I think sometimes we tend to try divorce Jesus from Discipleship. And what I mean by that, in light of the definition that a disciple is someone who brings all areas of their life to conformity with Jesus, is that we can easily say: “This Jesus guy is cool. I like what he says. I love this guy with my whole heart! But I’m gonna try do it without Him and see how that goes.”
Isn’t that how we tend to live our lives? Jesus teaches on sexual immorality and you’re; “Yes! No more porn & prostitution.” And then you go out and try to stop porn & prostitution in your own strength and then when your flesh fails you turn to God and say “Why have you forsaken me.” I think its important to realise that the reason why Jesus spoke the things he spoke, why he said the things he said, is that he was pointing to something Greater than Himself. I really think Jesus speaks into this in Mark 10, he says:
And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:26-27 ESV)
Now the Father & God are equal within the Trinity. The singular being of our triune God. And so when I say that Jesus was pointing towards something greater than himself, what I mean is that he was pointing to God. And so the understanding here is that when you’re trying to quit porn or to abandon your sin or to leave the servicing of prostitutes it: “No, with your own flesh it is impossible. But not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
If we could abandon sin without Christ then Jesus died for nothing. If somehow we could be sinless if not only cut back our sin, without Christ then Jesus died for nothing and our hope in Christ is useless and inherently null and void.
But that is not the case, because while we may be able to abstain from sin for days, weeks, months, years, decades, even till death. Sin is inherently wired in our DNA and it still has a hold of us. Abstinence can be like escaping from prison, you may be away from prison (the sin) in body but psychologically, it still has a hold on you and you’re still in.
And Jesus in pointing to something far greater as He says that on account of him taking your prison sentence you might not just be away from the sin in body but also that you would not be enslaved to sin psychologically. And so Jesus is not pointing towards abstinence that comes from the flesh, but towards salvation that comes from heaven.
That’s why Jesus doesn’t say he’s coming to change your life, he says he’s coming to give you a new one. He’s coming to give you His. He’s not changing you, he’s making you new. You’re not your old self with some minor or major differences, you’re a new being.
Just take a moment to reflect on the depth of that word: being. You’re completely new and different even deep down to the very fundamentals of your make up, your being.
And so the question I want to pose to you is this: Who’s saving you? And I guess as Christians we can just expect that it’s God and so we often let the depth of such words (or questions) escape us but let that not be this time. Jesus says in John 10:10;
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10 ESV)
Let his life be yours.