Read: Romans 3:19-26
I was once on a train with a man and we got to talking about religion. He told me a bit about his upbringing. I asked him, “Do you believe in an afterlife?” He answered, “I’m not sure, but I hope I can one day be good enough to get in- if there is one.” I asked him to explain what he meant by that. He said that while he was young, he wanted to have fun before getting serious about religion. In his mind, fun and faith could not coexist.
This reminded me of another conversation I had with a friend who asked me why I didn’t party or get drunk with our friends. I shared with him that I am committed to living out my faith. I asked him if he ever thought about the message of Christianity. Laughing, he replied, “I’ve got plenty of time for that later in life.”
People who come from a lifestyle centered on pleasure think that to be a Christian means giving up everything that is fun. For some, they think following Christ means turning your back on pleasure completely. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Being in Christ means finding fulfillment and joy in something better than the fleeting pleasures of the world.
Now our rejection or acceptance of certain activities can’t save us. Our works are not the foundation of our salvation. No one can do enough to be justified in His sight. His grace toward sinners is an undeserved overflow of His goodness. In Romans 3:24, the apostle Paul tells us that the justification of sinners by the grace of God is a gift.
Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” The truth of that psalm is clearly displayed in God’s plan for salvation. God could have allowed humanity to experience the full weight of the consequences of their sin many times, but in what Paul calls divine forbearance, God looked over past sins so that His righteousness could be displayed in Jesus Christ. His righteousness and justice were seen in Jesus’ crucifixion. But it was also a display of His good mercy because it was the means to forgive sins. Because of Jesus, all people can experience God’s gift of grace.
Tasting the goodness of God displayed through Jesus Christ ought to drive us to grow in our identities as new creatures. A person who has been genuinely saved will not continue in the sinful pleasures of the past because he has beheld Jesus on the cross and tasted the fulfillment that can only come from Christ.
Has God’s good gift of grace completely overwhelmed every aspect of your life? Are there areas in your life apart from God that you are holding onto for happiness? Maybe it’s time to look at it in light of God’s greater gift to your life in Christ.
Passages to refer to: (Psalm 34:8, Romans 6:1, 1 Peter 2:3)