YES - When a person, through the drawing of the Holy Spirit, responds to the invitation to follow Jesus with a YES, things change immediately. Although the changes cannot always be seen, the affects are unmistakable.
1) Payment for Sin Is Applied to Our Lives - the sins (iniquities) of us all were laid upon Jesus. He became sin for us. His death was the substitute for ours. We should have been destroyed by God for our rebellion, but Jesus took our place. Isaiah 53:6 "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
2) We Become New - we receive a new heart, new mind, and new spirit. The Bible also describes this transformation as being born-again. We are first born of the flesh, and then through Jesus we are born of the spirit. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
3) We Receive a New Identity - as followers of Jesus we identify with Him and as His. We become part of the family of God; we are His children, both sons and daughters. We become part of God's kingdom; God is king and we are His people. We are become part of His church; Christ is the head and we are His missionaries.
4) We Receive His Family Name - Acts 11:26 "…and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch."
5) We Are Given Life - Ephesians 2:4-5 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
6) We Receive Hope - Romans 5:1-2 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God." Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
7) We Receive Provision - Matthew 6:25-34 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
8) We Receive Freedom - 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 "But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
9) We Receive a Father - Matthew 5:45 "… that you may be children of your Father in heaven." Matthew 6:14 "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." Matthew 7:11 "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"
10) We Are Given Eternal Life - God created us for eternity, but the corruption of sin caused death to our physical bodies. However, through Jesus, we are invited to spend eternity in heaven with Him. This life begins when we accept Jesus' invitation to follow Him. Our lives become fuller here on earth as we wait for Jesus to return. Matthew 19:29 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life."
11) The Holy Spirit Takes Residence in Us - God gives us His Spirit to live in us and empower us to live for His glory. When we are weak, the Holy Spirit enables us to be strong. When we are tempted, He gives us the strength to resist. When we are timid, He emboldens us. 1 Corinthians 3:16 "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?"
12) We Become His Possession - We are His! This is great news. Because we are His, and because He loves us, He will provide for all of our needs. He has our best interests at heart and will protect us. He is good and desires to see His people blessed. 1 Corinthians 6:19 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own…"
13) We Will Dwell in God's Perfection for all of Eternity - Revelation 21:1-5 "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'" Revelation 21:22-27 "I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life."
The benefits to following Jesus are too many to number. All of His goodness is now directed on those who follow Him. This does not mean that everything will be good in life, but that He will "never leave you or forsake you." In this life we may struggle, but God, the Redeemer of all, invites us into eternity with Him. There He will put to death all pain, suffering, crying, and evil. His goodness will outshine everything. He loves us so much that He invites us to follow him!
NO - Although the invitation to follow Jesus is extended to all, not all who are invited choose to accept. For those that reject Jesus' invitation there are many consequences that result. The following shows lists a few of those consequences:
1. Unforgiven – Those who reject Him do not receive forgiveness. John 20:22-23 "And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.'"
2. Does Not Know God – Those who reject his invitation do not know God or have Him as Father. 1 John 2:22-23 "Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also."
3. Responsible for Personal Payment for Sin
- Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
- Ezekiel 18:20 "The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him."
4. Remain Dead in Sin
- Ephesians 2:1-2 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient."
- Colossians 2:13 "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins…
5. Enemies of God
- Romans 5:10 "For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"
- Philippians 3:18-19 "For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things."
- Hebrews 10:26-29 "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?"
6. Objects of God's Anger
- Ephesians 2:3 "All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."
- John 3:36 "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them."
- Romans 2:5 "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed."
7. Identified with Satan
- John 8:44 "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
8. Without the Holy Spirit
- 1 Corinthians 12:3 "Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, 'Jesus be cursed,' and no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit."
9. Unable to Discern Spiritual Truth
- 1 Corinthians 2:14 "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."
10. Hardened by Sin
- Romans 11:7-8 "What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, 8as it is written: 'God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.'"
- 1 Timothy 3:12-13 "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived."
12. Turned over to Shameful Lusts
- Romans 1:24-26 "Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones."
- Ephesians 4:19 "Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more."
13. Remain Separated
- Ephesians 4: 17-18 "So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts."
14. Destined for the Lake of Fire
- Revelation 20:15 "If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."