The power of God is a dizzying thing to consider. It is infinite, it cannot be contained in the very universe he created. More than that, our fallen finite human minds can’t even comprehend an iota of the infinities he is capable of accomplishing. This is a glorious thing. Especially as we look to Jesus. In Philippians 2, Paul describes how Jesus set aside his infinite divinity and took on the frailty of human flesh. The same Jesus who willingly and with joy drank from the cup of God’s perfect wrath is the same Jesus through whom all things were created and by whom all things hold together. The savior who secured our salvation at Calvary is the the Jesus through whom God created the heavens and the earth. He is infinite, perfect, and incomprehensibly powerful. .
From Love to Lazy
This truth is an assurance and encouragement for his redeemed people. Romans 8:38-39 reads,
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The power of God is perfect and infinite, and for the believer, nothing can take away the guaranteed grace of Jesus. We are assured a place in God’s perfect future because of the person and work of Jesus. This is a deep well of encouragement for the Christian. Circumstances don’t matter when my name has been fixed in the the Book of Life.
But as with everything in life, our sinful hearts find a way to twist this truth into something less than encouragement and assurance. We turn it into an excuse for sin, an absolution of our indulgences, or a way to avoid any kind of difficulty in life. Some of us have even been brought to the point of asking some variant of the question: Why should I strive for holiness and righteousness when it doesn’t matter? Why should obedience matter if my eternity is assured? Why should I make the hard choices of faithful obedience to scripture when disobedience seems far more satisfying? Why should I suffer for the sake of Jesus when peace and prosperity by worldly standards are far easier and less painful? Perhaps it’s never even gotten that far, perhaps these ideas have only germinated to a point where you don’t take your sanctification seriously.
At the root of these questions and sentiments like them is a misunderstanding of the gospel and its effects on the human soul. The gap between our deadness in sin and our life in Christ is often an overlooked reality. Between the two points of judgement and salvation lies a change of great magnitude. Without Jesus, the Bible says we are cursed (1 Cor. 16:22), enemies of God (Rom. 5:10), without good (Ps. 14:1-3), blind (2 Cor. 4:4), condemned (Jn. 3:18), fools (Titus 3:3), enslaved to sin and flesh (Rom. 6:20), and worthless (Rom 3:12). But for the redeemed, the Christian is presented as perfect before God at the gates of eternity, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Col. 1:21-22).
From worthless to perfect. From enemies to adopted sons and daughters. From cursed to blessed. From enslaved to free. The distance between what we were and what we are before God is inconceivably vast. That is what God does for the Christian in salvation.
Why does this matter in regards to the previous questions? Because if we understand the grace and love required to go from worthless to perfect, we can know the love and grace the perfectly infinite God poured out on our souls at conversion. Jesus suffered and died to bridge the gap from eternal separation to eternal perfection.
A Greater Debt
What if someone paid off all of your student debt? What if someone paid of your house and your car and all of your medical bills.? What that person gave you wasn’t just freedom from debt, but time. The years and decades of work and effort required to reach even zero on the balance sheet are now yours. Now consider the eternity and assurance of that eternity which God has given you. It isn’t merely that our sin debt with God is absolved but that Jesus has deposited on our behalf a complete wealth of righteousness. Your mortgage can not even be compared to the debt God forgave in Christ.
The reason we take our sanctification seriously is because our eternity has been redeemed, and growth to be more like Jesus is growth in becoming like the one who redeemed us. We can suffer for the name and sake of Jesus because even a lifetime of suffering is pennies on the cosmic scale of suffering Jesus endured to bring us from worthless to perfect.
Do you want to know what is really cool though? It isn’t as if holiness and righteousness somehow rob us of joy. The perception that it is more satisfying to get drunk at a house party than go to Bible study is deception. It is the world’s attempt paint pretty the sin which to death and worthlessness. After all, what kind of God would we have if there was more joy in disobeying him than obeying him? How would it be glorious if rebellion were more fun than obedience? There will be more satisfaction, more joy, more happiness, more and more peace in subjecting yourself to the designs of God rather than subverting them.
What a glorious and merciful God we have. Respond by taking your obedience and sanctification seriously. God lifted our eternal debt so that we might have the immediate joy of learning to live and act more like Christ, which is our eternal hope.