Jesus, People, Sin & Salvation
For the record, I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, co-equal with God the Father. I believe he lived a sinless life, teaching people the true potential of a human life surrendered to the Spirit of God and offering himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. I believe he became alive again after being dead for three days to demonstrate his power over sin and death. I believe he’s the head of the church and the only way to God and eternal life. I believe he went to heaven and now sits at the right hand of God until the time when he will return to judge the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords. If you want me to give you some Bible verses to back up all of these beliefs, there are loads. Here are some for starters: Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:22-23; John 1:1-5; 14:6-30; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 1:3-4; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Timothy 6:14-15; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 4:14-15.
I believe people were created to exist forever. I believe we’ll either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally united with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is hell. To be eternally united with God is heaven. I believe heaven and hell are real places where real people will really go.
I believe humans are made in the image of God to enjoy fellowship with him and with other people. I believe humanity is the supreme object of God’s creation and his love. I also believe that, although humans have tremendous potential for good, we are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called sin. This attitude separates us from God and renders us incapable of regaining a right relationship with him through our own effort alone. We can only reach our highest potential by being reconciled to him.
I believe salvation is being right with God. It means having your sins forgiven rather than punished. It means that God’s Spirit lives within you, helping you become a real person. It means you will enjoy the presence of God forever after you die. Salvation is God’s free gift to everyone who puts his or her faith in Jesus.
I believe people can never make up for their sin by self-improvement or doing good deeds. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can a person be saved from sin’s penalty, which is death. The Bible says we are saved by grace through faith.
And here’s where I get to something really, really important.
Grace is free. Absolutely free, I tell ya! Free, as in no strings attached, no price tag, no cost to you whatsoever. Complimentary. Gratis.
Salvation involves a complete trust in Christ’s completed work. You get saved; you don’t save yourself. Couldn’t even if you wanted to. Couldn’t even if you tried. The only way to be saved is to surrender to it. There’s only one category of people in the Bible who receive grace and that is the humble. You get it when you stop trying to get it and allow someone else to give it to you.