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The center of the Bible, the center of history, the center of my life and everything I do is the greatest news ever. It excites me like nothing else does. And when i say “excited”, I’m talking about you-just-won-the-50-mil-jackpot-lotto excitement. Allow me to explain by first mentioning the bad news so that we can really appreciate the good news.
Understanding the bad news makes the good news even better
If you asked most people, they would tell you that humanity as a whole is jacked-up. Yes, there are human beings that do amazing and creative things. Yes, there are people who see value in others and do things to help them. We can all agree, however, that everyone in the world has faults. None of us is perfect right? Every last person violates common moral standards. We lie when it’s convenient for us, we commit murder, we’re selfish, we’re racists, we have unhealthy sexual habits, we get violent, we’re greedy and materialistic, we have hate in our hearts, we establish corrupt and oppressive governmental systems…The list goes on and on. I’m sure you could think of more examples of our “jacked-upness”.
It gets worse. See, what the Christian faith says is that those “unspoken” common moral standards or laws that we know we constantly violate actually have a source: God. The reason there is a common moral law is that there is a moral law provider. The faith says that when we violate HIS law, it is equivalent to committing open rebellion against the highest authority. If we think about our governing laws here in the U.S., there are state laws for each state and there are federal laws for the country as a whole. Federal penalties are generally worse than state penalties for similar crimes. As the authority goes up, the penalties increase. The same is true spiritually, so imagine what it means to break the law of the HIGHEST court: God’s. It’s incredibly serious. The Bible explains that the penalty for breaking God’s law (also known as ‘committing sin’)…is death. I’m not overstating that and it is not a matter of interpreting the Bible in a certain way. Here are some clear verses from the bible.
“For the wages of sin is death…” — Romans 6:23a
“The soul who sins shall die…” — Ezekiel 18:20a
This death described in the Bible is both physical and spiritual. This death is an ultimate consequence of what sin does…separates us from God. In Isaiah 59:2 it says “But your iniquities (sin) have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen.” This is how serious God takes sin against Him.
This is why Jesus is SO VERY important
And now the center of the Christian faith: Romans 5:6-8 states that “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God put on display his great compassion and love for humanity by giving us a way to be reunited with Him and escape the penalty for breaking His law. In the analogy of a courtroom, we are the convicted criminals and God is the judge that has pronounced us guilty. The judge sentenced us to death but in the Christian faith, He takes our “rap sheet” and makes it His own while giving us His spotless record!!!! He has stepped down from the bench and offers the GIFT of taking our sentence. We get to walk away as if we never committed a crime while He gets treated as if He committed them ALL.
One of the most famous verses in the whole bible is John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” It’s famous because it’s a great summary of the central message of the Bible: The Gospel (good news) about Jesus Christ. When Jesus stepped into His ministry at age 30, he clearly emphasized this. Mark 1:15 records Him saying “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Jesus took the punishment for sin. But the work of God to provide a way back to Him is incomplete unless a monumental event happens: Jesus coming back from the dead, a.k.a. the Resurrection. The apostle Paul even went as far as saying that “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” and “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17). The reason the physical resurrection of Christ is important is that it gave proof of the total mastery that Jesus has over death. He predicted he would rise up like this in John 2:9. Paul wrote that over 500 people who were still living at the time of his writing witnessed the risen Christ (1 Corinthians 15:6).
Now What? What does this mean to me?
The last but EXTREMELY important point is about the ACTUAL WAY that someone crosses from death to life. It’s a simple but profound 2-piece combo: Believe in the Gospel mentioned above and turn toward God’s ways. 1) We must believe that Jesus, who was God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14), lived perfectly, was executed for our sin, then victoriously rose from the dead. 2) We must also embrace Him as the ruler and king of our lives, obeying his commands as citizens of His Kingdom.
Romans 10:9 says: “because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (repentance) and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead (faith), you will be saved.”
Whether you are hearing this message for the first time or have just come to a clearer understanding of it, I pray that you feel the weight and urgency to respond to it. Don’t delay having the most precious thing in life, a right relationship with God. That is the greatest thing you gain through accepting the free gift of being right with God through Jesus Christ.
Another monumental thing that people often miss about being reconciled with God is that you become a child of His through adoption. Ephesians 1:5 says:
“He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will”
When we receive God’s free gift, we become His adopted children, inheriting an incredible and diverse family of siblings. This family is called “the Church”. As the Church of Christ obeys God’s commands, we are empowered and unleashed together into to the world to remind people of God’s love. We are unleashed into the world to give people a taste of Heaven as we do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).
He has patiently waited this long for you but your time is limited. A delayed response is a rejection of this message. Experience life to the fullest right now! Taste and see that God is near and that He is good!! These words from Christ are so precious to me because I remember vividly when he did this in my own life.
John 14:23-24 says: “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.”
Thank you for reading this. If you’ve been a skeptic, it's a great step towards at least understanding this greatest of news. I pray that you are working towards finding out how legit this faith is for yourself.
Please, if you read this and want to accept God’s gift of salvation through Jesus, do not hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks again so very much for reading this blog post!!!!