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A good start in life
- Jacob Ninan
The best starting point in life is when we come to Christ--when we are made children of God, heirs in His kingdom and a whole new world of spiritual realities opens up for us. This, of course, decides our eternal destiny, whether we are going to be with God in heaven or with the devil in hell. But it will also decide the quality of the rest of our life on earth, whether it will be meaningful, fulfilling, useful, productive and joyful, or it will continue to be empty, meaningless, hopeless and valueless even if we have money, pleasures and all that can meet our carnal needs.
People who have made a decision for God must also make sure that they have made a good start in that direction. Different things are possible, such as that we are just imagining and fooling ourselves that we now belong to God or that even though we have come to God our life is still not what it should be. The reason for these situations may be that we haven't heard the truths correctly or fully, or that we may be relying more on our feelings or our limited experience than on what God has revealed to us in His word.
When God offers to translate those who belong to the devil's kingdom of darkness to His kingdom of light there are a few things He expects from our side. If we don't meet those criteria the most serious thing that can happen is that just as the guest without the wedding dress was thrown out of the king's feast we will finally find ourselves outside God's kingdom (Mt.12:11-13). Another result will be that our Christian life is always going to be substandard, making us wonder what the fuss was all about becoming a Christian!
The first requirement is that we must recognise and acknowledge that we are sinners in God's eyes who are without hope in ourselves. No amount of being good or doing good can save us. 'Salvation' which God offers through Jesus Christ is for sinners (Mk.2:17)! Those who even secretly think they are not 'sinners' will not receive this free gift of salvation (1Jn.1:8). Possibly a large number of so-called Christians fail on this count.
The second point is that we must know that God's gift of salvation is entirely undeserved for us. God is able to give us this gift freely only because Jesus has paid entirely for our salvation by dying in our place on the cross (Ro.5:6-8). This part of believing in Jesus has to be personal and coming from deep conviction in our heart.
The third point, which is really a test, is that our spontaneous response to this gift is a level of gratitude that compels us to love God and serve Him with everything in us (2Co.5:15:Ro.12:1). If this response is absent, it shows that our so-called conversion hasn't been genuine or deep enough.
God will receive everyone who comes to Him in Jesus' name, in the sense of welcoming him. But He will start working in that man's life to lead him to a genuine experience of conversion. If anyone finds himself short here, this is the time to set it right.