Two messages emerge repeatedly in Christian theology: 1.) You can’t do it on your own; you need the Savior who has entered your flesh to redeem you and 2.) As a response to his gift of salvation, give your best self to honor your Lord. The invitation to experience eternal life, to take Jesus into your life as though your life depends on it, now brings both messages together.
The reason we are relieved, not additionally afraid, that Jesus is our Judge is not that he’s similarly broken or indifferent to our imperfection, but that he’s our best hope. Rather than judge from a lofty acropolis, a demigod suspended somewhere between heaven and earth, he brought his divinity to earth. He may not have committed our sins, but he loved people who did. He knew their insecurities and the reality that they could be loving, kind, and generous in one moment and hateful, mean, and greedy the next. He knew what it was like to be pulled in 10 directions in the same moment, with each of those having valid reasons to demand his time, then him having to choose how to allocate it. He knew grief and joy and everything in between. His entering our flesh is what gives us hope for a time of Judgment, not fear. His willingness to die for others in the flesh gives us assurance for whenever we are judged.
Jesus’ invitation, however, does not stop with, “Let me redeem you from your fleshly sins.” It continues, “Let me put your fleshly self to work in the Kingdom of God right now. Enter eternal, abundant life right now.” He is not merely interested in saving us from nothingness and condemnation when we die. He wants to save us from those right now. He wants our lives to have the joy and assurance and meaning of eternal life right now and the surest way of that happening is to know him and learn from him and follow him and serve him with such commitment that it appears, for all the world, as though we realize our life depends on it.