WHO NEEDS ALL THIS SPIRITUAL STUFF ANYWAY?
I’m sure you’ve heard or seen various Bible verses throughout your life. Perhaps you’re wondering what the big deal is, what’s with all the hype about the Bible, Jesus or God. Maybe a bit confused as to why anyone would even need to apply the Christian label to their lives, to their identity. How does the Bible or Christianity impact you and your life?
Let’s clarify the need for the Bible first. The Bible is God’s love letter to mankind. God introduces Himself, His work and His purpose to mankind through the Bible. He inspired the words written in the Bible through man, directing each and every word, each and every passage. This is what makes the Bible holy. Thankfully, He has protected His Word (the Bible) throughout the ages because He declared that His Word will never pass away. He will not allow His Word to pass away simply because He desires that no man (or woman, always implied) perish, but to have everlasting life. We need His Word (the Bible) because He speaks to us through the Word, it directs us towards a deepening relationship with Him, what He expects from and of us, it guides us and reveals what His will is for each of us individually.
The Bible has two major components, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament informs us of creation, the sacrificial system (the shedding of blood to bring reconciliation to God. Sin separates us from God), biblical history, prophesy (Holy Spirit-inspired foretelling of future spiritual and physical events) and lays the foundation for teaching and events found in the New Testament. The New Testament is the fulfillment of the events, characters, laws, sacrificial system (the forgiveness of sin), and promises of the Old Testament. The New Testament also prophesies our future and warns us to be spiritually prepared, warning others, and spreading the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
There are many versions, or translations, of the Bible. The purest translation is the King James Version (KJV) and in my opinion, the New King James Version (NKJV) is easier to understand, the formal “thee’s” and “thou’s” have been updated to everyday English. Many of the other translations have lost their purity as man has been trying to conform the Bible to their standard, even omitting complete sentences and changing the context of passages. If you want the real deal, stay with the “king”.
Why the “Christian” label? We are all born with the vital need for Someone Who can cleanse us of our sins. Everyone is guilty of sin. The penalty, or the ability to cleanse us from sin has always been the shedding of blood, and always will be, that just can’t change. God is triune (three in one), a personal Being: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, all in One Being. We all are made in God’s image, also triune but human, all in one: body, soul and spirit. Our soul is our intellect, emotions, will etc. Our spirit, the spiritual part of our existence, the part that will live forever is what God saved in us and what is changed and comes alive. Because before accepting God’s free to us gift our spirit was dead. Whether our spirit lives forever in peace and joy or tormented and tortured without end is entirely up to us. That’s our privilege of free will. Without free will, we would simply be robots, under someone else’s control, unable to think for ourselves. Our loving God wants relationship, not robots.
To stay healthy and presentable, when our body is dirty, we clean up. When our mind is dirty, it is revealed in what we speak and joke about. When our soul is dirty with sin, we are separated from God, which affects how we feel, act and behave and generally digresses to a worse condition of sin, so it needs cleansing. There’s always consequences to our actions, this we learned since we were toddlers. The consequence of sin is death, spiritual death. God remedied that for us!
God offers everyone the opportunity to experience new life. We cannot earn it, buy it, or even work hard enough (not even “good” works) to deserve it. It is His unconditional love for us, and it is free to us. It is ours when we enter into a personal relationship with God and accept His priceless, yet free to us, gift of salvation (the prepaid gift that rescues us from eternal damnation & torment). Even though we cannot earn it, we do need to accept it.
God sent His sinless Son, Jesus Christ (of Nazareth implied throughout this post) to show His tremendous love for us, teaching us and demonstrating God’s power and might over all through various miracles, healings, and even raising people from the dead. He sent His only begotten (to cause) Son, as man, to die on our behalf (the penalty/consequence for sin is the shedding of blood) and rose from the dead to demonstrate His love for us and His power over sin and death. Because Jesus Christ is equally God, this gift is priceless. God gave Himself, the perfect Self-gift!
It’s up to each of us individually to sincerely accept this saving gift or not. The consequences of “not” is damnation, the rejection of the holiest, most valuable and sacred gift ever presented to mankind.
