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Pointers along the way #708

The harsh realities of life

- Jacob Ninan

When man fell, God's plan of salvation was to restore him to the position he lost, which he could have had if he had not sinned. To understand that, let us look at Adam and Eve before the Fall. They had the option of eating from the tree of life or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Fall resulted from making the wrong choice. As a result they became independent of God and had to fend for themselves against the odds that were now against them. They could have made the right choice, and then they could have lived for forever enjoying the benefits of good choices. The tree of life was not just about living forever, but the main thing was that they could have the life of God in them. Obviously, they would have had to make many other choices down the line, but by eating from the tree of life, the life of God would have helped them to make the right choices. So we must understand that salvation includes bringing us to the place where we receive the life of God in us and start making the right choices. It is not merely about forgiving our sins, after which we would go on doing whatever we wanted! This is where the preaching of the Gospel has failed. Nowadays there is hardly any mention of turning away from sin and living according to the life of God within us.

Many people, after hearing only the gospel of forgiveness, think that now God is going to provide everything for them and give them a most comfortable life on earth. But the stark reality that hits them soon is that life on earth is harsh in so many ways. In every situation we have to make choices between living according to the life of God in us or pleasing ourselves. That is why Jesus described the life of a disciple as having the carry his cross daily and to deny himself in order to follow Him (Lk.9:23,24). People are confused when hardship of various types come to them, because they had been expecting God to protect them from all that! Instead of recognising that these hardships are tests where we have to exercise our choice between being pleasing to God and pleasing ourselves, first in our heart and then in action, we feel like complaining to God and others. Instead of seeking to make the right choices, we seek deliverance from problems!

The New Testament is full of warnings about trials coming in our way, even of a fiery type! The aim of these warnings is to prepare us mentally to face them and also to remind us that overcoming in these trials and standing true to our faith is what will be gainful (rewarding) for us from the point of view of eternity.

This cannot be accomplished in our lives if we don't understand this is the purpose of our life on earth, and also if this is not the primary goal of our life. Even compared to the goal of completing the ministry God has entrusted to us, this goal of personally being faithful to the Lord in every aspect of our life has to grip us more. This emphasis is missing in preaching and personal lives.


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