There is something, which makes Christianity more than a religion, more than an ethic, and more than the idle dream of the sentimental idealist. It is this something, which makes it relevant to each one of us right now as a contemporary experience. It is the fact that Christ Himself is the very life content of the Christian faith. It is He who makes it “tick.” “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (I Thessalonians 5:24). The One who calls you is the One who does that to which He calls you. “For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). He is Himself the very dynamic of all His demands.
Christ did not die simply that you might be saved from a bad conscience, or even to remove the stain of past failure, but to “clear the decks” for divine action. You have been told that Christ died to save you. This is gloriously true in a very limited, though vital sense. In Romans 5:10 we read, “If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” The Lord Jesus Christ therefore ministers to you in two distinct ways – He reconciles you to God by His death, and He saves you by His life.
This, however, is but the beginning of the story, “for if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, (now an accomplished fact,) we shall be saved (as a continuing process) by His life” (Romans 5:10). The glorious fact of the matter is this no sooner has God reconciled to Himself the man who has responded to His call, than He re-imparts to him, as a forgiven sinner, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and this restoration to him of the Holy Spirit constitutes what the Bible calls regeneration, or new birth. Titus 3:5 and 6, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.”
From: Major Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House. ©1961