Lives on Loan:
The Importance of Christian Stewardship
intersect, where the bible meets life
When People Ask, "Why Should I Be a Christian?"
So this guy says to me, “What’s the big deal about being a Christian? What’s in it for me?”
The best answer I know is found in the eighth chapter of Romans. If you can, open your Bible as you read the following.
If you want to know about me before I was a Christian, let’s just say that sin mangled me in its grip of guilt, bound me, and packaged me for death. But with Christ, the Spirit acquits me, frees me, and bathes me in life. We are free in Jesus (Romans 8:1-3).
Those selfish passions of mine once fueled my war with God. But now His Spirit is refitting my way of thinking to His. I can’t please God if my old self controls how I think. When my mind gives way to Christ’s mind, all the hostility between me and God stops. We have peace through Jesus (Romans 8:4-8).
Now a whole new life has found a home in me. God’s Spirit lives inside, and with His presence comes the sense that I really belong to Christ. What I share with my Lord is resurrection—just as surely as He came back from the dead, I have, too, and will again. We are alive because of Jesus (Romans 8:9-11).
In a way, though, I am still head over heels in debt. I owe God a life that says “yes” to Him all the time. What’s so amazing is that He has given me the very means to pay the debt: an inheritance with Christ! He adopted me into His family, and as God’s child I inherit with His Son Jesus. And that inheritance more than covers what I owe. Grace balances the account. We have family when we have Jesus (Romans 8:12-17).
Think about this, too. Creation itself can’t wait to see what we’ll look like dressed in redemption’s complete outfit. We sometimes forget that God’s plan includes matter as well as spirit, and that the nasty decay of this sin-choked world will turn into an extravaganza of the Spirit’s work in us put on display for the universe to see. We have hope in Jesus (Romans 8:18-25).
God also gives us an open door into His heart. John Bunyan said that the best prayers have more groans than words. That may be because words, by their very nature, limit what we can express to God. Sometimes, though, when we don’t know what words to use, the Spirit picks up on the other end for us and translates what we’re trying to say so it lines up with what God wants for us. We have help in Jesus (Romans 8:26-27).
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say. When I read Romans 8:28-30, I do get excited about all things working for our good. I believe His promise that we’ll be like Jesus one day, and that God knew ahead of time that He would call, justify, and glorify us. But the key here is God Himself. Just read these verses and put the stress on “his,” “he,” and “him” the 12 times Paul mentions the Lord with these pronouns. Then you’ll see what I mean. It’s all about Him! We have purpose because of Jesus (Romans 8:28-30).
H. P. Spafford said it this way in his great hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul.” Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control—that Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed His own blood for my soul.
And if God has given us His best gift, His own Son, without a doubt He’ll give us everything we need. The enemy can accuse us all he wants, but through Christ, our verdict is always, “not guilty.” We have everything through Jesus (Romans 8:31-34).
Can any paragraph anywhere in the Bible match these final words in Romans 8 that have braced missionaries, mourners, and martyrs through the ages? Bishop Handley Moule stood with friends in the Coliseum in Rome on a moonlit winter night years ago. They thought of the multitudes who had given their lives for the gospel on that very spot. Then from a small Testament, they read these very words, written by a man who fell to the executioner’s sword near that same place, and likely written to many of those same martyrs.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:35, 37).
Bishop Moule then gave thanks to “Him who loved us.” For those in Christ, the day will never dawn in this world or the next when He stops loving us. We are loved by Jesus (Romans 8:35-39).
“That’s what’s in it for you…if you want it,” I said to him.
Next Intersect: Bible Contradictions...Again! tackles the latest round of questions from biblical critics.
Intersect (Where the Bible Meets Life) is a regular column of ONE Magazine featuring Dr. Garnett Reid, a member of the Bible faculty at Free Will Baptist Bible College.