This post is by my friend, Cameron Fultz. Cameron is author of several books, including Jesus Pictures and Spiritual Knowledge. Above all else, Cam desires to know Jesus in His death and resurrection.
How many have heard a gospel invitation to be saved from hell so you can go to heaven or to ask Jesus into your heart?
Do you recall the Bible passages used?
Do these sound familiar?
“You are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).
“I’m crucified with Christ, it is no longer I that lives, but Christ lives…” (Gal. 2:20).
“Our old self was crucified with Him” (Rom. 6:6).
Probably not. Who wants to come to Christ so they can die? Usually, the offer is to come to Christ so you can keep living in heaven with Him. But strangely, there is no verse saying “if you ask Jesus into your heart, you’ll go to heaven when you die.” Many come to Christ on that basis though.
Others are touched by the God who forgives them. They were God’s enemies and did horrible things, but God still laid down His life for them and forgives. That is certainly more biblical.
Romans 5:10 says, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
Being reconciled and forgiven is amazing! Yet Paul says there is more.
Typically, the gospel presentation baits us to come to Jesus; He will keep you out of hell and forgive you so you can be with Him in heaven someday. But it is not Bible.
Bible is what Ephesians 1:3 says, “all heavenly blessings are in Jesus.” John 17:3 says eternal life is knowing Jesus and His Father intimately. In Matthew 7:23 Jesus tells people who did signs, wonders, and prophecies to go away; He never intimately knew them.
Getting saved is not a J-train ticket to Thrill Land in Heaven so we can do what we always wanted…forever.
Coming to Jesus is coming to know Him, but–and here is the big BUT–you can’t know Him intimately as long as your psyche-life or soul-guided-life remains in charge.
Jesus said you can only follow Him if you ruin/destroy your psyche and take up your cross daily (Luke 9, Matthew 16).
You probably didn’t hear that verse either when you came to Jesus. The cross must be “taken up daily.” Why? Only the cross destroys/ruins the soul-guided-life! This is a lot more than just getting saved.
Romans 6:11 says we need to reckon or count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God.
When you got saved, you died. The micro-second you accepted Jesus, you got drawn into Jesus’s cross and became one with Him in death. It is how and why He forgives all your sins. The cross was an eternal moment that reverberated throughout time. In that split-second of turning to Him, He filled you with Himself, His life.
You died. What you call life is not yours to own. It is His life lived by His view. How many people told you that? You are supposed to be helped into this reality of knowing Christ according to His crucified nature; you learn to hear and be taught Jesus by the Holy Spirit alone. As you grow in this intimacy, you share the Jesus you know with others; they share Him back like a body circulating life. The result is love.
Our primary duty is to intimately know Christ. When we know Him, we share His mind and heart that self-empties, that goes lower and lower–even to death on a cross (Php. 2). That road is narrow, and isn’t easy. Those who reinterpret or ignore these action verses in the Bible are no different than the religious leaders of temple Judaism. They had all the correct doctrines and memorized all the right Bible verses but failed to do the key inward step: “come to Jesus for life” (John 5:40).
You do have to give up your psyche/soul life daily. That is the switch: your life for His. You really aren’t your own. The sooner you come to terms with that, the sooner you can truly know Him and experience, in this world, His eternal life. Then you can learn what it means to be saved by His life. You will learn what kind of life He has and how it is diametrically opposed to the kind of life you were born with.
Yes, both are life. But unless your soul-life is dealt with, you will spend your earthly existence hindering Christ’s life so you can live your own self-centered version of it. When you do leave this earth, what a shock it will be to see that LIFE moves in a trajectory opposite of yours!