There seems to be an ongoing debate in evangelicalism today concerning salvation. Well okay, several, but I want to discuss one out that tends to polarize Christians in America and one that I run into here in the South quite a bit. Are Christians “sinners saved by grace”? Or are we “children of the King”? The answer is yes!
We are both sinners saved by the wonderful, unmerited grace of God through faith in Christ. That faith also being a gift from God Himself (Eph 2:8). We are also adopted by the King upon salvation making us co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17a). I think the big problem arises when we try to emphasize one over the other. Or worse, pit one position against the other.
There are ditches on both sides of this road! If we only see ourselves as disgusting, pitiful, powerless sinners we have a tendency to forget the majesty of Christ and the fact that not only are our sins forgiven, but His righteousness is imputed to us (2 Cor 5:21). Therefore God sees us as blameless before Him. We forget that Christ Himself is interceding for us (Rom 8:34). Think about that. Jesus is praying for you! Forgetting these truths, and many others, leads a lot of times to despair when we have a recurring sin issue or just a hard time. It can lead to depression, despair, and constantly beating yourself up. It’s not you. It’s all about Him!
The other ditch is when we see ourselves as a “child of the King,” often times throwing that phrase around as if that entitles us to earthly, material blessings. I hear this a lot when people are expecting God to unload financial wealth, physical health, and over-all ease of life on them because they used the correct formula (which ever formula is popular at that time). If you come to Christ in order to receive anything but Christ Himself, then that thing is your god, not Jesus. The Gospel (good news) is that we, who deserve Hell, get God (Rom 6:23)!
and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. – Romans 8:17
God allows pain and suffering for His children. Why? Not wrath or punishment, but discipline (sometimes) and because He loves us (always). He allows these things to break the chains of addiction, materialism, pride, etc., and bring us into deep fellowship with Him (2 Cor 1:5-10), which should be our deepest desire anyway. When we hurt, we should run to our loving father, not to have Him remove circumstances, but to have the God of all comfort (2 Cor 1:3) console us. When we try to opt out of every kind of pain, suffering, or difficulty we are opting out of God’s great love and pursuit of us! It’s not you. It’s all about Him!
Remembering all these things together will help us stay in a biblical balance for our Christian walk with God. I am a sinner saved by the beautiful grace of God and by His grace He has made me his son that I may be with Him and enjoy His presence forever (2 Cor 5:17-20)! Praise Him!