The moments I treasure most in the ministry are the ones when kids ask about God or Jesus on their own, and I get to pray with them to ask Jesus as their Savior. I always struggle not to cry because they’re oh so adorable and sincere! Yet I know, as you all know, that their faith journey has just begun.
Christians – me included – like to say that all it takes to be saved is a simple prayer. What we really mean is, an easy way to profess our faith and belief in Jesus is through prayer. At least I hope that’s what we really mean because being saved is not simple or easy. Salvation is hard.
Okay, the first part is easy. We are saved by the grace of God through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). There is nothing we can do to earn salvation. Sweet! Less work for us. We only need to believe.
But the rest of it, this faith journey where we work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12), is hard.
We struggle to maintain our devotion time. We jump through hoops to make our schedule work with church, ministry meetings/training/responsibilities, and other church events. We have to power through sicknesses and financial troubles.
Of course we have faith that God provides, heals, blesses, and guides us everyday, but we also have to face our everyday realities.
It was harder for God to save us than heal us.
Have you noticed that?
When Jesus healed people in the Bible, He used spit and mud, his clothes, or mere words.
When Jesus saved the world, He had to DIE. Oh wait, first He was TORTURED, then He died. And then He conquered death by resurrecting to life.
Tell me what was easier to do.
When Jesus healed people, when they experienced miracles (like Peter walking on water), they needed faith.
That’s what we need to be saved. FAITH.
Friends, it’s the same faith.
The faith it takes for us to be saved is the same faith it takes for us to be healed. It is the same faith that gives us the power to walk in the power of God.
Pastor Greg Terry said that we tend to remember the front of the cross. Jesus hung there, struggling to breathe, thirsty, and dying. The front of the cross reminds us that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, by faith we can go to heaven.
But the back of the cross, the lashes Jesus endured, reminds us:
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
It’s really not just the back of the cross, or the back of Jesus. It’s the torture He went through. Those wounds -what an understatement – heals us. By faith.
So if we have faith for the front of the cross, we have faith for the back of the cross. It’s the same faith because it’s the same Jesus.
By faith in Jesus, we are saved and we are healed.
The same faith that saves us, heals our sickness, brokenness, financial troubles, and so much more.
The same faith that saves us, gives us power to walk and live in the power of God.
I wish that same faith makes life easier, but it doesn’t. The Bible flat out tells us that we will have struggles and face opposition because we are the children of God. But that same faith can make our everyday realities be filled with God’s power in undeniable ways.
Peter walked on water (Matthew 14:29). Paul and Silas’ prison doors flew open (Acts 16:25-26). Philip traveled by the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:26-40).
What would happen if we stopped underestimating our faith? What would happen if we truly believe that God can do anything through us? Just imagine! Go on. What would your story be like if you knew you were going to end up in the Faith Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11)? Would you be parting waters? Or walking on them? Healing the sick? Raising the dead? Conquering giants and enemies twice your size?
Now remember that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). Do you get it? Whatever you imagine doing for the glory of God, you can do! AND MORE! Don’t underestimate your faith, my friend, and get excited. God moves through you.
May you have a blessed Easter, celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! Glory to God!