Imagine you're playing a game with your friends, and you break a rule. Everyone knows you did it, and you feel pretty bad. Breaking that rule means you have to sit in time out the rest of the game.
But then, one of your friends steps in and says they'll take the blame and sit in time out for you, so you don’t have to. Your friend's kindness makes it so that you’re not in trouble.
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1)
Believing in Jesus is like having that friend who takes the blame for you, except the friend is Jesus, and the blame is much bigger. Jesus takes away all our wrongdoings or sins when we believe in him. God then sees us as if we've never done anything wrong. This is called being "justified.” Our friend Jesus makes us free from the wrongs we've done. This change happens right when you believe and stays forever.
But what happens next? After your friend helps you out, you'd want to show them thanks, right? Maybe you'd also want to try really hard not to break any more rules in the game. That's like what happens after we believe in Jesus.
"It is God's will that you should be sanctified…” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
After we are justified or seen as not guilty, we start a new journey. This journey is called being "sanctified." It means we're trying to live better every day, just like trying not to break any more rules in the game. It's a process that involves saying "no" to wrong choices and saying "yes" to the things that God loves. It's like having Jesus as our best friend and guide, helping us to live better. We're secure in His love, but sanctification requires us to keep learning and growing in faith.
How is believing in Jesus like having a friend take the blame for you in a game?
Can you remember a time when you chose to do something good or right because of your love for Jesus?
What are some things you can do each day to help you live better, like Jesus wants you to?