THE PURPOSE OF JESUS FOR COMING INTO THE WORLD
What was the purpose of Jesus for coming into the world? A few verses of Scripture spell it out clearly:
At the close of a meeting with a tax-collector, Jesus declared: "The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10).
In an interview with a religious leader, Jesus said, "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him" (John 3:17).
A crowd heard Jesus say, "I did not come to judge the world, but to save it" (John 12:47).
The apostle Paul wrote, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst" (1 Timothy 1:15).
Jesus came to save lost humanity from sin and its consequences and that includes you and me. Jesus came to save us from the penalty and power of sin in such a way that we can know, must know, will know, do know that we are saved.
STAYING WITH ZACCHEUS
One day Jesus was visiting the city of Jericho, the home of Zaccheus, a wealth tax collector suspected of overcharging the populace.
Zaccheus had heard about Jesus and wanted to see Him, but was unable get through the crowd that had gathered in the city. Short of stature but ingenious, Zaccheus ran ahead and climbed a tree on the route where he knew Jesus would pass by. It worked out even better than he planned: When Jesus reached the tree, he saw Zaccheus, called him by name and said, "I need to stay at your house today."
Immediately Zaccheus climbed down and took Jesus home for lunch. As could be expected, the local population complained, "What's He doing in the house of that sinner?"
But if the people were shocked that Jesus would have lunch with Zacchaeus, they were stupefied when Zaccheus stood and said, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."
TO SEEK AND TO SAVE
Jesus had a special purpose in this encounter. Though He had a message for everyone, he singled out a despised tax-collector, to remind us that He cares about the lost and spiritually needy, knows them by name, knows where they are, and calls them to salvation.
His visit produced immediate results. Zaccheus repented of his sins and put his faith in Christ. His life was so radically changed from one moment to the next that he decided to repair his wrongdoing and to do right in the future. He was saved!
Jesus was convinced of his sincerity and decided to leave no room for doubt, either on the part of Zaccheus or the crowd that had gathered. So he gave public testimony: "Salvation has come to this house." And then He stated His mission concerning the city and the whole world: The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:9-10).
SALVATION HAS COME TO THIS HOUSE!
Let's look at the first statement --- "Salvation has come to this house." It was typical of the way Jesus spoke with the individuals he helped. Time and time we find narratives in the Bible that describe a common occurrence in Jesus' life. Jesus...
- Encountered a needy individual,
- God into that person's life,
- Saved the person from his or her sins,
- Made a definitive statement to assure the
person that he or she was truly saved.
"FRIEND, YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN"
I would like to cite a few more examples.
"Friend, your sins are forgiven."
Four men had a friend who was paralyzed, apparently a quadriplegic. So when they heard that Jesus was in a local house preaching and healing the sick, they tried to carry their friend into the meeting, but --- because the house was crowded --- they were unable to get in. Quickly, they climbed to the roof, removed some of the tiles and lowered their friend onto the floor in front of Jesus.
How did Jesus respond to that? Like everyone else in the crowd, He could see that the man needed healing. But in addition He could see two things that the crowd couldn't see: He saw the man's sin and He saw his faith. Scripture records:
When Jesus saw the faith of the young men, he said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.'
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, 'Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'
Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, 'Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk?' But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,' He said to the paralyzed man, 'I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.' Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God" (Luke 5:20-25).
When the young man stood up, he knew that he was both healed and forgiven. As in the case of Zaccheus, the words of Jesus had filled his heart with absolute assurance of his salvation.
"NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU."
Jesus was sitting in the temple with a crowd that had gathered to hear him teach. Suddenly a noisy gang of religious leaders approached, dragging with them a desperate woman. They said to Jesus:
"Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women." Jesus said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:4-11).
What a relief it must have been for the woman to hear the beautiful words, "Neither do I condemn you." These words carry more meaning than would appear --- especially when you consider that Jesus had once declared: "Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son" (John 3:18).
