You're a Christian? Already?

John 1:29 NIV

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Some years ago, on national television, I heard a woman say, "Right now, I'm working very hard at becoming a Christian. Sometimes I meet people who say to me, 'I'm a Christian.' My response is, "Already?"

This woman's comments saddened me greatly. Obviously, she had no comprehension of what being a Christian means. Sadly, she was convinced that there's a long list of do's and don'ts associated with becoming a Christian. And more sadly, through all of her hard work and misunderstanding, she is denying the very one who could save her.

Since the day Adam and Eve blew it in the Garden of Eden, God has required sacrifice as atonement for sin. When God gave Moses the law, He instructed the people to sacrifice a lamb in the door of the Tabernacle (and later, the Temple) every morning and every night for the sins of the people (Exodus 29:38-42). Each year, on the Day of Atonement, a perfect lamb, one with no fault or disfigurement, and with no broken bones, was the special sacrifice that was demanded. Over and over again - twice a day and once a year - lambs were sacrificed for the sins of the people. Then the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53:7) told of the Servant of God Who would take away the sins of the world - the Man Who would be "led like a lamb to slaughter". To take away the sins of a world required a mighty sacrifice. And God loved us so much, He provided the sacrifice Himself. The final lamb - the final sacrifice - was offered on the cross and bore every sin that ever had been or ever would be committed by every person who ever lived. "Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed." (1 Corinthians 5:7 NIV)

Knowing this, why do people continue to attempt to work their way to heaven - to work so hard to "become" Christians? Why, when Jesus' death on the cross not only made it possible for every sin you or I have ever committed or ever will commit to be forgiven, but also made it impossible for us to affect that forgiveness ourselves? There is absolutely nothing you or I can do to earn God's grace. Our salvation was already bought with an incomparable price. Jesus already made the only sacrifice God demanded. We can do everything we can think of to work at being "Christians", and yet not one of those things will affect whether we are forgiven for our sins. You and I can do nothing, because Jesus has already done it all. The only thing you or I can do is accept this precious gift God has given us... and then do all those other things because we love Him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. John 3:16-18 NIV

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