I Give My Life to Jesus
by Jerry Gentry
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9).
"I give my life to Jesus." Millions make such a confession at some time in their lives. But exactly what does it mean? It is true that salvation is a free gift, conditional only upon that change of heart called repentance. "Repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15). "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph 2:9-10).
The Bible speaks of new converts, called "babes in Christ" (1Cor. 3:1). Those who are "in Christ" may stumble in sin, but in no way can or will these fall out "of Christ." They are saved, "in Christ" 100%, and the doctrine of eternal security keeps them saved. But these must grow in their new faith, "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Pet. 3:18), if they will let "no man take. . . [their] crown" (Rev. 3:11).
Jesus will at His coming "reward every man according to his works" (Matt. 16:27). Some will "have thou authority over ten cities," some "also over five cities" (Luk 19:17,19), and some, "who break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:19). He promises, "I will give unto every one of you according to your works" (Rev. 2:23). Of His own, He promised, "I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled" (John 17:12).
We all begin our Christian walk as mere "babes in Christ," if we will be honest with ourselves. We need nourishment in the Word, for the rest of our lives. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Mat. 4:4). We must learn not only how to talk the talk. Christianity is the living way. We must learn to walk the walk. How must the saved person live? What must he or she do? Is there a Bible program laid out, which teaches genuine "babes in Christ" to "walk in the Spirit, and. . . not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16)?
These are fair questions, which deserve Biblical answers.
"Abraham; who is the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16), teaches us a great lesson in how to "walk the walk," that is, how every Christian must "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12). Our walk in not to earn personal salvation. Our walk is the living testimony which we "work out" as a witness to others.
"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee" (Gen 12:1).
"So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him" (Gen 12:4).
Could such be said of you? "So Abram departed." God had said. Period. Therefore Abram, later renamed Abraham, obeyed. He trusted God, in an active, operative sense. Remember how later the angel had literally to drag Lot and his wife and two daughters out of Sodom? Lot was not so quick to obey, in an active, vigorous sense, as his uncle Abraham. Therefore Lot, though called "just," and even "righteous," is not listed in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter.
The big difference between these two men is summed up simply. Abrahams's faith led to single minded obedience. Lot's faith lacked singlemindedness and instant obedience. Abraham walked the high road of faith, while he "looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebr. 11:10). Lot wallowed in worldliness, distracted and even diverted, while he walked the low road. Abraham's crown will be full, with "a multitude in the midst of the earth" (Gen. 48:16), and "as the stars of heaven for multitude" (Deut. 1:10). Lot's crown will include only himself. Not even his wife and none of his children (with the possible exception of two daughters) will be in the kingdom. All of Lot's works were burned up. Abraham's works live yet today, even by the highest standards of Jesus Christ, who commands us all, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). Abraham's "good works" shine brightly today as we look into the life of this faithful man of God.
The Bible says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10).
So, Christian, you say, "I give my life to Jesus," well and good. Now what?
Look once again "unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged" (Isa 51:1).
"Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him" (v. 2).
Yes, look further into the life of "Abraham; who is the father of us all." And yes, ladies, look "unto Sarah that bare you."
"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am" (Gen. 22:1).
"And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of" (v. 2).
"And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him" (v. 3).
Note that Abraham rose up early in the morning. How many times in life, when we know we are facing a major trial, do we rise early to let God lead us through. Rather, how many times do we drag our feet, and protest that circumstances are not fair, not right. So we resist God's perfect will, and make excuses, even blame God at times, rather than yielding under his chastening rod. How many times do we grow bitter, even toward God, for allowing our distressing circumstances? Not so, our father Abraham.
"Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off" (v. 4).
"And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you" (v. 5).