There will eventually be an end to sin. Only God knows the timing on that, and He delays because He desires that no one perish. His patience is perfect and He has been patient, putting up with mankind’s selfish, sinful ways for a very, very long time. But there is an end to His patience when justice must be served. Without the acceptance of His Son Jesus Christ, we are subject to judgment as sinners without grace (unmerited, unearned favor from God). And, as you already know, the sentence, or penalty, is eternal damnation.
Why are we here? God knew us before we were born. He knew when we would be born, under what circumstances, how our life would be, He even knows the number of hairs on our heads, He is that intimately knowledgeable of every aspect of us! When we accept God’s merciful offer we find a quality of life that has meaning, purpose, power and a personal peace. It is ours when we enter into a personal relationship with God. Also, as we read the Bible, we better understand the meaning and purpose of our existence along with what God wants us to know for successful living. When we sincerely trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins, this includes our willingness to turn from our sin through faith and the willingness to become all that God intends us to be.
Is eternal life a certainty? Some people say they hope they are going to heaven. Some say they are doing the best they can and trying hard. Still others say it is impossible to know for sure. And there are the completely deceived who think that going to hell with their friends means “party time”, but the truth be far from it. This deception has been spawned from the pit of hell itself and will permanently, everlastingly destroy many, many souls unless they repent (turn from sin) and accept the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior with sincerity, not just as a free ticket or means to stay out of hell. There will be a final “threshing” or a weeding out of those who came to Christ just to escape hell during His 1,000 year reign. After that, bless Him, there will be an end to sin altogether.
God tells us we can know for certain that we have eternal life. It is a gift freely given, and when we receive His gift, He promises that we can know positively that His gift is ours. There will be times when we have doubts, but the witness of the fact of the New Testament (Bible) is that our salvation is settled, it is a done deal – eternal life is ours.
We need to seek no further. Jesus said, “He that is not with Me is against Me…” Matthew 12:30 (Jesus Christ of Nazareth implied throughout the Old Testament scriptures)
“… Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved…” Acts 16:31
Nobody or nothing else can save you. “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
There is a lot happening around the world right now. No one knows the day or hour that Jesus Christ will return to earth to gather His people, but He tells us that we do know the season. Folks, we are in that season. If you are hearing that anyone is placing a time or date, ignore it, they are deceivers. It has been proven that the Bible is 100% accurate and the Bible tells us that no man knows the time of His coming (which every eye on earth will see happening, all will see Jesus Christ in all of His glory). The increase in number of signs as well as the intensity of these predicted signs are compared to labor pains, increasing in intensity. Jesus compared the signs prior to His second coming to that of a woman’s labor pains. The Bible also informs us that once He has arrived for His bride (us Christians, true and faithful believers) that there are no second chances, no do-overs as some books have claimed. God the Holy Spirit leaves earth with us when Jesus returns for us, and no one can receive the Lord Jesus Christ without the enablement and conviction of His Holy Spirit. There is a division among Christians as to the sequence of these events. For something as important as heaven or hell, I have got to tell you, I’m jumping on the first train out of here. In order to do that, I must believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that He died for my sins, that indeed I am a sinner in need of a Savior, and I accept His free gift of salvation. I will post a separate study on the Rapture vs His Second Coming at a later date, more to come on that subject.
An example on how to pray for salvation: (Please pray it aloud)
Dear Lord Jesus,
I am a sinner, and I ask You to forgive me. I believe You are Savior and Lord Who Shed Your Blood and died for my sins to be forgiven, and rose from the dead; You live. I turn from my sins and invite You Jesus Christ of Nazareth to come into my heart and life as Savior and Lord. Please, help me to glorify You in all I say and do. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and personal Savior.
In the all powerful Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth I pray.
Amen. (it is done, so be it, agreed)
One step at a time. You will mature in your personal relationship with God, and in your Christianity (a follower of Christ) as you get a sure foundation by doing the following:
Read the Bible everyday. Frequently throughout the day schedule personal time to chat with Him, share with Him and don’t forget to listen (in your heart) for His direction and chatting back with you! Be baptized, worship, fellowship (being with your new brothers and sisters in Christ), and serve with other Christians in a church where Jesus Christ is preached and the Bible is the final authority. Tell others about Christ before it’s too late for them, no one is guaranteed a tomorrow!
Our Revive post: Not Now, I’m Having Fun may be relatable and helpful to you or others that you may know. Please check it out. It can easily be found via this link: http://ow.ly/lrl8v