Just as no one creates himself and then causes himself to enter the world through his mother’s womb, no one can make himself come alive spiritually. Regardless of how many good works or religious deeds you perform, you cannot make your spirit come alive. Your only hope is for God to make you alive with Christ.
The Apostle Paul wrote “to the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse” (Colossians 1:2). “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13,14).
A person comes alive with Christ when the Holy Spirit performs this supernatural conversion. Jesus said, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:6). The new birth is a work of God. It cannot be manufactured by man, nor can it be earned by our good works.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you can thank God for saving your soul when He made your spirit come alive on the front end of your relationship with God. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). When you were converted by the Holy Spirit, you were instantaneously saved, born again, justified, redeemed and forgiven.
A person who is spiritually dead cannot make himself come alive. You need someone with far greater power than yourself to breathe life into your spirit. This is what happens when a soul is converted. The Holy Spirit breathes the life of God into your spirit.
On the Day of Pentecost, the power of the Holy Spirit was poured out mightily, resulting in many conversions. Peter preached to the people under the anointing of God, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit … with many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:38,40-41).
These new believers then “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer ... and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42,47). n“Yet to all who received Christ, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12,13).
Have you been born of God? “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (2 John 5:1). That is, everyone who believes in Jesus as the promised Messiah. And the fruit of faith in Christ is love. “We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother” (2 John 19-21). “Anyone who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3:14).
Have you been made alive with Christ? If so, you are trusting in Christ’s death for the salvation of your soul. And you feel guilty when you sin against God. You now seek to please the Lord with your thoughts, words, and deeds. And you turn away from wicked behavior. “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” (2 Timothy 2:19).
If you are regularly going against your conscience and against God’s instructions for holy living, you would be wise to stop in your tracks and turn around. Ask the Lord to forgive you and to help you say “No” to sin. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:11-14).
If you have been made alive with Christ, you are eager to do what is good because you know that Heaven is your eternal home. You know that you have been saved by God’s grace and that your sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus.
Here is something I know about all of us who are born again: “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 2:4-7).
And always remember these words from our Lord: “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). The Apostle Paul also had a lot to say about “the obedience that comes from faith” (Romans 1:5). Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14).
In the words of a well-known hymn written by John Sammis in 1887: “Trust and obey, for there’s no better way, To be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey."
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.