There is a time in every Christian’s life when the joy and peace of salvation seem to fade. Whether it is because of a lack of pursuing God faithfully or from believing the lie of Satan that your heart is too sinful to be saved, there will be days of dullness and apathy.
It is in these times you might find yourself asking the questions, “Why am I still here?" or "Why is God still interested in my soul?”
Honestly, these are some of the best questions to ask. Put the situation on trial. What in the world gives you the right to expect the inheritance of eternal life? Why is God even promising it to you?
First things first: search yourself. Where do you stand? What do you point to in order to justify claiming to be a child of God?
Some may go to church regularly and believe that puts them on good terms with God. Others believe their good actions and deeds pay their bill of sin and earn them eternal life. Others sit secure in their identity as good, conservative, patriotic Americans who stand for Christian values, and equate that with an identity as a child of God.
While these things are good, they do not justify such claims. We’re talking about your sinful soul and a holy God who can’t even look at sin. It takes more than actions, good behavior, and decency to bridge an infinite gap. It takes something infinite.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free,
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
That line, from the beloved hymn “Before the Throne,” deftly encapsulates the doctrine of justification. The reason you and God can have a loving relationship instead of a war is because a perfect representative, a mediator whose every attribute is attributed to you stands between you the sinner and God the Holy Judge.
This arrangement was expensive. It required the impossible. Infinite God had to become a finite man. The guiltless had to become the guiltiest. The immortal had to die. The dead had to be resurrected.
From horror to hope
I remember when this all became objectively real to me. I was sixteen years old. I had never thought about the cross and the crucifixion as being horrifying, but I had also never thought of my sin being horrifying. It was a line of the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” that changed my perspective. It goes, “My sin – oh the bliss of this glorious thought! – my sin, not in part, but the whole is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.”
When I truly considered the words, it was as if the sky fell down and crushed me. I knew some of what my heart was capable of – the vile thoughts and desires, some of which frightened me. But to consider those very things put on Jesus Christ, like sewer filth smeared on immaculate white lace… it changed everything. The cross wasn’t beautiful or sentimental. It was a nightmare of the worst kind. I couldn’t stand the idea of this innocent man, who had done no wrong, voluntarily taking on the guilt of everything that was wrong with me and paying the price for it all.
I vividly remember protesting to God that it was unfair. Jesus was too good, too clean to take my filth and die in my place. And I was right, He was more good and clean than I could imagine. But instead of an answer to my argument, there was an invitation to look beyond the cross and see the gift still offered. Jesus Christ was worthy of my obedience. He deserved my soul. I could do nothing but surrender.
The freeness of salvation, to be able to stand without shame before the loving eyes of a holy and just God on the account of another, can never be understated. This is why Christians can live in expectation of eternal life in the presence of God and our Savior, where “no tongue can bid us thence depart.”