stories and reflections of grace, growth and godliness

Coming To and Becoming Like Jesus

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Jesus welcomes anyone to come to Him. Even the small and insignificant members of society. Even those who feel unworthy of God’s blessings or are deemed so by others. Jesus’ invitation is issued to all. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).

Those who come to Jesus do so with absolutely nothing to merit their salvation. They are totally dependent on God’s grace, just like the children who came to Jesus to be blessed by Him (Mark 10:13-16). When people come to Jesus and believe in Him, right there and then, they receive from God eternal life and forgiveness of sins (John 6:37-40; Acts 10:43). They become children of God (John 1:12). In a very real sense, it is coming like children – without pride and inhibition – to Jesus. If you have yet to entrust yourself to Jesus, stop holding back, come home to Jesus today.

God’s people soon learn that they have been chosen by Him. Chosen not because we are good. Not because we are better than others. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Every one of us is a sinner. It is not primarily that we are sinners because we sin. Rather, we sin because we are sinners, born with a sinful nature. You and I are part of the fallen human race that has from the beginning exercised our free will to rebel against our Creator’s rightful rule over our lives. We have wilfully chosen to disobey God’s commands which were given for our provision and protection, our good and blessing. No sinner is worthy to live in God’s holy presence and enjoy His blessings.

Notwithstanding His people’s rebellion and disobedience, God chose them in an act of mercy and grace consistent with His character. Yet the Holy God is also supreme in justice and righteousness (Isaiah 5:16). Sinners cannot be accepted by God without first having their sins atoned for, their guilt extinguished. Under the Mosaic Law, there is no forgiveness of sins unless blood is shed through the sacrifice of a life (Hebrews 9:22). The penalty for sins must be paid before forgiveness can be received by the guilty ones. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was the Father’s Chosen One to be the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of God’s people. At the Father’s appointed time, Jesus willingly went to the cross, bearing all our sins and suffering unthinkable shame and unimaginable pain. His death on the cross paid the penalty for our sins. His resurrection to life on the third day secured our victory over sin and death. As a result, salvation and eternal life are ours, provided that we believe in Jesus – who He is and what He has done for us – and repent of our sins.

The Bible makes it very clear that we are justified, that is, declared to be righteous by God, on the basis of our faith in Jesus Christ. No one can be justified by his or her works, no matter how good and how many those works are in one’s lifetime. The Bible also make it very clear that faith in Christ cannot be separated from obedience to Christ. The person who trusts and loves the Lord will obey His commands and teaching. Therefore, a Christian’s progressive growth in Christlikeness in thought, word and deed is good evidence of one’s sincere faith in and genuine love for Jesus Christ. The Christian pilgrimage has always been one of becoming like Jesus. Are you a pilgrim on the way?

Written by Pastor Ivan Ho

We hope that you will check out the recommended resources below. May God bless you in your spiritual journey ahead.


SERMON

Kingdom of God”, by Rev Barney Lau: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/1582

SCRIPTURE

Psalm 103

Romans 3:9-28

Romans 5:1-11

Galatians 3:10-14

Ephesians 2:1-10

Philippians 3:4-9

Colossians 2:8-15


SONGS

Grace”, by Stuart Townend: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oygySsyFx3I

Flawless”, by Mercy Me: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wjLlLPZderk

Bridge”, by Casting Crowns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odxPj1_LuMQ

One Awkward Moment”, by Casting Crowns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_IBVPFvNVQ

The Strength to Let Go”, by Switchfoot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RaPd9nUoN0

Prodigal Soul”, by Switchfoot: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB6lA_zEEGs


ARTICLES

Is Salvation a Reward or a Gift? Yes.”, by Mark Jones: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/salvation-reward-gift/

(This article considers the question: Salvation – a gift of God’s grace or a reward for good works? What do you think? What does the Bible say?)

Cultivating Christlike Virtue in a Virtue-Signaling Age”, by Dustin Crowe: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/christlike-virtue-virtue-signaling-age/

(This article encourages Christians to grow in godly virtues based on the life and example of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ-following. Real. Genuine. Authentic. World-impacting.)

Ethics for the Digital Age”, by Jason Thacker: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/ethics-digital-age/

(How should ethics for technology be formulated? Should it be conceived from the popular opinions of the day? Or should it be based on the timeless truths in God’s Word? The ethical framework by which Christians make decisions in the digital age has great implications for how they are to relate with and do good to the people in their society.)

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