Recently, I was able to get the first dose of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. I go back for the second April 21st. Then, I am told, I will need to wait a two additional weeks for it to have its full effect. In other words, God willing, by early May – I will be vaccinated. I will have had the full dose. I will be invincible against the virus. I will be able to truly live again. I will need to restock on Listerine strips because the mask is coming off.
I gotta tell you, though, days after getting the first shot – I feel vulnerable. I feel like I can live a little, but not much. I feel I can still get infected at any moment. I haven’t gotten the full dose, so I don’t feel like I can “let myself go” so to speak. Maybe I will feel a bit more powerful after shot number two. And then, hopefully, after the two week waiting period – ahhhhh. But right now? I feel helpless against the virus.
I find myself approaching the Christian life like this. Round One – When I first put my trust in Christ and learned the basics of walking with Him. I “got” a little bit of the Holy Spirit, but not like the BIG BOYS who are the real Christians. Round Two – I’ve served Jesus for a while. I’ve read the Bible through a time or two. I know where some key verses are located. I have shared my faith once or twice with unbelievers. I taught a class. I have done some church stuff, but still don’t have full access like those true saints; like those really good Christian people. My Holy Spirit dosage, so I presume, goes up and down based on my actions and spiritual maturity. I feel as if I will finally have it all together post-death. I feel like it will all be mine – the way it was intended – once I finally go to glory. Much like waiting a couple of weeks post second-dose, I feel like I need to wait until later to experience the full Christian life.
But that’s not what the Bible teaches. The Bible, particularly the book of Ephesians, teaches that once we trust Jesus – we have it all. Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus because they assumed they were only partial Christians. They weren’t like the Jews. They were “saved,” but didn’t get the full dose. They were loved, but not as loved as the Israelites. They were secure, as long as they didn’t slip up. They got the first dose of the vaccine, but Pfizer ran out before they could get the second. They got a little bit of the Spirit, but God saved the rest of it for His “special” people.
Paul, because he knows how destructive this thinking is, will have none of it. As a matter of fact, he spends the first three chapters tripping over himself to demonstrate how – at the moment of faith – everything was theirs. God doesn’t give a half dose to some and a full dose to some and a third of a dose to some and three-quarters of a dose to others. Oh no. When you believe on Jesus, everything is yours. There aren’t degrees of Christians. When you believe, yours is the fullness of God. The problem isn’t whether or not we get the full dose. The issue is whether or not we believe and receive what is already and completely ours.
You have full access to the fullness of God right now. It’s not based on what you have or haven’t done. It’s not based on how much church stuff you do or don’t know. It’s not based on whether you are a Jew or a Greek or an American or a Redneck or a Yankee. It’s based on what Jesus has done and your confidence in his finished and sufficient work on your behalf.
I am grateful for Pfizer. I am ready to be fully vaccinated. But I am oh so thankful Christianity doesn’t work like Pfizer. Enjoying and experiencing the fullness of God doesn’t come in stages. It comes – all of it – at faith. When you believe, you get the full dose.