The other day I was reading through the manuscript of my book, A Ronin’s Journey: The Road To Redemption. It’s been a five-year work in progress and the only book I’m not in a rush to publish.
It was written during a very painful 17 month period of my life. While I read through the pages, it felt like it was written by another person. It actually kind of is.
From the start of the book to Chapter 14, I wasn’t a Christian. That’s about 2/3rds of the book. The rest of the book is my baby steps as a new Christian.
Before And After
The months running up to that were filled with grief, trauma, suffering, and trying to process it all. It brought about a lot of introspective philosophical thought along with hard-bitten wisdom. It sounds a bit like Ecclesiastes to me now.
I’ll stay away from that tangent.
I don’t dwell on that time as much anymore. Though, I don’t want to forget the tough lessons I learned either.
There has been a change though. It happened on August 10, four years ago. You see, then I was “dead” with no real hope. Yet, there was a way out.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:1-7
I deserved all that was coming to me. But I was saved. Jesus said follow me, and I did. Once dead, I’m forever alive now.
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
2 Corinthians 5:16-19
The one who wrote the first part of the book is gone. His lessons remain. It feels like a lifetime ago as I stand here as a new creation. I am free.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
All the guilt and shame is gone. When it comes back from time to time, I remind it that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
Jesus says in John 8:36 that “‘if the Son sets you free, you’re free indeed.'” Are you tired of being enslaved by sin, guilt, shame, and bad choices? Searching for something and not finding it?
Our Circumstances May Be Different, Everyone Is Unique. However, He Says This To Everyone…
“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.”
If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and you are reading this, think about what he did and what it means to you. Then take John 3:16, look at someone, and say, “For God so loved (insert their name) that he gave his one and only Son, that if (their name) believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” In doing so, you take on God’s view of people.
If you are not a Christian, I would like you to say it a little differently.
“For God so loved me that he gave his one and only Son, that if I believe in him I shall not perish but have eternal life.”
You have value, significance, and can choose to believe. Romans 10:9-10 lays it out, declare with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you will be saved. It is with your heart that you’re justified before God. Then you will be a new person; the past does not have a hold on you anymore.
Will you make that decision?