Enjoying Jeremy Walker's book, Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ (Reformation Heritage Books, 2013). Here are some of my highlighted excerpts...
If you will not look to Christ, then you cannot be saved. If you have not looked to Christ, then you are not saved. But if you will look to Christ, you must be saved. If you have looked to Christ, you are saved.
...there are many who doubt this offer. Some torture themselves with fears that perhaps, after all, they were not included in this grand invitation or encompassed by this gracious command.
The church is to believe this promise, both for ourselves—we are to trust Him exclusively—and for others—we are to offer Him universally. We are to put no human limitation on divine redemption. Christ makes no exceptions: He says to any sinner, man or woman, boy or girl, “Look to Me and be saved.” We are not to refuse Christ because of our sin when Christ has not refused us on account of it. It is sinners whom Christ has come to save.
We are to look—and leave the saving to a sovereign and merciful God.
The saved sinner is a person under assault. People often mistakenly assume that conversion means an end to spiritual battles. Although God in His mercy often grants the new believer a period of respite from strife and abounding joy, there is a real sense in which conversion is not so much the end of our battles as their beginning.
To lack food is terrible; to lack money is distressing; to lack health is miserable; to lack friends is tragic; but to lack Christ is to lack the greatest and most necessary good—it is the most awful situation imaginable.
To be “in Christ” is—in the very instant in which that is true—to be the inheritor of all that Jesus accomplished by His atoning death and glorious resurrection.
I do not mean by this that there are no more battles to fight, but that we have changed sides.
As we will see, the issue is not the outward circumstances of the conversion but the inward reality. The mark of being in Christ is the reality of the new creation, and a person can be born again under a gentle breeze as much as in a thundering storm. We do not need to undergo the kind of crisis that Saul of Tarsus experienced, but we must experience the same essential transition.
But we need to see and feel, truly to understand and appreciate the incongruity—the utter weirdness and wrongness—of being in Christ and walking in our old ways.
Let us not trust in educators, politicians, mystics, medics, moralists, philosophers, spiritualists, and scientists, though some may have their place. The new life in Christ is secured and advanced through the powerful entrance of the gospel, which effectively works in those who believe. Whoever comes to Christ in faith—repenting of his sins, seeing his misery without Christ, seeking grace to be in Christ—and earnestly desiring that one day he might see and be with Christ—will find Christ to be his Savior and Lord and will enter into the blessed realities of the new creation in himself now and look forward to a life in a new heaven and new earth with Christ in days to come, the very heaven of heaven.