The day we put our faith in Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice he has made for us, we receive the guarantee of salvation. This is the good news and what makes Christianity so different from other religions. Our redemption is not based on our deeds but on the mystery of belief. Here is the problem though, many of us think that it ends there and that we can continue living our lives as before seeing that we are now set for the future.
But faith is more than just a belief. It is only the first step we take in our Christian journey and we can only understand this path if we acknowledge the purpose of our lives here on earth. We were never placed on this earth to live out our own desires. We are an integral part of creation, created in God’s image to serve and act as stewards (Genesis 1:26). This gives us two very clear callings in life:
- The first is to grow and transform our lives so that we can resemble Christ.
- The second is to serve others – man and creature, not ourselves.
These callings are interdependent and cannot function on their own. It is when we grow in Christ that we naturally serve others through our love for God and our neighbour (Luke 10:27).
In 2 Peter 1:5-9 we read the following:
For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.
For if these things are yours and are increasing among you they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For anyone who lacks these things is short-sighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins. (NRSV)
Peter confirms that God’s grace has granted us life and godliness so that through His promises we can participate in God’s nature. However, to participate, our faith and knowledge of Christ should be supported by certain characteristics that we need to grow: goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, mutual affection and love.
If we do not build on these characteristics our salvation has no long-lasting result because we stay ineffective and unfruitful. Why? Because it was never God’s intend that our personal salvation should only be self-serving.
Faith may get us into heaven but if we do not make the choice to become more Christ-like we will miss out on many of God’s promises. Our calling is to start with belief but then to continue to grow to resemble Christ so that we can learn to love as God loves and become fruitful.