9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
2 Corinthians 5:21
What It Means to Be a Christian
Being a Christian is more than identifying yourself with a particular religion or affirming a certain value system. Being a Christian means you have embraced what the Bible says about God, mankind, and salvation. Consider the following truths found in the Bible.
God Is Sovereign Creator
Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore, He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.
God Is Holy
God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3); therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13). God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, You shall be holy, for I am holy.
Mankind Is Sinful
According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: There is no man who does not sin (1 Kings 8:46). That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own (Romans 3:10-12).
Sin Demands a Penalty
God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences.
Jesus Is Lord and Savior
Romans 10:9 says, If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior who paid the penalty and died for sinners (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, and Christ’s perfect life satisfied the demands of God’s holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21), thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26).
The Character of Saving Faith
True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3, 5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9), pursue Christ (Matthew 11: 28-30; John 17:3), and obey Him (1 John 2:3). It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).
|THE GOOD NEWS
WE ARE LOVED – God loves us, and created us to be in a personal relationship with Him.
God loves us: John 3.16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Life is found in knowing God: John 17.3 – Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.
WE ARE SEPARATED – People are sinful, and because of this sin, we are separated from God and cannot know Him personally or experience His love.
We’ve all sinned: Romans 3.23 – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
The punishment for sin is death: Romans 6.23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God wants to be in a relationship with us, but our sin, which can be anything from active rebellion against God to passive indifference towards God, makes it impossible for us to have fellowship with God. Our own efforts to reach God, like trying to live a good life or pursuing philosophy/religion, will always fail. Even the best of us can’t bridge the gap between us and God through our own efforts.
What’s more, our sin deserves death; we are guilty of a crime and have been sentenced to eternal punishment.
WE ARE RECONCILED – Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin on the cross, so that we can be reconciled to God. Through Him alone, we can enter into a personal relationship with God.
Jesus died in our place:
Jesus rose from the dead:
Jesus is the only way to God:
Our crime (our sin) sentenced us to death and separation from God. But Jesus came and took the punishment for us on the cross so we wouldn’t have to. He then rose from the dead to show His power over death. Because Jesus died in our place, our sin can be forgiven – the punishment that we were supposed to receive because of our sin was cancelled. Jesus bridged the gulf between us and God when He died in our place to pay the penalty for our sin. He is the only way to God.
WE RESPOND – We must respond to what Christ did for us by repenting of our sin, and believing what God has done for us.
We respond with faith, not by trying to live a good life by our own merit ( however this does not mean that we should live in sin):
Ephesians 2.8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
We respond by believing and acknowledging Jesus as Lord of our life:
Romans 10.9-10 – That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. When we truly believe from the heart we will produce the fruits of repentance, (to believe is to do) our believe will bring us to exercise good works in our life and the lives of others; according to the grace that we are given. As we became more mature as a Christians and growth in repentance, this will be more evident in our lives.
In responding to what Christ did for us we need to trust God to forgive us completely of our sin, and allow Him to make us what He wants us to be. Just intellectually believing what the Bible says, or having an emotional experience is not enough: we must choose to follow Christ and obey him, and accept His forgiveness for our sin. When we do this, we are made alive in Christ and are no longer spiritually dead and separated from God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
|Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and He was buried, and He rose again the third day for our justification according to the Scriptures, and after He was raised from the dead God caused Him to be seen by witnesses chosen before by God.|
|That is the Gospel, that is, the Good News, we have accepted by faith, in which we stand, by which we are saved and which we preach to all men imploring them on Christ’s behalf to repent and to believe in it, that they might be saved. That is the Gospel in which man must believe to be saved and reconciled to God, for it is the word of our salvation Paul and the other apostles of the Lord (as well as all the other servants of Christ) preached during the first century after Christ and by which many Jews and Gentiles were set free from their sins.|
The “Gospel” which is being preached today is only to deceiving souls and give them up in a false hope. To make men believe that God loves them, while they are under His wrath is worse than a physician telling a diabetic subject that he may safely eat all he wishes.…John 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him”. To withhold the preaching of the Law-its Divine authority, its unbending demands, its spirituality, its awful curse-is to omit that which alone conveys a true knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20: “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 7:7 “ What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”. To cry “Believe, believe,” and say nothing about repentance, is to falsify the terms of salvation: “Luke 24:47: and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem”. Acts 17:30 “ The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent”. To invite sinners to receive Christ as their “Saviour” before they surrender to Him as their Lord, is to present a false “way of salvation.” To bid the lost “come to Christ” without telling them they must first “forsake the world,” is to fill the “churches” with unconverted souls. To tell sinners they may find rest unto their souls without taking Christ’s YOKE upon them, is to give the lie unto the Master’s own teaching: “Matthew 11:29 “ Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. In all probability a large proportion of readers are deceived souls, and we do not want to have to answer for their blood in the Day to come. Many of them have been put to sleep by the chloroforming “evangelism” of today. Therefore we earnestly beg each one to hear this words and to seriously and solemnly ask, Is there anything in my own heart’s history which answers to that which is said of Moses in “Hebrews 11:24-27” By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible”.If there is not, then if you are not “crucified to the world”Gal. 6:14″ But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world”, then Satan is fatally deluding you if you imagine that you are under the blood of Christ. Suffer me then, dear viewer, to continue addressing you directly, for a moment longer. I am not asking… Are you “resting on the finished work of Christ?” There are thousands who imagine they are so doing, who have never been converted. No, rather would we inquire, Have you made your peace with God? We are well aware that the expression is ridiculed and denounced by a certain class who pose as being ultra-spiritual and exceptionally well-taught in the Scriptures, but they only betray their ignorance of the Word: see “Isaiah 27:5: “Or let them lay hold of my protection,
let them make peace with me,
let them make peace with me.”, Luke 14:32-33. “ And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple”. By asking whether you have “made your peace with God,” whot is mean is …, Have you ceased fighting against Him, and have you yielded to His demands? Have you thrown down the weapons of your rebellion, and expressed an honest desire and determination to be in subjection to Him? Have you realized that living to please yourself and have your own way is a way of defiance, and have you truly surrendered yourself unto His claims? Evil must be hated before good can be loved: Amos 5:15:” Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph”. Self must be denied before Christ can be followed, Matt. 16:24: Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”. The old man must be put off before the new man can be put on Eph. 4:22-24 :” to put off your old self,which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”. In other words, the “flesh” must be mortified before the “spirit” can be manifested.
Arthur w. Pink