Luke 19:10 (ESV)
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Why am I a Christian? John Stott has a marvelous book dedicated to this one question and it spans a whole seven chapters! You might find me sharing from his book, Why I Am a Christian, in the near future. In this post, however, I wish to share why I am a Christian.
I was raised in a Christian home. In fact, my father was a pastor (and still is by God’s grace), my mother was a wonderful portrait of a Proverbs 31 woman and a loving wife (and still is by God’s grace), and my siblings were also examples of godly women (and still are by God’s grace). So, I suppose you could say I was blessed with the right circumstances to become a Christian (John Stott noted that he encountered similar circumstances growing up in a Christian home in Why I Am a Christian). While it may be true that the circumstances to which I was born into, raised in, and have been saturated in served a tremendous role in my conversion this is not the whole truth as to why I am a Christian.
Actually, I could also add that the decision I made to follow and obey Christ does not constitute the complete reason as to why I am a Christian. Yes, it was a huge decision for me to make, but what brought me to make that decision? Rather, Who brought me to make that decision?
As the verse above reveals, it was not the blessed family I grew up in, it was not the church I was raised in, nor any other circumstance, and it was most certainly not the decision I made that made me a Christian. Ultimately, it was the grace of God in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ seeking me out in order to save me from my sin.
Jesus, in the Gospel of Luke, described his purpose for coming to earth very simply, “I came to seek and to save the lost.” The cost of this great salvation was his death on a cross to pay the penalty for my sin. As my representative, Jesus lived a sinless life in obedience to God and fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law of God. As my substitute, he bore the wrath of God upon himself, which I rightly deserved for my own sin. His work on the cross removes my sin and guilt before the eyes of God and I am reconciled to God having been cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. No longer am I dead
No longer am I dead in the trespasses and sins in which I once walked. No longer am I following the course of this world, nor am I following the prince of the power of the air, nor am I a son of disobedience. I no longer live in the passions of my flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and mind. No longer am I a child of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Instead, God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved me, even when I was dead in my trespasses, made me alive together with Christ– by grace I have been saved– and raised me up with him and seated me with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward me in Christ Jesus. For by grace I have been saved through faith. And this is not of my own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that I may not boast. For I am his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that I should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1–10 replacing the plural pronouns with first person singular pronouns).
This was the experience of everyone who is a Christian now. For me, it is the most humbling thing in the world to know the words of Jesus in Luke 19:10. He came to seek and to save the lost. I was once lost, but now I am found in Christ!
Most of you know that I love hymns and it behooves me to share a hymn by Horatio Bonar. His hymn, Not What These Hands Have Done, summarizes my story well. It was not that I found Christ while I was lost, but that he sought to find me in my lost estate and bring me to the cross of his salvation.
Not what my hands have done
can save my guilty soul;
not what my toiling flesh has borne
can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do
can give me peace with God;
not all my prayers and sighs and tears
can bear my awful load.
Your voice alone, O Lord,
can speak to me of grace;
your power alone, O Son of God,
can all my sin erase.
No other work but yours,
no other blood will do;
no strength but that which is divine
can bear me safely through.
I praise the Christ of God;
I rest on love divine;
and with unfaltering lip and heart
I call this Savior mine.
My Lord has saved my life
and freely pardon gives;
I love because he first loved me,
I live because he lives.