“This saying is trustworthy: If we died with him, we will also live with him. If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we deny him, he will also deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:11-13 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/2ti.2.11-13.NET
Perhaps the greatest impediment to the American church is our understanding of the Christian life. It is assumed by most that what makes a person a Christian, what saves a person, is believing in the work of Jesus by saying a prayer of invitation to Jesus for His forgiveness of our sins and His presence to dwell within us. Certainly, we need to believe in the work of Jesus, that He died for our sins, paying a debt we can never pay through good works. He rose from the dead, proving His sacrifice was acceptable to the Father and positioning Him as Judge of all, able to pardon all people and grant them eternal life in His kingdom. Likewise, we must repent. We are sinful at birth and rebel against God and His ways, so we must confess this evil and stop doing it. Repentance is both acknowledgment of our wrongdoing and a cease-and-desist declaration of further engagement in that evil for which Christ was crucified. But Jesus, God with us, never told us to pray to be saved. God always told us to repent and follow Him. The Christian life is a continuous relationship with God Himself, where we become more like Him through obedience to His will. By daily seeking Jesus, living with Him, and doing His work in the world, the Great Commission, we experience Him and the suffering He endured while living on this earth. It is in this work of seeking and saving the lost the opportunity to deny Him exists, but the more we love Him, the more impossible that opportunity becomes. God in Jesus will return from heaven. He will create a new earth where He will reign forever with His people, who will likewise live forever. Those who live with Him on the new earth will be those who lived with Him on this earth by loving Him and working with Him to see His kingdom come, and His will be done here as it is in heaven.