The woman stood condemned by God's law, by social mores and by religious leaders. What attitude would Jesus take? He didn't condone her sin; He forgave it. By doing so, and by letting her know that she was forgiven, He released her from condemnation and from her feelings of worthlessness. She knew that she was forgiven and cleansed from sin. The knowledge of her new standing with God would give her the power she had lacked before to change her life.
"YOUR FAITH HAS SAVED YOU; GO IN PEACE."
Like the woman in the temple, this one also had a questionable past, yet she too was changed by Jesus. Her gratitude prompted her to practice an unusual and extravagant act of worship. Read the words of Scripture:
When a woman who had lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them (Luke 7:37-38).
How that woman worshiped! When a discussion took place about her, Jesus ended it by telling her, "Your sins are forgiven." The other guests said, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" But Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." As in the case of the others touched by Jesus, she knew that she was forgiven and that her life would never again be the same.
"TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE"
An incredible conversation took place at Calvary between Jesus and the two criminals who were crucified with Him:
"One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth: Today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:39-43).
While one thief hardened his heart, the other one confessed his wrongdoing and asked for mercy. Jesus forgave him and, with the words, "Today you will be with me in paradise," granted him full assurance of salvation: Though the man knew that His life on earth would be lost, he also knew that heaven would be his home and eternal life would be his destiny. Throughout the ages this incident has served as a reminder that there is hope for our salvation, right up to the last hour of our life.
In each of these five encounters Jesus clearly assured the persons that they were now saved.
ASSURANCE OF SALVATION --- THEN AND NOW
The most important issue we will ever face is the salvation of our soul. Since we receive salvation by an act of faith, there can be no room for doubt. Therefore God provided the most reliable assurances possible. He gave us three principal witnesses by which we can know that we are saved:
- The witness of God's Word,
- The witness of the Holy Spirit,
- The witness of a changed life.
THE WITNESS OF GOD'S WORD
Just as Jesus gave words of assurance to those who came to Him back then, He gives us His Word, the Bible, to do the same today. He calls us to salvation and promises to save us. When we answer his call we can rest assured that He will do what He promised to do. His word is both inspired and compelling.
So, what must we do to be saved?
Repent of our sins. Jesus said, "Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15). To repent is to change our mind about the way we live... to turn from the selfish, independent attitudes that have caused us to do evil things. It means recognizing that our acts and attitudes have brought pain to Jesus and required His death on the cross to save us. It means that we stop trying to control our own life and we invite Jesus to control it. It means that we live to please Jesus. And when we have a choice between right and wrong, we choose to do right. Have you fully repented of your sins? His Word promises, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). If you have confessed your sins and repented of them, you can be sure that He has forgiven you.
Believe in Jesus. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 6:31). To believe in Jesus is to place our faith in Him to save us. To have faith is to know that we cannot atone for our sins and to trust in the atonement that Christ made for us. Having Faith is accepting, yielding, clinging, depending, and trustfully giving our lives to Jesus Christ while believing that He saves us. Have you believed in Jesus for salvation? Since His Word is true, you can believe that "you will saved", as He promised.
Receive Christ into our life. Jesus seeks to save us, but we must respond by asking Him into our heart. "To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12). Scripture portrays Jesus at our heart's door saying, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20). Have you invited Jesus to come in and take control of your life? Will He fail to come in if He said He would? Of course not.
Confess Jesus as Lord. A public confession of our repentance and faith in Christ will put us on record that we intend to follow Jesus Christ forever. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9). Have you told anyone what has happened to you? Are you showing your friends and family by your changed life and by your spoken witness what Christ means to you? What is His promise if you do? "You will be saved."
Have you done your part? Salvation comes from God, but there is a part for us to do as well. There is never a question about whether or not He does His part. The question is: Have we done our part? If we repent of our sins, He forgives them. If we believe the gospel, He saves us. If we receive Him, He comes into our heart. If we confess Him before men, He confesses us before God.
