Have you ever been asked the question, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” It is an age-old question that is not going to go away anytime soon. Life is filled with these types of scientific questions. Some scientists and philosophers have spent years studying, examining and arguing over the origin, make-up, and effects of different forms of life and matter. The result? Sometimes answers come definitively and sometimes answers never come. In fact, sometimes certain questions only breed additional questions.
These questions also happen outside the realm of science. There are many deep, theological questions that are continuously examined and debated in the Christian community. As a student of Bible theology, I have come to believe that some of these are important, while others only serve to divide, confuse, and preoccupy. Oswald Chambers in the most beloved devotional (My Utmost for His Highest) of all times 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 this may be viewed as a frustrating question, it is a very important question and also a necessary one.
For Christians, when it comes to our salvation it is easy to fall into the trap of emphasizing what we have done over what God has done in Christ when it comes to our salvation. 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 the cross thousands of years ago, as evidence that we belong to Him and are saved.
However, the truth is that if any of us are right with God, it is because of what Jesus did – prior to anything we have done. Every believer is saved because of Christ's finished work on the cross and His resurrection from the grave. When God reveals the truth of the Gospel to us, He invites us to believe and accept His Son. Praise God that when we experience the salvation of God, we are made righteous in Him, solely on the merit of what Jesus has done for us.
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.
Heavenly Father, thank you for doing for me what I could not do for myself. Thank you for a love that sets me free and extends far beyond anything I could ever do. Lord, give me someone today to love with Your love so they can see Jesus Christ in me. In Jesus' name, Amen.