By the Skin of Your Teeth?
Hanging on by the skin of your teeth? Not sure if you’ll make it after all these years? You are not alone! Many view God as the judge who at the end of their lives will pronounce judgement on them, either good, or bad. They often feel unworthy, uncertain and apprehensive, fearing judgement and its consequences - trembling at the prospect of failure.
When you were baptised you committed to a process that will eventually transform you from a temporary, mortal state to a spirit being with the divine nature of God for all eternity. That commitment may now seem a bit daunting when you understand the high standards God requires. He wants a quality result - you to be perfected in righteousness. The general perception of how that quality result can be achieved is through strict quality control measures that compare the finished product against a set standard. The product either meets the standard, or is rejected. That is how many picture God - the High Court judge who sorts the good from the bad. And indeed a number of scriptures do portray God in this way because He has the ultimate decision as to whether you enter the Kingdom, or not.
However, there is a lot more to ensuring a quality result than having quality controls at the end of the process which merely sort the good from the bad. There is a way of assuring a quality result from the beginning of the process that virtually eliminates any rejection at all. It is a method that has revolutionised manufacturing processes in recent decades and is called ‘quality assurance’. Instead of applying the standards at the end of the process, the standards are applied to the process itself to ensure that the quality of any product is assured. Every step of the process is carefully monitored and regular fail-safe checks are maintained to guarantee a high standard. There are virtually no rejects and manufacturers can confidently guarantee their products.
If conversion is viewed as a ‘quality assurance’ process then those who commit to it can be assured of success. The good news is that God is way ahead of the game. He invented the quality assurance process way before man did. His workmanship is of the highest standard and fully guaranteed. You are His work! One of the first things He did when you committed to the process was to install His guarantee in you.
That guarantee is far more meaningful and certain than any manufacturer’s guarantee on man-made products. That guarantee is the Holy Spirit which is the very essence of God Himself, the seed of His divine nature that is given to you at baptism, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 NKJV). He has given a pledge, or down payment, as an assurance that His promise of your eternal life will be fulfilled, “…ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
In addition that guarantee ensures your success. It is a guarantee in which you can have faith. All you have to do is add to that faith and your success is assured, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 1:3-11).
God is so confident of your success that He inspired Paul to talk as if those who have God’s Spirit are already saved and sitting in heavenly places with Christ, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Ephesians 2:4-6). On numerous occasions he talked in a similar manner to the saints, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18, see also Titus 3:5-6, and II Timothy 1:8-10).
He could talk this way because he had confidence in what God was doing. Every step of the process has been tried, tested and proven to be fail-safe. Jesus Christ, the Logos, a member of the God-head who divested himself of all power and glory to become a mortal man has tested the process for you. He was the pioneer of your salvation who was resurrected from the dead to prove the guarantee that God has given.
Although you may slip and slide and get knocked about in the process, do not be discouraged, or give up - go forward each day with confidence that God who started a good work in you will continue until Christ’s return (Philippians 1:6). He is hands-on in your life, being with you every step of the process.
Brethren, if you have been baptised and have God’s Spirit you can have confidence that you will succeed. There is no need to feel unworthy, uncertain, fearful of judgement or to tremble at the prospect of failure - you are called to success! You have God’s guarantee of that within you.