This morning I was reading in a little devotional book as is my habit. The title for today’s devotion was “How To Have Your Cake And Eat It Too.” It was an answer to a young man’s question “If I get saved, what’s in it for me?”
This is an all too common question, and in my mind, seems to indicate that something is missing in our presentation of the Gospel. The devotional offered five things that were in it for the young man, and all of them are absolutely true. They are:
Peace – both peace with God and the peace of God
A new life
Steps ordered of the Lord
All of these are benefits we receive at salvation and we could easily add a few more of the same type. I ask, however, what would this lost man understand from hearing these benefits? He would most likely think they meant that he would have no more turmoil in his life (peace), no more unhappiness (Joy), everything would always be positive (hope), a problem free life (a new life), and God moving in his life to give him all that he wants (steps ordered of the Lord).
Here are a few passages that few would ever mention in answering the above question for fear that the young man would lose interest in the Gospel.
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 16:24-26 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
John 15:18-21 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Hebrews 11:32-38 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
1 Peter 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
The peace and joy that come from salvation are due to knowing that we are God’s children and He is with us through all that comes into our lives. They come from knowing the Romans 8:28 is still in God’s Book and the result of the trials of life will bring ultimate good.
The hope of a Christian is not the hope of all things being positive, it is the assurance of our salvation and the assurance that one day we will be removed from this sinful world. It is the hope of eternal blessing with our God.
The new life received at salvation is a life that becomes more and more Christ-like the longer we live. It is a life in which the trials make us stronger and make our testimony before a lost world more effective.
Having our steps ordered of the Lord means that He leads us through this life and where ever He leads us it is the best place for us to be. It is the assurance that there is blessing in the easy times and the hard times. Notice I did not say good times and bad times because, for the child of God, all times are good times.
The reason we see so many who make a profession of faith fall away is that we promise them that all of their problems will disappear, and when they don’t they say they tried Christianity and it didn’t work.
Notice that the disciples rejoiced in their sufferings because God counted them worthy to suffer for His name’s sake. We should encourage those seeking salvation with the many blessings that come to God’s children, but we should explain that it doesn’t mean that life will become a bed of roses and even if it did, roses have thorns.
Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved