Why do I need redemption?

Why do I need redemption?

Whether you believe it or not, your sin has condemned you to an eternal life separated from God. Whenever men and women turn their backs on God, evil fills the vacuum with hate, misery, pain, suffering, and alienation supplanting love, joy, happiness and belonging. Therefore, a wise person would recognize the importance of redemption.

Redemption is the action of regaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or the clearing of debt. It is also deliverance from sin unto salvation. It means being pardoned from the penalty of sin which is death and eternal separation from God and God’s love forever; that’s the ‘what from’ answer. Redemption, you see, must be a gift of Grace by the Creator, God, because sin is the rejection of God and His Authority and only He can provide the remedy.

Grace is the undeserved gift God has provided to overcome mankind’s sin condition. That gift is Jesus Christ who took upon himself on the cross the penalty of sin, death, and paid the debt each person owes but cannot pay himself.

Romans 6:23 reads, “The wages of sin is death (judgment).” That is why Jesus is referred to as Savior as He alone has offered redemption or salvation to all who put their trust in Him. It is Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven that confirms He is the Redeemer of men’s souls.

Sin seeks to keep mankind in bondage to the slavery of sin. Its goal is to deny him the freedom that God wants for every person which is found in a personal life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. Mankind was created to be in relationship with its Creator and to experience a meaningful and purposeful life and enjoy being in God’s presence in the present and in the eternal future. The redeeming work of Jesus Christ brings abundant blessings and spiritual awareness to all who follow Him.

The entire Bible is the story of redemption, of God reaching down to men and women to draw them back to him. The last act is sending His son, Jesus. If you aren’t sure if you are redeemed and want to know more about how to accept God’s free gift of salvation, read our post,  How does one become a Christian? 

 

What is Purgatory?

What is Purgatory?

Purgatory is a false teaching that says that after people die they get a second chance to go to heaven. Supposedly, after death a person enters a state of limbo between heaven and hell where a purging takes place and that there are things a person can do, or that others can do for him, that will get him out of limbo and onward to heaven. This false teaching denies that only through the death and resurrection of Jesus, is there a pathway to heaven.

The bible says that after we die there are NO second chances. It is only by accepting the gift of the forgiveness of sin that can put us into a right relationship with God. That acceptance must come during this lifetime. There are no second chances. God gave us this life in which to make our decision and, as in Jesus’ teaching in Luke 16:19-31, we read that death is final.

Purgatory is never mentioned in the Bible. The false doctrine was introduced into church teachings 1200 years after the death of Christ and remains a teaching of the Catholic church. All protestant churches some of the major orthodox Christian churches reject the teaching of purgatory.

The bible is very clear, when we die, if we have believed in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we will be with Him in some new bodily form, recognizable, knowing others, and able to communicate and worship HIM for eternity.

How about you? Have you made that decision for a new joy-filled life here on earth and knowing without any doubt that you will be with HIM forever? Learn more at our post: How does one become a Christian?

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

After hearing the story of creation and the Garden of Eden, youngsters at Vacation Bible School posed numerous questions including these two. Let’s start with the second. Sin is everything that is in opposition to God.

God, creator of the universe is the embodiment of love, justice and all that is good. Therefore, that which is unlovely, unjust and bad, qualifies as sin. But sin is more than that. Whenever we choose to put anything—job, possessions, family, wealth, career, personal aggrandizement, etc.—ahead of God, we are turning our back on God and therefore are sinning. God has proclaimed that this sinning separates us from God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

When we lose our ability to hear God and to know how to behave according to his standards, we experience a form of spiritual death. This separation from God carries over into the afterlife where that death is forever, and heartache, torment and pain becomes an eternal punishment.

Why, then, did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? This answer is simple. God loved Adam and Eve just as much as he loves each of us. He loved us so much that he says that he made men and women in his image. (Genesis 2:1-25) He gave humans the capacity to think rationally, to communicate with one another and with God, and to love.

Everyone who has loved or been loved understands that love is a choice. God didn’t force man to love him, he offered him a choice. He created a paradise devoid of sin where Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect fellowship with God. They loved him because God love them so much that he provided for all of their needs. Unfortunately, the risk God took in giving humans free will (to love him or not) was that they might choose to reject his guidance as they did when tempted in the garden.

Listening to Satan and choosing to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree was the first act of sin and resulted in death coming to the first man. (Genesis 3:1-24) Spiritual death came first as man was separated from God and driven out of the garden. Physical death followed for Adam and Eve and everyone thereafter.

However, God didn’t give up on man. His love never stopped. In fact, he loved humans so much that he provided a way to restore fellowship with them. The death that came because sin had to be reconciled. Therefore, God performed an ultimate act of love. He sent his own son, Jesus, to take the punishment for the sins of you and me and everyone who has ever lived and everyone who is yet to be born. All he asks is that each of us who want to have a forever relationship with God, acknowledge that we are sinners in need of redemption and accept the gift of life he has to offer. To learn more about how to obtain this gift of live and turn your back on sin, we encourage you to  read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay
If Christianity is really the only way to eternal life, then why doesn’t everyone become a Christian?

