Sometimes in life, we make decisions that have tremendously massive implications. My decision to go to Moody Bible Institute for college directly impacted who I am married to, me living in California, having this youth pastor job, and will impact the future family I will have. My adult life thus far has been largely guided and hinged on the single decision to attend Moody for school. But there is no greater decision that a person could make than to decide to truly follow Jesus. Over the last two weeks, we’ve been answering the question what exactly it means to be a Christian and we started with two essentials you must know and believe: sinners need to be saved and Jesus saves. If you do choose to accept Jesus as the Lord of your life, now what? What is the real impact of the decision to give Jesus your life? Let’s find out…
Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” The phrase “justified through faith” is monumental. Justice is paid, you are made right, you are made holy in the sight of God NOT by reading your Bible, going to church, trying to be good, and trying your best to avoid sin. Saved by faith alone. This verse gives us some major relief - phew!
Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” Could you imagine being on death row for a terrible crime you know you committed? And as you are being sat down and strapped into an electric chair, the judge who rightfully gave you that sentence came sprinting down the hall screaming “NOT GUILTY!” That’s what this verse is essentially saying. For those who are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation - you are seen as “not guilty” by God, when you are clearly guilty of sin. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the power to forgive and cover all of your sins.
Another verse that speaks to the impact of your decision to follow Jesus, Mark 8:34-35. Here, Jesus talks about the cost of following Him:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the Gospel will save it.”
Jesus says that we must be willing to give up our entire life to be His disciple. On one hand, only by faith can you be saved - on the other hand, following Jesus will cost your entire life. When you fully realize your total need, and accept the even more powerful, deep love God has for you - giving your life to Him is the very least you could do. We should fully desire to live a fully devoted life to God - not out of earning anything, but out of total appreciation and obedience. Jesus shouldn’t be a bullet point on a checklist of most important things in your life - He should BE your life - where everything that is important to you is a bullet point that points back to Jesus.
What is the impact of the decision to follow Jesus? If you believe, you are both saved and changed. Spiritually, you are saved by your faith in Jesus alone and are fully seen as not guilty by God. Your life is completely impacted because you are no longer living for yourself, but desiring to fully live for Jesus and to make His name known. The decision to follow Jesus is not one that you forget about - it’s not a momentary choice, that fades off into nothingness. That’s not how it works. If you truly believe and accept - you are saved and your life is completely changed - and there’s no decision you could ever make that would make a bigger impact on your life than that.