A friend of mine, posted a wonderful reflection on Facebook about what we get when we choose to respond to Jesus and become a Christian. He said, “We get peace with God,” and he quoted Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” But actually, this is just one of the many amazing benefits of being a Christian.
The problem is, as my friend Chris Dunagan pointed out, the benefits of being a Christian can be like “unpacked moving boxes.” You have them in your garage but you don’t experience them. Why? Because they’re unpacked! We need to gain more fully and understand more fully all the benefits of being a Christian. If you need to know more about what a Christian is and how to become a Christian, here is an article that talks about this:
What keeps me from realizing my benefits?
I’ve asked this question on behalf of many readers, “How can I gain more fully all the benefits of being a Christian?” because there is a need that exists. It is a need for more understanding about what a relationship with Jesus brings into our lives. Like having unopened moving boxes, some people aren’t deriving all the benefits they could from having chosen to follow Jesus. Some of the benefits remain unopened for them.
For example, I have noticed a tendency in people to keep apologizing to God for the same things from their past again and again. I’ve done it myself, as if God didn’t hear the first time.
Jesus died for sin so you don’t have to
But, I’ve learned over the years that this is unnecessary. If we really believe that Jesus died for our sins and that there is “power in His shed blood” to wash away our sin completely, then repetition after sincere repentance implies that we still think WE are making ourselves right with God, not Jesus.
However, 1 John 2:2 tells us what Jesus did for us. “He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (Berean Study Bible) I like the emphasis of this Bible “he Himself,” meaning Jesus. Some Bibles use the word “propitiation.” He is the propitiation for our sins. It is just another way of saying “Jesus paid the due price for our sin.” He appeased the anger of God against sin. We don’t have to if we believe in Jesus’ finished work done for us.
A Bible story that illustrates this
A sermon that has always stayed in my heart about this issue of really letting Jesus cover our sins with His forgiveness and then letting go of them was given by Pastor Jim Cymbala at the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church.
He told the story, from Genesis 50, of Joseph’s brothers. After their father Jacob died, they were still very wary of their brother, Joseph, because they had sold him into slavery when he was a teenager. At this point, he was 2nd in command in Egypt. They expected him to take revenge without their father being around any longer.
The brothers sent a message to Joseph to forgive them for treating him so badly. But when Joseph got the message he wept. Why? Because he HAD ALREADY forgiven them. Now, they were turning back to him with suspicion that he was not trustworthy and they thought they needed to placate him further. It was a smear on his character and heart.
Of course, if we do commit a fresh sin, we should ask for forgiveness for that sin. However, we remain in right standing, forgiven and set free for eternity, if we have believed Jesus and taken His death and resurrection as being applied to us.
We are sometimes like Joseph’s brothers
Pastor Cymbala told this story in relationship to a woman in his church, a leader, who kept going back and remembering her very bad mistakes in young adulthood. Pastor Cymbala said he told her, “Didn’t you repent of those things? They happened years ago. Why do you keep bringing them up and tormenting yourself with them?”
And he said to the congregation, “Don’t you think it hurts Jesus’ feelings just as Joseph’s brothers hurt Joseph’s heart when you keep apologizing for the same things you already sincerely apologized for? You show you don’t really think Jesus’ atonement was effective enough. His grace and forgiveness are not something you put stock in. You’ve got to do a DIY – do it yourself. And that is unbelief, a failure to accept God’s grace, and a great roadblock to fully realizing all the benefits of being a Christian.
What are the benefits of knowing Jesus?
So, the point is, we have to let go of shame and guilt. They are not worthy offerings to God. He doesn’t want them. Instead, He wants us to believe that what Jesus did on the cross – dying for us – is the only effective “stain remover.” That is what takes away our sins. And if we, once and for all, accept that and pry our fingers and minds off the past, we’ll be light and free, ready to have the power and love of God pour freely through us.
In an article on the Kingdom Bloggers website, guest poster, Aminata Coote, wrote about “9 Amazing Benefits of Being a Christian.” She included a list of 22 characteristics of a “child of God.” When you become a Christian, you’re supernaturally enabled to do and be many things, She included “hate evil, endure tribulation, love without hypocrisy, and show brotherly love” on her long list of new character traits that come from Jesus to us.
We have so much in Christ Jesus
A changed character that is more godly is a TREMENDOUS benefit and blessing. But there is MORE! Ephesians 1:3 describes what we have once we receive Christ and choose to follow Him:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Do you hear that?
We enter into a realm where emotional stability, physical healing, and permanent deliverance from mental oppression are possible. Supernatural joy can be our steady diet. Scripture tells us we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6), that the power in us is like the power that raised Jesus from the dead (Eph. 1:19-20), and that we are now “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
The best gift of all
But now, going back to the first verse I shared, we have peace with God, intimate relationship with Him and eternal life forever through Jesus Christ when we trust and believe Him as our Savior. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)
Is that not the best of all? We have God through Christ as our Father and our Friend, forever. Ask God to clear from your mind whatever debris from the past that still remains. Place your thoughts squarely on the love and grace of God. Focus is everything! Focus on God’s goodness so you can unpack the rest of the unopened boxes of God’s great gifts to His children. You’re meant to flow in the River of His love and life.
Psalm 36 and the river of delights
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. (Psalm 36:7-9 NIV)
Let God give you all that He wants to give you.
To see more scriptures about the benefits of being a Christian, you may enjoy this article: 23 Bible Verses about Benefits of Faith in Christ.
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