The Apostle John wrote a New Testament letter with a purpose: "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13). God's Word assures of our salvation. That's the first witness. Now let's look at another one:
THE WITNESS OF GOD'S SPIRIT
When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove and the Father's voice spoke from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Today, though probably in a less dramatic way, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to us to assure us that we have become children of God.
The most frequently quoted command in the Bible is "Fear not." Paul wrote, "You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (Romans 8:15-16).
Gently, God's Spirit comes to us with the inner conviction that we belong to Him and He to us. This is not just a "feeling." Certainly, feelings are involved, but assurance of salvation is much more than "feeling" saved and more than just an intellectual knowledge. It's a deeper inner knowledge. Maybe this testimony will illustrate it for you:
John Wesley was a young religious leader who left England to become a missionary to colonial America. His goal was to convert Native Americans to Christ, but "Alas," he said, "I needed to be converted." Defeated and nearly destroyed, he returned to England. One night he sat in a meeting with a small group of Christians while a Bible commentary was read. To his amazement, assurance flooded his heart. "My heart," he said, "was strangely warmed and I knew that I believed."
Assurance of salvation warms our heart and gives us peace. It awakens in us a deep love for Jesus Christ. It affects our entire personality. Our mind, will, and emotions are now committed to Christ.
More importantly, though, it affects our spirit. "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (Romans 8:16). A previously unknown part of us has come alive. We have spiritual life. We have a personal relationship with Jesus. We care about how our acts and attitudes affect Him. We know that His presence is with us.
No words can adequately express this experience. No person can give us this assurance. No one can take it away. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27).
Tremendous things take place when we commit our lives to Jesus: Our sins are forgiven. We have new life and a new standing before God. We are His children. We are adopted into His family. His Spirit is in our heart. Jesus becomes our friend. Though the witness of the Spirit is true, you can only understand it when you have it. Does Gods Spirit on the inside of you say, "Yes, I am His child?" How wonderful! Still there is one more witness:
THE WITNESS OF A CHANGED LIFE
If we have come to Christ, it's probably because we knew that we needed to have our life changed and we were unable to change it. When He came, He brought change. The Bible puts it this way: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
An old gospel song expresses it like this:
What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, since Jesus came into my heart.
I have light in my soul for which long I had sought, since Jesus came into my heart.
Some Christians change faster than others. In some believers change is more obvious than in others. Some make great changes in their behavior. Others change mainly their attitudes. But all must change. Where there is no change, there is no presence of Christ. Having Christ does not m3ean that we are perfect doesn't mean that we are perfect, but we are different than we were without Him. We have changed for the better.
What changes reveal that Christ has come into our lives? The book of 1 John lists several of them:
- We have friendship with God. "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us"(1 John 1:7). Now that our sins And we pour out our hearts to Him as a friend does with a friend. Walking in the light means that we are honest with Him and hide nothing from Him. We do not deceive Him or ourselves. We know that He is with us and we rejoice.
- We find pleasure in obeying God. "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands"(1 John 2:3). According to Jesus, the proof of our love for Him is not the way we feel about Him, but whether or not we obey Him. Once we are saved, we want to obey. We plan to obey. We enjoy obeying God. His commandments are not a burden to us, but a source of guidance and satisfaction. Do you remember the Ten Commandments?
These commandments may have seemed strict and burdensome at one time. Once we are born of God, we find strength to obey the commandments and we take pleasure in it. We don't obey to be saved; we obey because we are saved.
- You must not have any gods except me.
- You must not make, worship or serve idols.
- You must not use the name of the Lord your
- Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You must not murder anyone.
- You must not be guilty of adultery.
- You must not steal.
- You must not tell lies against your neighbor.
- You must not want to take anything that belongs to your neighbor.
- We pattern our life after the life of Jesus. "This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (1 John 2:6). God's laws serve as our moral guidelines, but our heart goes beyond compliance with laws; our heart desire is to be like Jesus. He is working to make us more like himself and, since we have the same goal, we allow Him to do it.
