Jesus died to save sinners.
It is out of the love that he has for that he died. But it is also because he loves us that he didn’t die to keep us the same. When the gospel takes root in someone’s heart, part of the evidence for a sincere faith is a life that has been changed by the gospel.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
I used to enjoy watching a show as a kid called Rescue 911 which was a show that had reenactments of emergencies. But the reenactments often included portions of 911 calls (and later testimonies from the 911 operators). Often times, you’d see a reunion with the person and their rescuers at the end of a clip. I’m sure it’s natural for a person to want to thank the people who saved them. With the gospel, Jesus saved us from our sins, and it wasn’t just so we could say “thanks a lot,” and get back to our lives.
Jesus saves us from death but the relationship he invites us into in knowing him is an invitation to life.
Jesus didn’t die to keep us the same. That wouldn’t even make sense. Since our sin was so bad that our only way to God was through a savior, then why would he want us to stay the same? He rescued from the penalty of sin. And to realize that, how far off from God we were, and that Jesus has forgiven us, that should result in a transformed life.
James said: You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone (James 2:24). The point James is making is not to preach another gospel. But to claim to have faith and not live a life that reflects an inward faith might be an indication of a faith that isn’t real. The gospel changes lives. Faith without works works to show faith that doesn’t work.
That’s not to say we never struggle. We do. We’re sinful people. We might have several areas where we’re struggling when we come to faith. And that doesn’t all go away overnight. But more and more, there should be evidence of faith. You will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16).
2 Corinthians 3:18 is part of the reason why we know that faith necessarily leads to a transformed life. Because it’s the Holy Spirit who is working in us. Beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Jesus didn’t die to keep you the same. He loves you too much for that. If you have faith, and you’re struggling in an area, know that it doesn’t always have to be this way. There is hope. Walk with God, love for God, love God.
Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.