The Bible is long and multi-faceted but it's about one main thing: the love of God as evidenced by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Everything before the cross points forward to it; everything that comes after the cross points back to it. It is the most central Event in all of human history.
So who is this Jesus I can't stop talking about? I'll tell you . . .
He is God's one and only Son who became flesh and walked among us. He is 100% God and 100% man - the one and only time that has ever happened! He is the Word; He is the Way, the Truth and the Life; he is the Bread of Life; the Living Water; the Good Shepherd; the Gate; and the Light of The World. He is the Messiah.
Jesus was born of a virgin and we celebrate this historical event at Christmas time. He lived a perfect, sinless life of teaching His followers, healing bodies, mending souls, blessing children, confronting evil, and showing us by example how God would have us live.
"OK, but what does that have to do with me?" you might be asking. That's a fair question and the answer is: quite a bit! Actually, in fact, it has everything to do with you!
The main reason that Jesus came to earth as a man was to serve as a sacrifice on our behalf. Whoa . . . this got deep really fast. Yep! The Bible tells us that we have all sinned, and that we fall short of the glory of God. Sin is simply any word, deed, thought or attitude that falls short of perfection so at the risk of stating the obvious, no one besides Jesus is perfectly perfect. The Bible also tells us that the punishment for sin is death - separation from God forever in Hell. Aaaagghh!! This is an eternal problem we are powerless to solve on our own. Going to church won't pay for our sin. Giving money to charity won't pay for our sin. Reading the Bible and praying and being a really good person and teaching Sunday School won't pay for our sin! The only thing that can pay for our sin is a blood sacrifice ~ so God provided one.
In the Old Testament sacrifices were routinely performed to cover up sin. This was God's temporary plan, but when Jesus died on the cross, He was the Perfect Lamb of God, slain not to cover up sin, but to pay sin's price once and for all. Because He was completely free from the blemish of sin, His sacrifice was sufficient to literally pay the price for all the sin of all humanity of all time. Wow! When He cried out from the cross, "It is finished!" what He was really saying in the common language of the day was, "The debt has been paid in full". The transaction was complete; our sin had been officially, completely, and eternally paid for.
If that was the end it would be a tragic story: "Sweet local guy, crucified despite his innocence; visit the grave outside Jerusalem". Thankfully, it wasn't the end, and Jesus is NOT in that grave! Jesus Christ is the Author of Life and the only power death had over Him was what He allowed it to have - just enough to pay for our sin. On the third day after He was crucified, Jesus bodily rose from the grave and appeared to His disciples - ALIVE. This powerful miracle is what we celebrate at Easter! Now, because He has died and lives again, you and I can be reconciled to God and we have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. There's never been a story like this one before!!
So now do you see what this has to do with you?"
The answer is this: Jesus died on the cross to offer you the free gift of eternal life. All you have to do is choose to accept it; there are no strings attached!
The way to accept this amazing free gift is elementary: ABC!
A.) Admit to God that you have sinned and that you need Him to save you
B.) Tell God that you Believe Jesus died on the cross in your place to pay for your sin
C.) Confess that Jesus is now your Savior and Lord
That's it!! If you sincerely just took the three above steps, you are now a child of God. Welcome to the Family!!
Accepting God's gift of eternal life is the first step of an exciting new life in Christ! The Bible says, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, He is a NEW creation; the old has gone and the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 It is so EXCITING!!!!
There are 4 main elements you will want to embrace as you begin the Christian walk.
1.) Reading the Bible. I know it might seem big and overwhelming but it is actually God's Love Letter to His people. That's you! I recommend you check the Table of Contents and begin in the Gospel of John. This is a great place to start learning about Jesus! The Psalms are also great sources of strength and encouragement as you get to know the Lord. (I especially love Psalms 8, 27, 34, 37, 46, 62, 103, 119, 127, 139, 147 . . . the list is endless really, but maybe these will get you started. :)
2.) Praying. This is simply talking to God - no fancy words or posture required. If you are excited, tell Him about it! If you are sad, tell Him about it. If you don't know what to do in a certain situation, ask Him about it. God never sleeps and you are the de. He's always listening ~ talk to Him!!
3.) Fellowship. This means being together with other people who believe in Jesus too! The best way to accomplish this is by regularly attending a strong Bible-believing church and getting involved. Pray about this if you're not sure of the best way to go about it. Hanging out with people who share your faith will strengthen it, pure and simple.
4.) Sharing Jesus with others. You have been set free from the power of sin and death - this is Good News worth sharing! If there are Christian people in your life, tell them you have accepted Jesus so they can celebrate with you (chances are they've been praying for you!). If there are people in your life who don't know Jesus, introduce them to Him so they can be saved as well! Again, no fancy words required - just tell people what Jesus has done for you!
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