:10).
The very moment we believed Jesus saved us, something happened: we died too, and we were immediately resurrected too–spiritually! Once we believe He’s forgiven us, we (our spirits) become crucified with Him, we get buried, and we get brought back to life as a brand new perfect spirit while still in these imperfect bodies! (See Romans 6:6, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 1:22, Galatians 2:20, 3:2). This is not hyperbole, this is literally the gospel!
Understanding this fact will take you from being weak and defeated in your thinking, to being bold, courageous, and confident in your true spiritual identity: an actual reborn child of God who lives on planet earth! (See John 1:12, Ephesians 1:5, 2 Corinthians 5:20).
Now, there are some Christians out there who have made it their calling to only talk about being afraid of God. However, the Bible says once we are saved we never have to be afraid of God punishing us ever again (see 1 John 4:18).
But the fear-mongering Christians will ignore that. Their primary goal is to get others to walk on egg-shells around God (and them), first so they can manipulate and control you, and second, so that you don’t “Trip up and fall back into hell!” They’ve twisted the good news of the gospel into only being good for them.
They are behavior focused rather than Christ centered. They are self-righteous, arrogant, and graceless. They have no clue about what Jesus has really done for us, all they truly care about is conservatism, counting, and coldness. They are fair-weather friends who grossly false advertise for the Holy Spirit with their unloving, legalistic lifestyle–and to make matters worse, they white-wash their disgusting treatment of others by calling it discernment.
THAT’S NOT ME. That’s not my ministry. To be clear, for a time that was my actions and attitudes. But the Holy Spirit has cleaned up those parts of my unrenewed mindsets with gale-force winds. He’s gotten out the broom and dust-cloth and gone to work on all parts of my mind that wants to lean toward conditional-grace, which is anti-gospel. I’m competitive, so this wasn’t easy. But over time, He’s taught me to stop looking at what all I’m doing, and instead, stay focused on what all Christ has done.
Let me also be clear about what people should be afraid of if they are non-believers: hell. Hell is real, and hell is bad. It is a horrendous place specifically reserved for those who reject Christ’s forgiveness. So be sure you don’t go there! You get to choose!
How do you not go there? God has made this very simple: accept the free forgiveness of your sins through believing Jesus Christ is your Savior! After that, your new life in Christ begins! By receiving His forgiveness once you instantly have nothing to fear about God, ever again! (See Hebrews 7:25, 10:10).
If you can’t grasp this free gift of spiritual perfection then fear or hypocrisy will regularly ruin your life as a Christian. God doesn’t want that! He loves you! He doesn’t want you to be afraid, and He doesn’t want you to be a nasty masquerader! SO STOP BEING AFRAID OF GOD! Remember, when God does decide to correct you it’s always done out of a loving discipline (a word which was derived from disciple)–He never corrects you by punishing you because Jesus took away your punishment for good! (See John 3:17).
So today, my friends, know this: Be confident in your true spiritual identity, which is a heaven-ready heir to heaven! Never believe the lies of those who don’t understand God’s grace! Instead, ask God to teach you how to treat them with grace! It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it because when you do this they will finally get to see Christ coming through someone with grace-filled, unconditional love! So be bold and begin to show the world the confidence of Christ! He lives in you!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for confidence. Thank you for teaching me who I really am! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who want to get to know you better, help them do just that. Lift them up! Teach them your grace! Teach them their value! Make them bold in knowing WHO they really are–a child of God! Amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 1. Get your copy here!