- We love difficult people. "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble" (1 John 2:9-10). God's kingdom is a kingdom of love. The most important thing in the kingdom is to love God. The second is to love the people around us-even though some people are hard to love. As Christians we love others because we know God loves us. When Christians find it hard to love someone, they seek God's help --- not just to feel love --- but to do loving things, practice loving attitudes, think loving thoughts, reach out and help others. Are you becoming more loving toward others? As you choose to love by faith, does God's love fill your heart?
- We put sin out of our lives. "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God" (1 John 3:9). The most unwelcome thing in a Christian's life is sin. Christians don't plan to sin. They may get caught in moments of weakness, and fall into temptation, but they do not approve of it or plan to repeat it. John said: "God's seed remains in him." Jesus reminded us that good fruit comes from good seeds. Bad fruit comes from bad seeds. Christians have the nature of God in them. We don't lose the capacity to sin, but we lose the desire to. Sin offers no pleasure to us. We don't experience sinless perfection, but we can experience victory over sin as we keep our faith in the Lord.
- We have Christ living in our heart. "Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:10-12). Though others may judge us for what we do or stop doing, the real test of whether or not we have experienced salvation is whether or not Christ's Spirit dwells in our heart. A Christian is nothing more, nothing less that a person in whose heart Christ dwells. Yes, His presence will change our motivations, attitudes, and behavior, but the vital question is: Does Christ live in us?
WHERE DO YOU STAND TODAY?
Scripture says, "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" (2 Corinthians 13:1). Then it goes on: "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you --- unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Again, the three witnesses are:
the witness of God's Word,
the witness of God's Spirit,
the witness of a changed life.
What are the three witnesses saying to you? Have you repented, believed, received Christ, and confessed Him publicly? Does the Holy Spirit testify to your spirit that you are born of God? Are you changing? Are the motives of your heart less self-centered and more centered in the will of God? Do you feel pleasure in obeying God and pleasing Him? Are you learning to love? All of this is God at work in your heart. He is working now and He will continue to work. That brings up a good question:
WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE?
Salvation is God's initiative. Though we may feel that we sought Him until we found Him, it was really just the opposite----Jesus came to "seek and save us." We didn't find Him; He found us. Apply that to the future: If He took the initiative to seek us, find us, save us, and assure us, will He not He also take the initiative to guard us, protect us, and keep us? Our future is secure in Christ because...
God is faithful to us.
Paul wrote, "I always pray with joy... being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:4,6).
The Bible compares our life to a piece of pottery that God is making. God is the potter, we are the clay. He is shaping us into a beautiful and useful vessel. During the process, He finds impurities in us and the vessel breaks in His hand. But He doesn't give up. He just kneads the clay again and reshapes it until it is suitable for His plan. Sometimes we feel like giving up, but He never gives up.
Paul said, "I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day" (2 Timothy 1:12). When we place our life in God's hands, we can be sure that He takes full responsibility for us.
On another occasion Paul said, "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:7-9).
Like Paul, Peter also faced hardships. But Peter exulted, "We are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:5).
We, too, will face trials, disappointments, frustrations and even heartaches. But --- even when the world, the flesh, and the devil attack us --- our soul is shielded by God's power. He does not forsake us. He is faithful to guard and keep us.
We must be faithful to Him.
Now, because He is working on our behalf, that doesn't mean that we can just relax and forget our problems. The tempter is always present. Satan and his evil spirits try to trip us up and cause us to sin. He accuses us of things we have not done, excuses us for things we have done, and confuses us about both. Though weary we must not give up.
