43. Now hear Paul describing his conversion to the Galatian Christians: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach among the Gentiles…” -Galatians 1:15-16
Paul again uses the grace word to describe his conversion, and speaks plainly yet forcibly about the fact of God’s plan, as if saying, “God had this planned for me even when I was inside Momma - and when God thought the time was right He revealed His Son in me.” Paul clearly attributes his salvation to the grace of God, and saw God’s purpose in the direction his life had turned. One of the greatest moments for as I reflected upon God’s grace in my life was thanking God not only that I had been born again as a Christian, but also thanking Him that I had been born! It’s a wonderful life because of God! For more on God working in your life before you were born, read Psalm 139 and Jeremiah 1:5-8. If you have become a Christian thank God now for your birth and your new birth in Jesus, and God directing your steps between the two!
44. Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” -John 11:25-26
We come back to the gospel of John to see Jesus again laying it out for us – the believer will live and never die. She (Martha) stated her belief and reliance on Jesus right there and then! True believers have been born again (John 3:3) and will never die what Revelation 20:14-15 calls the second death – having to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. What a wonderful promise from Jesus. From this we can make a little riddle – “If you are only born once, you will die twice; but if you are born twice, you’ll only die once!” I trust Jesus to keep this promise to those who have trusted Him alone for their eternal salvation!
45. “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” -John 12:24-26
The wonderful truth that God saves us by His grace through our faith should lead us to look for fruit in our lives after our conversion. The church has always recognized that some people profess faith that don’t actually possess faith. True believers are characterized by serving Jesus and following Him. He has given them eternal life and He and His way becomes their life! As they grow in Him, they naturally imitate Him the way young children do their parents. Those who selfishly spurn His leadership in their life should not have assurance that they really are His children. The Holy Spirit living inside true believers will give them a desire to turn from things the Bible calls sin in their life. Let me make this observation as a Pastor, though – my experience has been that those who come to me struggling with the assurance of their salvation almost always are truly saved. Their desire to be sure is one of the fruits that they really have been born again. I have seen many others who smugly believe they are Christians who show absolutely no fruit in their life of genuine conversion. I fear for their souls!