Serving the High Plains

Collateral effects on Christians

While traveling back from Albuquerque recently, our grandson reached into the backseat for something. Upon turning back forward, he bumped his covered insulated drink container. Because the container didn’t fit the cup holder snuggly, it made a loud clank and some drink spewed out through the straw at which time the automatic windshield wiper came on as if it were sprinkling outside.

While that seems eerie, it’s likely when clank startled me, I bumped the turn signal indicator, which has the wiper control mounted on its end. I’d call that a collateral effect of the clanking sound caused by the grandson’s maneuvers.

Every effect has a cause. Sometimes the results are expected, like getting burned when you touch a hot surface, and sometimes they’re not. Also, sometimes collateral effects are disastrous, and sometimes they’re beneficial.

Our salvation, or the alternate eternal outcome, is like that. God has clearly outlined how he wants us to live and if we do that, we get to have a blissful eternity with him (John 14:15-21; 1 John 3:1-3; 5:1-5, 13; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:1-8; 2:10). We can believe/know those promises are true because God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:13-20; Joshua 23:14-15).

God’s promise/guarantee of eternal life is only for those who obey him and, as stated in 1 John 5:3, obedience really isn’t burdensome. God doesn’t expect us to do the impossible to be saved.

Hence, anyone who can understand God’s word can reap the beneficial effects of salvation (Ephesians 1:3-14; Acts 5:32; 2:37-39; 22:16; 2 Kings 5:1-14; 1 Corinthians 10:12-13; I John 1:5-9).

Still, while we have the greatest advocate who wants us to receive the beneficial direct effects of salvation, we also have an adversary who doesn’t want anyone to go to heaven, although he’s already lost that cause (Hebrews 2:9-19; 7:22-25; 1 Peter 5:6-11).

So God provides the way out of temptation as well as continued cleansing for his children who fall into temptation despite our daily efforts to overcome it.

Our habitual behavior as Christians also can have positive or negative collateral effects. There’s a likelihood if we live in the light, always trying to avoid sin, our non-Christian family, friends and neighbors will see that and want to know more about it (1 Peter 2:11-12; 3:15-16, 1-2; 1 Corinthians 7:16).

On the other hand, if we live like the world, rather than in the light, we’ll be setting a negative example that’ll not only cost us our salvation, but also the salvation of others, both less mature Christians and some in the world who might have responded to a good example (Ephesians 4:30; 2 Peter 1:3-11; 2:20-22; 3:1-18). Some people will do that on purpose, thinking they can benefit from it personally (1 Timothy 6:3-10; Jude 1:3-4, 16; Matthew 15:8-14).

Are you living in the light to reap the direct benefits of salvation and cause some positive collateral effects as others see your good behavior that are treasures you’re laying up in heaven (Matthew 6:19-24; Revelation 14:13)?

Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan who writes about faith for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at [email protected].