“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). We often hear that our salvation is free. God has given it to us with no strings attached and we can have confidence of redemption through His blood.
However, we need to realize that while salvation has been given to us for free, it came with a very hefty price that Christ had to pay. And while God does not deprive us of heaven if we do not give back to Him, we ought to want to give back to Him out of pure gratitude and love because if we think about it, we really do owe Him everything.
But it’s difficult, isn’t it? Even though we have received this precious gift and really do treasure it—even though we desire to serve God and make Him known to the world, the action of fully availing ourselves without reserve is not easy. There’s a part of us that holds us back. We hesitate to say to God with full abandon, “Here I am. Send me!”
At Trinity Methodist Church Penang this past Sunday, Dr. Chang Chee Jia spoke about how we can have a greater depth of understanding of how God can propel each one of us to tell of His salvation plan, through Christ, to others.
1. God’s Son gives us purpose in this earthly life.
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:1-3).
Christ was sent into the world so that we can have a means to be saved for eternal life with Him. Before He ascended, He gave us the Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything [He has] commanded” (Matthew 28: 19-20).
As Jesus’ disciples, we have a purpose in this earthly life before we go to see Him face to face. Our mission is very clear, but we often shy away from telling our friends and relatives about God. We are not very bold when it comes to going and telling about Jesus.
In many ways, we are like Nicodemus. In John 3:2, Nicodemus says to Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Nicodemus had witnessed Jesus perform miracles. He realized that Jesus came from God. Yet, he went to meet with Jesus under the cover of night, because he feared the ruling Jewish council. He had seen Jesus from afar, but had never had a personal encounter with Him.
Similarly with us, we know we have been forgiven of our sins, yet we have not truly experienced Him in our lives. Because of that, God is impersonal to us. We have head knowledge, but insufficient time spent with Him to experience Him and let Him burn within our hearts. Like Nicodemus, we have doubt, and lack courage. In order to make that personal connection with God, we need to know what it is like to experience God’s Spirit in us.
2. God’s Holy Spirit gives us power and peace.
At the moment of salvation, each one of us received the Holy Spirit to dwell within our hearts. The same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us (Romans 8:11). The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children are therefore heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17).
Before we accepted Jesus as our Saviour, our spirit was controlled by the Prince of this world, and we were therefore in bondage to fear. However, now that we have received the Holy Spirit, we are no longer slaves to fear, for He has broken that bondage and we have spiritual freedom in the Spirit to call God our Father.
Just as children depend on and trust their parents for protection, we can depend on God and trust Him with our lives. God could not bear to see us living separately from Him for all of eternity and so He sent Jesus to be our mediator. Therefore, we have no fear in Him, but boldness and confidence to face whatever comes our way.
If and when we fear people, objects, or circumstances, we must be alert, because fear does not come from God. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you,” He said (John 14:27). In this peace, there is no such thing as fear, but full confidence in Christ. Still, we do not have the courage to say, “Here I am. Send me!” So what does it take? What was it that made Isaiah say that to God so willingly?
3. God’s holiness propels us to tell Christ’s story.
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6: 1-8)
In Exodus 33:20, God tells Moses that “no one may see me and live.” This was recorded in Scripture and passed on through the generations. When Isaiah saw God in all His glory and heard the angels saying “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty,” his immediate reaction was “Woe to me! I am ruined!” In other words, “I am a dead man.”
Isaiah instantaneously realized the chasm between human sinfulness and God’s Holiness. His sin reduced him to fear for his life before a holy, holy, holy God. But as he braced himself for execution, the unexpected happened. A Seraph touched a burning coal to his mouth and said, “your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Imagine his great relief! In that moment, his fear of death was transformed into fullness of life through redemption. He was immediately relieved of his sin and fear—his burden was taken away. Enveloped by God’s holy presence and unconditional love, his automatic response when he heard God asking “Whom shall I send?” was “Here I am. Send me!”
In God’s holy presence, He opens up our eyes to see His holy Kingdom. We know the end and what it will be like for us in eternity with Him in Heaven. God’s infinite holiness and purity draws us unto Him in awe, and that propels us to go and tell Christ story with boldness and full confidence with compassion and divine love.
Knowing that our citizenship is in Heaven, we can be filled with God’s very being from the inside out—His holiness permeates our whole being, His holy fire burns through us, and His will will be done on earth as it is in Heaven! We will automatically go and tell Christ’s story. We will tell God willingly and obediently, “Here I am. Send me!”
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