These thoughts are offered to clarify the very most basic things a person needs to grasp about sin and salvation. It is offered to provide information for one who seeks to know and perhaps to yield. It is also written to provide guidance for one who desires to communicate the biblical truths of salvation with another individual.
Sin is willful disobedience to God. It is fundamentally an offence against Him. Every human being is sinful, including you and me. We choose to do what we want, whether or not it is what God wants for us, (Romans 3:23). Sin separates us from God. We cannot have relationship with a holy God Him while we live on earth . We cannot go to be with Him when our life on earth is over, because of our sinfulness. (Romans 6:23). Another result of sin is that it affects us like wearing dark glasses all the time or looking through heavy, thick fog. It keeps us from seeing clearly, having good judgment, making wise decisions, (Proverbs 15:25).
We labor under a severe debt. God has said that our sin must be paid for with blood, the blood of a perfect one. Since no human being is perfect, no human being can pay that sin-debt. It is a debt we can never pay. (Hebrews 9:12,14,22). This is a desperate situation and it is the condition of every human being! Separated from God, wandering in darkness, getting along the best way we know how using our wits, such as they are. We have no hope of heaven; no hope of being with God when this life is over, (Ephesians 2:12).
God’s Remedy for our Sin.
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born God gave a picture of what was coming. He established the sacrificial system whereby unblemished lambs were killed as a way to put sin “on hold”. Several times a year those who wanted relationship with God sacrificed lambs with no defects to have the lambs’ blood cover their sin. They asked God to apply the blood of the sacrificed lamb to their sin- debt (Leviticus 1:1-4). Those years of lamb-sacrificing were a picture of what was coming: the Perfect Lamb of God. Jesus Christ is called “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world,” (John 1:29).
Jesus is fully God. He became fully human as a baby, born in Bethlehem, grew to adult-hood and entered into His teaching and healing ministry at the age of 30. When he was 33, never having disobeyed God even in the smallest detail, He was nailed to a cross of crucifixion. The perfect, sinless Lamb of God was sacrificed. His blood was shed to pay the sin-debt for all those who believe in Him as Savior and Master of their lives, (Romans 5:8).
This perfect Lamb of God died once to pay the sin-debt for all time for those who believe in Him. No more sacrifices of lambs is called for. The picture the Old Testament lamb sacrifices represented was fulfilled in Christ’s death. Then He proved that He is God and has power over life and death by rising from the dead three days after He gave up His life, (John, Chapter 20).
Repentance is a sincere and thorough changing of your mind and attitude toward sin. It has to do with the mind: learning to think about sin as an offense against God that brought personal guilt, separating us from God. It has to do with the emotions: feeling sorry for the sinfulness of the heart and the resulting disobedience to God. It has to do with the will: choosing to change behavior, to act the way God desires, (Romans 2:4).
Repentance is a gift from God and something one does. God gives to a person the gift of faith to see sin His way and feel sorry for it. The person then asks God for strength and courage to act in that gift and make changes in their life. Repenting and making changes by God’s grace and power continues throughout the entire life of a Christian. The first act of repentance is to acknowledge, admit to God, that one is a sinner in need of the salvation He offers in Jesus Christ, (Acts 8:22).
Faith is required to make these truths one’s own. No one comes to God or decides to repent on their own. First God gives faith. No one can be argued into faith. Faith is a gift from God. God either will cause the mind and heart to accept these truths as genuine or the individual will not believe, (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Faith cannot be earned. It is a gift. Forgiveness cannot be earned. There is nothing one needs to change before asking Him to apply the blood of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, to forgive sin and provide cleansing. He accepts us just as we are, (Isaiah 1:18).
When God gives this amazing gift of faith a person will respond. They will admit they are sinful. They will ask for the cleansing and forgiveness God offers in Christ. They will yield their life to the control of God, making Christ the Lord over their life. They will enter into relationship with God that continues throughout eternity!! Once a person is born into God’s Family through Jesus, they can never lose that position. Jesus said no one can snatch us out of His hand! That life will begin to be transformed into what the Creator God designed it to be, (John 6:37 & John 10:28 & Romans 8:29).
The life of a Christ Follower will not be easy or convenient. It will not always be a healthy life; there is no guarantee the person will become wealthy. Good good human relationships or a good job do not always follow.
God is not about serving you and giving you a “happy life”. God is calling you to a commitment to Him, (Matthew 16:24). God is about loving you and giving you the life that best fits His plans for you. He will give you wonderful gifts like joy, satisfaction and deep fulfillment as you cooperate with what He wants to do in your life. But He wants you to love Him for Himself, self, not for what He gives, (Romans 8:28-29).
God gave us the Bible to teach us about Himself and His plan for us. In the Bible He tells us that He is the Only God. He tells us that there is only One Way for a person to get to Him and that is through Jesus Christ. Christianity is not “one of many ways” to get to God. There are not many ways; there is only one way, and that is Jesus – faith in what Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God did for you on the Cross, (Exodus 20:3 and John 20:31).
Belief in Jesus is commitment to Jesus. Becoming a Christian is believing in Him, trusting Him for forgiveness of sin; being born into the family of God through Jesus. It means turning away from all other philosophies and religions, recognizing them to be false and useless. God requires exclusive commitment. That requires faith. That faith only comes as God’s gift, (John 14:6).
Jesus is the Lord. That means He is the Master, the true Boss. That’s Who He is! When we come to Him, we are coming to the Master. When we ask Him to cleanse us from sin, He says “I will. Now I want to be the Master of your life,” (Luke 6:46).