|Taking Every Thought Captive|
By Massimo Lorenzini
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23, NKJV).
Not only is eternal life the gift of God, but life itself is the gift of God. Now you may say, “Sure, I agree. Life is a gift of God!” However, if you are like most people, you may not fully grasp the significance of that idea.
You see, you are living under the deadly illusion that your life is your own until you are born of the Spirit by receiving Christ as Savior and Lord:
“But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right [or authority] to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
That is, you think you exist independently; that you are autonomous (self-governing) and self-sufficient. You think your life is your own to do with as you please. Yes, you may give God some token honor. But for the most part you call the shots. This is what the apostle John calls “the pride of life” (1 John 2:16) which, along with the world and its sinful lusts, is “passing away” to destruction (1 John 2:17).
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:15-17).
In contrast to this futile mentality, the Psalmist wrote, “Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3). God is our loving and holy Creator. He alone is the source and giver of life. Not one thing has ever come into existence that wasn’t created by the triune God: “All things were made through Him [Jesus], and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). This includes your present earthly, temporal life.
God made you individually and uniquely for His own purposes:
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14a).
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth . . . . All things were created through Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16).
So while eternal life is the free gift of God received by faith in Christ, and there’s nothing you can do to earn it, likewise, your earthly, temporal life is also freely given to you by God without you having done anything to bring it about.
So you are in error of the most tragic proportions if you believe that you exist independently of God and the gift of eternal life in Christ is something you can take or leave at your pleasure. For if you reject the gracious gift of our Creator God in Christ Jesus, you have nowhere else to turn to for life.
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:66-69).
You see, your life is very much like a lamp that must remain plugged into the electrical socket to be able to give light. If you unplug the lamp from the power source, the light dies. Likewise, you have no life in and of yourself. Your life is dependent upon the God who gave it. The life God intends you to have is eternal life. This is not merely a matter of quantity of life (life unending), but of quality of life. Yes, it’s true that eternal life is everlasting life. But it is also the life that your Maker intended you to have-a life that finds true satisfaction and deep-seated joy because it is connected to life’s ultimate purpose which is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (Westminster Catechism, question 1). Any life that does not find it’s ultimate purpose in this is no life at all as time will eventually bear out.
Reject this kind of life and you remain a slave of sin (sin is defined as any lack of conformity to or violation of the will of God):
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness (Romans 6:16).
If you remain a slave to sin because you have rejected God’s free gift of eternal life you will receive the due wages for your sin-death (For the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23a). It can’t be any other way because God alone is the source of all life. As long as you remain separated from God because of your sin you will perish: “unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).
As your Maker, God has a rightful claim on your life. Therefore, the eternal life He offers is not only a gift to be received it is a command to be obeyed:
Therefore, since we are the offspring of God [we are created by God], we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent [to turn from sin to God], because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man [Jesus] whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:29-31, emphasis mine).
If you haven’t done so already, won’t you make today the day that you submit your life to its rightful owner-God? Today you can receive His gift of eternal life by trusting in Jesus Christ who voluntarily took the death penalty for your sin by dying on the cross as your substitute. God showed that He accepted this payment for sin by raising Jesus from the dead.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Call on His name right now. Ask Him to forgive all of your sins on the basis of the shed blood of Jesus who has already taken the punishment for sin you deserve. Jesus has promised, “the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). Ask Him to grant you His eternal life and trust Him to do it on the basis of His infallible Word.
For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).
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