We keep striving to improve ourselves or consistently spend more time in the gym, after practice or in the film room to make ourselves better. It’s a lot of striving, but does it bring satisfaction? What if there’s an easier way that actually brings release and freedom?
Over the next quarter, we’ll look at what it means to be free and a new creation through the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and how it is available to EVERYONE Through Christ.
Explore what it means to live out a faith that impacts EVERY part of life to deepen our relationship with Jesus and others. From embracing Everything in Christ, reaching Everyone Through Christ, acting Every Way Like Christ and living Every Day with Christ, each of these quarterly themes will shift our focus from the things of this world to the blessings in Christ.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
How do we continue? By understanding Everyone Through Christ has the chance for eternal life and can become a new creation.
There are times when we flub a play or run the wrong route or even, heaven forbid, make a basket for the other team. We’ve all messed up on the field or court and felt shame and disappointment. But we’ve also usually had a teammate who backs us up, gives us a pat on the shoulder and tells us it’s okay. Or a coach who has picked us up, covered for us and continued to believe in our abilities. Having someone who comes and covers our mistake and tells us we’re still okay makes all the difference in the world.
This happens in life, too. We’re hounded by disappointments, poor choices that have consequences, what ifs and looking back in regret. We can’t get it right, no matter how hard we try, and it churns and spins into a spiraling cycle we can’t seem to get out of.
God knows this. There’s this thing called sin that has slithered its way into the world from the very beginning of time. Genesis 3 tells the story of the first humans, Adam and Eve, who were made in the image of God.
The devil, who rebelled against God and was cast down from heaven to roam the earth, deceived them and nudged them to disobey God and eat the fruit God told them not to. And they fell, bringing all of humanity with them.
“The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” (Genesis 3:6-9)
But God had a plan all along that would involve the greatest rescue and redemption.
The good news is when we choose Jesus, we immediately become free and tucked safely in the strong and eternal arms of our Father. Nothing can snatch you out of His hands, and you can live in complete assurance that He will be with you, not just in this life, but forever.
Jesus’ love and sacrifice are personal.
Yes, Jesus came to save the entire world. But He also came for you. Personally. Your face was on His mind when He willingly came to earth to tackle the cross. He loves you deeply and wants nothing more than for you to accept Him as Savior and Lord of your life.
"If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved." (Romans 10:9-10)
God sent Jesus for us to be saved:
There is nothing we can do to earn entrance to heaven. In a try-harder world, our tendency is to work and strive and strain. But God says be still, and believe in the One He sent. Our sin leaves us helpless, but it’s because of Jesus’ sacrifice that we are reconciled to God. God, in His infinite care, wisdom and grace, has given us salvation as a gift. It’s free to us, but It cost Him everything to give His Son. We can receive and believe, and rest in His love that He has lavished on us.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
God has good things in store through our personal relationship with Christ. And within the fruit of the Holy Spirit, we have peace, patience, gentleness and goodness, among others. God is a good Father, and He has good things in store for His children. In His presence is our peace, and He is after our hearts. God desires relationship with us; He desires us to be near to Him and come to Him with all our needs. He will supply everything we need, everything that He knows is good for us.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Every good relationship involves growth. Intimacy brings people closer together, in vulnerability, trust and acceptance. Through relationship with Jesus, we learn what it’s like to be close to Him, what His heart beats for, and to live our lives to mimic His. God ultimately wants to shape us into the image of His Son, and by leaning into His Word, connecting with Him through prayer and surrounding ourselves with people who will build us up in Christ, we strengthen our spiritual muscles to learn and grow closer to God’s heart.
“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” (Philippians 1:9)
Like your teammate coming to your defense and encouraging you when you feel down, Jesus has already come to your defense and is always for you. God enables everyone through Christ to live full, joy-filled lives and walk in close connection.
Lift your eyes and fix your gaze on Jesus—He came for you. He redeemed you. You are forgiven. You are saved.