{Online Book Study} Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free Card

NathanWritten by: Nathan Hill

I grew up loving the game of monopoly. I can remember rainy summer days playing this exciting board game of real estate deals and collecting rent with my cousin and brother while my parents were at work. (It had to be the rainy days, because if it was sunny we’d be outside.) If you have ever played monopoly before, you would remember the get-out-of-jail-free card. Not huge in value, but enough of a perk to tuck away until you needed it. Easy enough to throw into the attempted deal to swindle Park Place out of your brother…or cousin…but I digress.

Sometimes we treat our faith in Christ as though it is a simple get-out-of-hell-free card, and perhaps this is why there is such a backlash against a literal understanding of hell in some segments of Christianity today. All of this focus on avoiding torment in the afterlife has caused us to give little thought to our present life. To the blessings in our present life. To the invisible spiritual changes that take place in the life of one who is faithful to God. It is far more valuable than a get-out-of-hell-free card. It’s a get-into-abundant-life-now card.

Priscilla Shirer reminds us of a passage in Ephesians 2:6-7

6and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

We have already been seated in heavenly places with God. I am not sure about you, but I’m sitting in a chair in my house right now, and I certainly hope that this is not all that heaven will be like. Yet, at the same time, we have access to something greater than we might realize, certainly greater than we can understand. There is an aspect of our invisible, spiritual selves that is sitting before Christ—right now.

Right now.

For me, that means two things. First, God sees me. All the time. It’s not like you can buy a few extra things and stash them away from your husband, only confessing when he finds them in your closet. No, it’s as though your husband was right there with you in the checkout line when you made the decision to purchase, and he knew right away. It is this dynamic of closeness that we have with Christ because in some mysterious spiritual sense, we are with him right now.

The second thing this means is that we have access to a great mentor and empowerer. The Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as the Spirit of Jesus by the gospel writer John, and we have direct access to the empowering Spirit. Discernment, self-control, the ability to hold it together in overwhelming situations—it’s there. Now, you might sense it more in your prayer closet or in a worship gathering, but it goes with you all the time.

As you consider this chapter of the book study this week, stop often and remind yourself that you are sitting in the presence of Jesus right now. Ask for what you need and he will be faithful.