Recently, I saw an irreverent bumper sticker that read: Jesus saves...you should invest.
Overlooking the disrespectful tone, I was struck by the unintended Biblical truth of this statement: Jesus saved us, so we are free to invest in eternity.
Many of us know the frustration of struggling financially, working hard in our jobs yet falling further behind financially. Living paycheck-to-paycheck leaves no room for emergency expenses, leading many to borrow to cover the shortfall. When we have no time or money to invest in our future, we stand little chance of improving our circumstances. We're so burdened by yesterday's obligations that we can't consider tomorrow's opportunities.
This same pattern holds true in our relationship to God. Before we knew the Lord and were saved by our faith in Christ, we were living paycheck-to-paycheck, spirtually speaking. Like all unbelievers, we assumed we could earn our entrance into Heaven (assuming we gave any thought to our eternal destiny).
Our spiritual life was entirely focused on the here and now, trying to atone for our sin and improve our "karma" by performing "good works" for God. Inevitably, we slipped up or gave into temptation, our "debt" increased again, and we set back our spiritual progress.
This hand-to-mouth approach to earning spiritual credit never gave us an assurance of salvation, because each day brought new failures, more guilt and the ever-present fear of coming up short on our judgment day. Certainly, investing in eternity was never a consideration; we were too busy paying off our debts.
Now consider how the Lord changed our spiritual finances. By living a sinless life and dying on the cross in our place, Jesus has completed all the work required to save us from the penalty of our sins.
As Paul wrote:
Our debt before God has been paid in full by the work of Christ on our behalf. Since our debt has been paid, we are no longer required to pay it ourselves.
Imagine if a rich uncle offered to pay all your bills and expenses - both today and forever in the future. How would such a gift change your focus in life? The time you previously used earning a living and paying those bills suddenly becomes available for other pursuits.
LIkewise, when Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross, He freed us to use our time in pursuit of other spiritual goals.
Biblically speaking, Christians are expected to use their days on earth to invest in their spiritual future. We do not perform our good works to obtain or secure our salvation; Christ has already completed the work of securing our salvation on the cross. Therefore, we can invest our time in glorfying the Lord with our bodies and building up others in the Church.
By these investments, we store up treasure for ourselvs in Heaven. Paul told Timothy to teach this very principle in the Church:
We must seek to become rich in good works, for by these works we store up for ourselves a good foundation for the future. This foundation is our future life in eternity, the real life we should seek and build.
Because Jesus saved us, we can invest in that future. Let's invest in that spiritual future together!
(If you're interested in learning more about the Bible's teaching on investing for your spiritual future, please listen to parts 1 and 2 of The Love of Money, from our teaching series on the Sovereignty of God.)