“23 And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” Luke 9:23-25
Many of my fellow Americans are under the illusion that they are Christian just because they are citizens of the United States. For the majority of my life I would claim Christianity but was in fact far from God. I knew God, He was the God of my Grandmother, but I did not follow Him. In reality, I simply knew of God.
“You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2:19
I was on the same level as demons. I had in fact not accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, much less followed Him. Just to be clear, one is not able to follow the Lord without denying themselves and a sinner is not going to deny themselves. Sin has dominion over the lost and they are unable to willingly yield unto God…notice I said “willingly”. God is God and He is Sovereign.
“16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17
Sinners are called to believe that Jesus Christ came to die on Calvary’s Cross to pay their sin debt and that ONLY through Him they are saved from an eternal hell. Once a sinner believes in the finished work of Jesus Christ for their Salvation, the Believer is called to follow Jesus. The Believer is now spiritually alive unto Christ and enabled (by faith through Grace) to follow Jesus (Romans 6:11-14).
Sadly, for many, religion steps in and begins to present methods of man to “gain” what the Lord has already freely given the Believer…dominion over sin (Romans 6:14). We suddenly stop denying ourselves and begin relying on our self efforts to overcome the sin that so easily besets us. Unknowingly we are no longer following Jesus but following methods of man from the vanities of their own mind and sin begins to have dominion once again.
“The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
There is life and life more abundantly in Jesus Christ. He is the Source and His Cross the means by which all good things come to the Believer…but we must follow Him, and to follow Him, we must deny ourselves. Just because I was born in the United States, raised in a “good” family and believed that there was a God, did not mean I was saved. Growing up Jesus Christ was not my Lord and I had not accepted Him as my Savior. Shameful but true.
Praise be to God for that evangelist who may not have known or understood the “Message of the Cross” for Sanctification but knew It for Salvation and preached it boldly. He did not follow the Blood Moons, shemitahs or harbingers…he followed the Lord. The “Message of the Cross”, as many (myself included) have come to call it, IS the Gospel of Jesus Christ for both Salvation and Sanctification…it is the power of God to us who are saved. Be determined to know nothing else.
“For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
-Donna Clark Warren