If Christianity is really the only way to eternal life, then why doesn’t everyone become a Christian?

The first reason that not everyone becomes a Christian is as simple as unbelief. If people don’t believe that God exists or that they can have eternal life with him, then they are most unlikely to consider becoming a Christian. Unbelief can arise from three things: a genuine unawareness of the Christian faith; preconceived notions of what it means to be a Christian—it’s “no fun,” “not cool,” “too many rules,” a lot of “thou shalt nots”— which makes the faith unappealing; or a stubborn unwillingness to examine the truth claims of Christianity and the evidence for them.

Pride also fuels unbelief, as does sloth. If becoming a Christian means putting God first in their lives and following certain disciplines, then many people want no part of living the Christian life. They may also be held back by the fear of ridicule and rejection by unbelieving family, friends, or colleagues, or being “canceled” through social media.

Another stumbling block to seeking eternal life with God is that unbelievers simply can’t picture the glories of heaven implied in these words from a letter written by Paul, an apostle of Jesus, to the church in the Greek city of Corinth:

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

1 Corinthians 2:9

The cartoonish depiction of someone sitting on a cloud strumming a harp leads many to think that heaven, if it exists, would be “boring” and thus not worth pursuing. However, the glorious promises of Scripture are affirmed by countless near-death experiences such as those documented in books like John Burke’s Imagine Heaven. This book and others also testify to the reality of an afterlife in hell.

In his account of Jesus’s life and ministry, John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples gives us the main reason why not everyone becomes a Christian:

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”

John 3:19

Rather than sending people to hell, we learn, God gives them a choice. We encourage you to love the light, reject the darkness, and choose “the things God has prepared for those who love Him.”

If you would like to learn more about how you can be assured of enjoying an eternity where all doubts end, where there is no more pain, or suffering…an eternity beyond your greatest imaginings, we encourage you to read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

How does One Become a Christian?

How does One Become a Christian?

Maybe you’ve gone to church when you were younger, but never took that step to become a Christian. Maybe you’ve been living your life your own way and not taking into account what it takes to live life differently, one with meaning and purpose. Man looks on the outside but it’s really our hearts and our character that God is concerned about.

Becoming a Christian requires a decision. In the Bible we read:

“if you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that He was raised from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:8-11

Jesus waits patiently for our decision and our heart to be open to receive Him and His love. God responds to genuine humility and sincere acknowledgment that one is a sinner in need of a Savior and seeks God’s forgiveness and acceptance. God is loving and merciful and does not want anyone to be lost.

If becoming a Christian is the desire of your heart, I encourage you to talk to God and voice this simple prayer. You can do this aloud or silently because God hears your heart speaking as well as your mouth. In your own words, admit you are sinner in need of a Savior. Then ask God to help you turn away from your old way of living and thinking. (This is called repentence.) Invite God into your life and promise to follow Him for the rest of your days.

When you pray this sincerely, God, in the form of the Holy Spirit will enter your your mind and heart bringing peace, forgiveness of your sins, and assurance of eternal life with God after you physically die.
When you seek God’s forgiveness for your sin and acknowledge Jesus as your savior, you become a child of God. In effect, you become ‘born again’, a new creation in Christ and enter into a personal relationship with Him. The old life will have passed away and a new life will begin. Will everything in this life suddenly become perfect? No. But how you see and react to your circumstances and the people around you will change for the better.

Giving your life to Jesus is the most important decision you can ever make. Eternity hangs in the balance; heaven or hell. Today is the day of decision.

 

Was Jesus’ Resurrection real? Is He alive today?

Was Jesus’ Resurrection real? Is He alive today?

Few events in antiquity are as well documented as the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. All of Christianity hinges on the answer to this question. If there was no resurrection, there would be no Christianity.

Consider this: there were over 500 witnesses to Jesus’ return to life after being crucified dead and buried. The Romans made no mistakes when they killed someone. They were expert at the art of death. Yet, three days later, Jesus appeared to his disciples, to several women, to two men walking on the road to Emmaus, to a doubting Thomas and two others. Jesus was definitely dead and he was definitely resurrected. But unlike others who were raised from the dead only to die again at a future date, Jesus was very much alive when he departed this earth in front of witnesses. He was and is alive today, but not in the human form in which he lived 2,000 years ago.

Today, Jesus reigns with His father, God, in heaven and is preparing a place for every believer to join Him there. But one doesn’t have to wait for the end of life on earth to encounter Jesus, because when he departed he promised to send his Spirit to serve as advocate, counselor, and comforter to those who believe in the resurrected Jesus and sincerely ask him to be his or her savior.

Jesus, who has the power and authority to hold together every atom in the universe, is the same Jesus who died for the sins of mankind and was resurrected to declare his power to triumph over death. One day Jesus will return to earth just like he left it to rule and reign as King of kings. Are you ready to meet him in this world or the next? If you would like to learn more, please visit our Next Steps page.