Temptation usually begins with a thought, imagination, or desire. It captures our attention, awakens our interest, stimulates our desire and prompts us to do wrong. When tempted, we must remember:
- Who we are. The following words describe who we are in Christ: Children of God. Acceptable to Him. New creatures. Chosen ones. God's workmanship. Members of God's household. Adopted into God's family. Born again. Justified by faith. Alive in Christ. A royal priesthood. A holy nation. Forgiven. Sons of the light. Sons of the day. We are objects of God's love, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and sealed by His Holy Spirit. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
- Whose we are. We are not our own. We are bought with a price. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. It was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that we were redeemed, but with the precious blood of Christ. As children of God, our passion and purpose is to honor the family to which we belong --- especially the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world.
- Where we are. We are in Christ. Crucified, buried, resurrected and seated with Him in heavenly places. We were far away, but have been brought near through the blood of Christ. We have access to the Father. Scripture exhorts us, "Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus... Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace" (Romans 6:11-14).
- Who it is that tempts us. "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:13-15).
Temptation follows familiar patterns: We are attracted to something, become fascinated by it, desire it, rationalize about it, and finally go for it. Temptation is not sin, but if we are not careful, it will lead us into sin.
Although God allows us to be tempted (to make our free choice meaningful and to strengthen us for the future), we should not blame God for our temptations. He never tempts us. He never wants us to sin. He screens our temptations so they will not be too strong. And He provides an escape so that we can resist. "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Temptation is not necessarily negative. We need God's perspective on it. God wants us to gain strength by facing temptation and winning over it. Jesus taught us to pay, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. That is a prayer that God will answer if we let Him.
- What to do when tempted.
First, keep spiritually fit. Daily Bible meditation and fellowship with God in prayer give us spiritual strength. Jesus was tempted, but said, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). Later he added, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak" (Matthew 26:41).
Second, we must avoid people, places, practices, programs, and publications that could lead us to sin.
Third, learn to resist Satan and his evil spirits. When we feel attracted to something outside the limits set by God, we can resist it by saying, "No! I am a child of God. In Jesus' name I resist you, Satan. In the strength of the Lord, I refuse to think these thoughts, say these words or do this thing." Scripture says: "Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
"Flee from sexual immorality" (1 Corinthians 6:18).
"Flee from idolatry" (1 Corinthians 10:14).
"Flee from the love of money... (1 Timothy 6:11).
"Flee from the evil desires of youth" (2 Timothy 2:22).
Fourth, share temptations with a mature Christian. We need to be accountable to one another, opening our heart to like minded believers, admitting that need support in prayer. God wants us to have a companion to encourage us. Our strength is in God, but sometimes it comes through a Christian friend. We can join together and remain faithful to Him.
WHAT IF WE FAIL?
Scripture tells us that we will face severe trials and temptations. Jesus even said that some would stumble and fall, but He also said that many will stand firm to the end and be saved:
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 10:21).
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:12).
None of us is so strong that we could not fail the Lord. If we do stumble, we should get right up and not allow our momentary failure turn into a prolonged one. Remember these two verses:
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One (1 John 2:1).
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Some people get so discouraged when they commit an error, that they let time go by and break their fellowship with God. They may quit going to church or quit reading their Bibles. Soon they are severely weakened spiritually. They go through a painful process during which God seeks to bring them to recovery.
- They fall out of fellowship with God.
- They lose the joy of the Lord.
- Their prayers are not answered.
- Their life becomes useless to God's work.
- They become subject to Satan's attacks.
- They are chastened by the Lord.
- They may experience severe discipline.
- They may not find their way back.
There is wonderful security in Christ, No one can take us out of His hand. But there is no security in sin. Sin is a dangerous game to play. We don't have the last word on who is saved and who isn't, God does. But we do know that, wherever we are, the Savior still seeks us with the tender compassion that He described in a well known story:
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one. Does he not leave the ninety-nine and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. 'I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent (Luke 15:4-7).
The compassion of the shepherd that went out to find his sheep is the compassion that Jesus has toward us, no matter where we are. No matter what we have done, He loves us. No matter how many times we have failed, He will never fail us. He has come to seek and to save the lost.
He is always seeking us, always drawing us, always caring for us. Let us never seek to escape His loving, insistent call: Come follow me.