Had Abraham previously told Sarah what he was up to? The indication is that Abraham alone knew what God required him to do, and not Isaac, nor his wife Sarah, nor the "young men," who had made the three day journey with him. They knew only that their master Abraham "and the lad will go yonder and worship." Any mother in her right mind would have protested immediately, had she known what her husband was about to do and what her son was about to face. This is Abraham's trial of faith, not Sarah's. Abraham now walks this road alone, with this beloved son Isaac, who carries the very wood for the burnt sacrifice. He has for three days now remembered the joy of dandling Isaac upon his knees as a baby and toddler. He has watched Isaac grow. He has eaten with him, talked with him, prayed with him. He is bonded bonded Isaac like no one else on earth. His heart yearns for his son, yet His God comes first, always, for Abraham.
"And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together" (v. 6).
"And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" (v. 7).
Abraham here, as God the Father later experienced when His own Son Jesus Christ was to be sacrificed, felt the most awful pit in his stomach, a deep groaning within his soul for his son Isaac. Yet, his faithfulness to God was greater than his love for his own son Isaac. He restrained his emotions, which were about to burst.
"And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together" (v. 8).
"And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood" (v. 9).
By now Isaac knows what his father is about to do. Yet there is no protest, no screaming, no resistance. His acceptance of God's will perfectly foreshadows that of Jesus Christ, who later "opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth" (Isa. 53:7).
"And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son" (v. 10).
"And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I" (v. 11).
"And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me" (v. 12).
"And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son" (v. 13).
"And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen" (v. 14).
"And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time" (v. 15).
"And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son" (v. 16).
"That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies" (v. 17).
"And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice" (v. 18).
"So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba" (v. 19).
Here Abraham had wholly yielded his life, and the life of his son Isaac, upon the altar of God, who said, "thou hast obeyed my voice." Is your faith active, as Abraham's? Or do you withhold your obedience, as did Lot? Before Isaac was conceived, the LORD had told Abraham:
"As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be" (Gen 17:15).
"And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her" (v. 16).
"Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?" (v. 17).
Later, Abraham and Sarah had three visitors, angels from the LORD, who once again confirmed the future birth of Isaac:
One of these angels "said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him" (Gen 18:10).
"Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women" (v. 11).
"Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" (v. 12).
"And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?" (v. 13).
"Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh" (v. 14).
"And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken" (Gen 21:1).
"And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me" (v. 6).
"And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age" (v. 7).
Isaac became the very memorial of the laughter of both his father Abraham and his mother Sarah. The very name "Isaac" means laughter.
The Bible is filled with many wonderful instructions to help the genuine saved believers on the way to spiritual maturity. For example, the Bible says, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1Pet. 2:2).
Reading the word, even memorizing various parts of it, along with meditation, is basic to the life of a genuine Christian. God spoke to Abraham directly and through angels. He speaks to you today through the words of the Holy Bible. Neglect of Bible reading, scripture memorization and meditation is the cause of many shipwrecks in the Christian walk.
"Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16).
"I give my life to Jesus," you say. It is a wonderful thing to do, the first step in a genuine Christian life. Where will you go from that point? If you will "walk the walk" you will as Abraham "rise early" in your obedience. When God calls your name, you too will say, "Here am I, LORD." Do you hear that call, today?
Of Abraham, God said: "Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws" (Gen. 26:5). Abraham's faith was active, operative, filled with good works. He believed God. He obeyed God, even to the point of giving up his beloved son Isaac. What will you give up, Christian, in obedience to God? If you will give your life to Jesus, what will you hold back?
"I give my life to Jesus," you say. Good, indeed! Then will you walk as Sarah walked, if you are a woman? Will you, as Sarah, obey the voice of your husband?
"Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement" (1Pet. 3:6).
Christian, you have said, "I give my life to Jesus." Now what?
If you have truly given your life to Jesus, then you are a child of Abraham. Your faith will bring you into obedience, as Abraham and Sarah, though they once laughed, they quickly obeyed.
An obedient heart is a heart that is truly given to Jesus. When you are yielded, you can in a special way bring forth good works, as evidence of your commitment. With a yielded, obedient heart, you can say, with Abraham and Sarah, and with special meaning: "I give my life to Jesus."