It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. – Romans 9:16
Our salvation and our transformation depend on God’s mercy. Completely. Unquestionably. It’s all up to God.
There are so many precious people in my life that I want for them to take full hold of what God is holding out for them to receive – fully and freely. Jesus offers God’s salvation and eternal life. There are so many precious ones that I love that are still without God’s assurance and peace in their lives. Some reject Jesus completely. Some dismiss or diminish Jesus as just a good teacher, a good man. Some set Jesus off to the side until He fits into their rhythm of life and lifestyle, or until their lives are suddenly turned upside down and they take Jesus off the shelf for awhile – at least until the crisis is over. My heart breaks for each one because they don’t know the absolutely all encompassing love and eternal hope Jesus offers – no matter what stage of life they’re in, no matter what state of mind they’re in. And I’m so thankful that their salvation does not depend on me. Not in any way. Not through any of my desires. Not through any of my efforts.
Oh, I am to desire salvation for each and every one of them. I am to desire that each would know God’s very best. I am to desire that each would know the joy that flows from an intimate love relationship with Jesus. I am to desire that each would know the full freedom that comes through the forgiveness of their sins and the assurance of eternal life because of Christ’s death and resurrection. And I am to make efforts – loving, sincere, compassionate, courageous, humble, vulnerable efforts – for others to know the fullness of God’s love and salvation that come only through Jesus. God’s Word declares that His enemy is defeated and His followers are triumphant “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11). So, yes! I am, as an ambassador of Christ, to bring God’s salvation message to the world. But! I am only a messenger. I am not the Master of the Message. Nor am I the one who gives life-saving mercy to those who will receive it.
Just as I want so many precious people in my life to know the salvation of Christ, so, too, do I want them to know the transformation Jesus offers – transformation and freedom, healing and power – to each of His followers right now, and not just on the other side of heaven. Many people, who have already accepted the eternal gift of Christ’s salvation, are still without any real transformation in their lives – in their minds, hearts, habits or relationships – as they live out their daily lives. For them, Jesus is more of a side note rather than their powerful Savior. Jesus is more of a luxury instead of their living Lord. My heart breaks for them because they don’t know the joy, hope, peace, power, passion and purpose that are fully and freely available to them. They do not know the sweetness and strength that come from being transformed into the likeness of Jesus more and more each day.
I am called to deeply desire and make efforts – loving, sincere, compassionate, courageous, humble, vulnerable efforts – for these precious ones, who are still bound and crippled, to know the amazing transformation that the living Christ offers them.
I am to celebrate and stand in the freedom and truth that each person’s transformation, like their salvation, depends on God’s mercy. It is all up to God. Not me. And this gives me great hope and peace because I know that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).