The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. - John 10vv17-18.
One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today." - Luke 5vv17-26
In thinking about these passages, and about other ones like the raising of Lazarus from the dead, I can't help thinking about my own response to the power of Christ. If Christ can raise dead men and cure paralytics and rise from the dead himself - how then can I question my own saved-ness? (Okay, so that's not a word!) So often I find myself doing or thinking something disgusting and wrong and I can't see how I am possibly allowed to get away with it if I ask for forgiveness. But as Christ said in the second passage quoted above, he has proved his authority, his enormous power to forgive sins, so if he says he has forgiven me, who am I to doubt it?
Not so easy to get into my head sometimes, but it helps me when I really sit down and think about it. Being forgiven goes against almost everything you learn in life in this world. It is sometimes very hard to accept a gift like it; a crucial part of the accepting of the gift is your acknowledgement of your own unworthiness. But I have a feeling if there comes a time when I never doubt my own acceptance into God's family, the power of Christ will be able to flow so much more fully that I could really do some amazing things.
My brother-in-law was telling me once about a girl he was talking to at his work. She said, "I could never be a Christian because I hate all the don't-do-this stuff." He replied (and he thinks that the Holy Spirit really must have been talking through him as he couldn't come up with this sort of stuff on his own) that it's not so much about what you don't do, it's more about what you can do when you have God in your life. I really like that story.