Benefits Right Here. Right Now.
Ever feel like you have to wait until you get to heaven before you can cash in on the benefits of being a child of God? Yes, Heaven is, by all means, an experience all Christ-followers have to look forward to, but what are the benefits of having a relationship with Christ here in now?
Jesus understands that you’re experiencing real hardships, real pain, and real chaos in your life right now. That’s why He healed the blind, cured the lame, and made whole the broken-hearted people He encountered. He never refused to help anyone on the basis that they would experience complete healing and restoration in Heaven. While you won’t experience your best life right now―at least not on this side of eternity ―Christ declares in John 10:10 that He came so that we may have life and have it more abundantly. So what are the immediate benefits extended to disciples in this life?
#1 | God Clears Our Debt & Makes Us Rich!
This may not exactly be the monetary debt you head in mind. (Though God is capable of doing that as well!) The debt I’m speaking about here is the spiritual debt we owe God because of sin. When we repent and place our trust in God, all of our mistakes and sins are wiped away, and God instead credits us with Christ’s righteousness(Rom 4:24; 2 Cor 5:21). So we essentially go from spiritually poor (or po’ for some of y’all) to spiritually rich in that moment! On a practical level, you no longer have to live in shame, fear, or guilt concerning your past because God has pardoned your sins past, present, and future! [But keep in mind this isn’t a license to go sin all you want. (Rom 6:1-4)]
Can you imagine this from a monetary perspective?! That’s like paying all of your bills, coming into a huge dent later in life, making poor investments here and there, but at the end of the day still having enough money to cover all of that and live a wealthy lifestyle! Now flip that around and in place of “debt,” think “sin.” Substitute “money” with God’s “grace” and “forgiveness”! Now that’s rich!
#2 | God Adopts the Christian As His Child!
In an instant, we go from being dominated by Satan into a beloved child of God, completely by God’s grace alone (Eph 2:8-9)! You’re no longer an enemy to God because of your sin (Rom 5:21). Now you’re his beloved son or daughter and a fellow heir with Christ (Rom 8:17). You are loved as Christ is loved. You are seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Eph 2:6). You have access to all of God’s resources. You are free to petition God in prayer. God is in your corner, fighting your battles for you, preparing the way for you, supplying your every need, and being your strength. Your Heavenly Father knows you and loves you intimately, and you have the privilege of experiencing that love right now.
#3 | God Gives Us His Spirit!
When you become a Christian, you are immediately sealed with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God (Eph 1:13). God literally inhabits your soul, and transforms your heart, giving you entirely new affections for him and a desire to please the Lord (Ezk 36:26-27). He transforms you day-by-day, degree-by-degree to become more and more like Christ. He comforts you when you’re in despair, he warns you in danger, he teaches you the right way to go (John 14:26). He is the down payment God places in your heart to make you confidently aware of his working in your life now and the reality of your life in Heaven to come (2 Cor 1:22).
#4 | We Experience Freedom & Hope.
There’re so many painful, evil things that bind us and leave us feeling powerless in life: Experiences that lord over us and leave us feeling overwhelmed with despair and ashamed; Regrets that seize us and refuse to let us go. But Jesus breaks all of those chains. His love and forgiveness leave our accusers and strongholds bankrupt, weak, and empty. Because Christ makes us a new creation, we have every opportunity in Him to move forward, to forgive those who’ve hurt us, to forgive ourselves, to let go of fear and trust God’s love to be the vehicle that brings us out of our past and confidently into our future (2 Cor 5:17).
God loves each of us and wants to spend eternity with us, but He also wants us to find real purpose and meaning in the “four score and twenty years” we are given here. Being a Christ follower is about more than just getting into Heaven when we die. It’s about investing all He has entrusted to us in making a better life here on earth, in touching the lives of others with his love, in experiencing the joy of finding your true purpose by giving ourselves away.
If we listen carefully to Jesus when He reduces all the law and the prophets to “two great commandments” we hear Him say, finding the Kingdom of God is about two things: loving God and loving each other. If we can get these two things right, the whole “going to Heaven” thing will take care of itself.
#5 | We Can Know God’s Will & Purpose for Our Lives.
It seems obvious that if you want to know the heartbeat behind the creation, that you should connect with its creator. You won’t find anyone more passionate and knowledgeable about that handiwork than the one who made it! In the same Way, God created life in all living things as we know them! If you want to know the meaning of life or the significance of your existence, why not ask the One who made you? Do you think you know more about yourself than the One who knit and formed you in your mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13)? Don’t kid yourself! God reveals in His Word on a general level man’s purpose to bring Him glory, and He can and will reveal to you specifically your unique purpose in life (Exo 9:16; Pro 19:21). Through a relationship with God, you can know exactly how He wants you to use your talents, spiritual gifts, and even your most painful experiences to serve Him and in doing so please yourself as you live out your purpose (Php 2:12-13).
#6 | Our Identity and Worth is Rooted in Christ!
No one or nothing can ever separate you from the love of Christ (Rom 8:38-39)! His love is unconditional. As a child of God, you cannot lose your salvation (John 6:39). You can definitely interrupt your relationship with God by walking in sin and disobedience, but once you are saved you are His (John 10:7-28). Your worth is never undermined by your spiritual performance, the opinions of others, or anything else. Today, so many people are trying to find identity in the wrong places- their relationship status, their riches, skin color, affiliations, or even their sexual orientation. But as Christians, our identity is firmly rooted in Christ. He has given us worth, not the clothes we wear, the car we drive, or place we live. Christ alone. If you have repented of sin and placed your trust in Christ, you never have to fear rejection from God, because Christ has already removed the only basis of His rejection: sin.
#7 | The Church is Your Family.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, the same is true spiritually. It takes a community of other people who love God and want to honor Him with their lives to help you grow big and strong spiritually. That’s where the church comes in! The church is not a building, but a gathering of believers that worship God, learn His Word, love each other, and seek to live pleasing lives to God (Eph 2:19-22, 4:15-16). Personally, I’ve struggled with not having a Father growing up. Now through the church, I have tons of spiritual fathers, moms, sisters, and brothers! These days the church has a bad reputation among unbelievers, and I can’t say that is completely unwarranted. So many people have been hurt by the church, including myself. But just as a chain of restaurants may have a couple of locations that are not as professional, courteous, or delicious as others, not every single church is spiritually immature, worldly, or hypocritical. If you’re willing to find a healthy church, then you’ll experience a family like no other and you will grow spiritually by leaps and bounds with good gospel teaching!
#8 | We Can Experience God’s Peace.
If you’ve been living for a while, you know that true peace is hard to find. Christ gives us the strength to make it through all of our storms and hardships in life. Our joy doesn’t have to been held hostage by our circumstances, by our health, or by our bank accounts. His presence in our lives gives us the hope and the confidence that no matter what happens, Christ has our backs (Php 4:7). He’s going to keep us, comfort us, and keep our heads and our hearts from sinking beneath the tidal waves that hit us (Ps. 119:165; Isa 26:3).
If these are benefits you want to start experiencing right now, I encourage you to read the Gospel to find out how you can become a Christ follower and access them for yourself. If you’re already a Christian, but you haven’t been abiding in Christ and effectively experiencing these benefits for yourself I recommend beginning the daily habit of spending time with God. Learn more about how that will boost your spiritual growth right here!