Growing up, you often quarreled with a neighborhood friend. As children often do, you got into petty squabbles and disagreements, sometimes escalating into bigger fights. Unfortunately, the two of you ended on bad terms.
Fast forward to adulthood, and you're out in the job market, trying to secure a position. One company catches your eye. You apply and are called in for an interview. You're both surprised and nervous to discover that your interviewer is none other than that old friend with whom you had such conflict.
As you sit across from him in the interview room, you're convinced that there's no way you'll get the job. However, your friend surprises you. He says, "I've forgiven you for our past disagreements. We were kids then. I believe in second chances." You’re relieved and grateful when he offers you the job.
As the months go by, an opportunity for a promotion comes up, but it won’t be easy. Promotions are based on job performance. You want it, so you put in extra hours, diligently complete tasks, and constantly strive to improve. After much hard work, that same boss calls you into that same office. You grin from ear to ear when he says you’ve earned his highest approval. You got the promotion.
For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28)
Just as your childhood friend forgave you for your past mistakes, God forgives us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His death on the cross and the shedding of His blood has brought about the forgiveness of sins for all who believe in Him. This is a gift of grace - it cannot be earned or bought, only received by faith in Christ.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Just like striving for the promotion in your job, discipleship is about seeking God's approval through diligent work and adherence to His teachings. It's not about earning salvation but about growing in your faith, deepening your relationship with God, and becoming more Christ-like in your actions. What’s more, if you strive for excellence in discipleship, there will be extra rewards waiting for you in Heaven.