I used to hate God and love sin. Due to a college student and fellow Ohio University baseball player named Smitty, the trajectory of my life was intercepted by the gospel of Jesus. I learned from Smitty, KZ, Denny, X, and others how to love God and hate sin.
Imagine you and some friends are out sailing or rafting one weekend in the late fall. The day started out sunny and clear, but stormy weather arrived later on. Without regard for the changing environment, you ignore pleas from some in the group to head back to land. Yet the wind picked up quickly, waves rise and crash, everyone is screaming, and suddenly all of you are thrown out of the boat into the water. It has gotten darker, and the sound of your voices was being drowned out by the wind and waves.
Fear creeps in as you (as the group leader) consider the difficult situation you and your friends find yourselves in. You notice your friends are slowly moving away from one another by the pull of the water. No one had put life jackets on even though the boat rental coordinator said it was company policy and the boat was similarly marked. You are trying to stay afloat but as time goes by, you are losing confidence in your rescue. Your energy is draining, the water temperature is dropping, and bodies are slowly freezing.
Hope for survival seems bleak, yet suddenly the bright lights of a boat appear. Hands reach down and begin to haul you and your friends up into their boat from the cold water. Others have blankets and hot coffee and cocoa for your group. Imagine the thoughts you and your friends have now: safe, sound, warm, alive, and still friends.
Read Ephesians 2:1-10.
Imagine the similarity between being saved from a possible death in water and being saved from a final and eternal death? In a movie spoof, people could be shown refusing being saved from drowning by saying, “No thanks, I would prefer to drop to the bottom of the lake to my eventual demise.” Their refusal to be pulled from the water would be outrageous.
But think about it. Some followers of Jesus who are saved from the reality, pain, and consequences of sin often jump right back into their old patterns. Incredibly, they revert back to their old, God-dishonoring ways. Would anyone intentionally leave their friends to drown while in dangerous water, if they could save them with their effort? Sadly, some Christians who are rescued from sin do leave their friends to die without Jesus.
The early Christians believed the message Jesus taught and brought was good news. They articulated that men and women were saved from their separation from God caused by sin by putting their faith, hope, and trust in Jesus. They are saved from the power of sin now and the presence of sin later by Christ’s promises that the Holy Spirit will empower us to live Christ-honoring lives on earth and we will receive a rich welcome in heaven.
Live communally. Which friends of yours are drowning in sin and need to be rescued? How will you mount an effort to help them? Imagine the gratitude you might receive if you extend yourself to help your friends be safe, sound, and right with God?
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz