Thursday, June 09, 2011


Me: The Bible says, "There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death." It seems like we should have to earn or deserve our place in heaven, but that's not how it works. Do you understand?
You: Yes.
Me: In spite our sin, God wants to bless us and is merciful to us. God is love. But He is also just and holy; He cannot dwell with sin. The Bible says, "God will not spare the guilty... The soul that sins must die." It's like a robber who gets caught and makes an excuse before a just judge. The just judge must punish the robber! And so we have a problem. On the one hand, God wants to bless us, but on the other hand, He must punish sin. So God solved this problem for us! He sent His Son Jesus. Who is Jesus?
You: He's God, or the Son of God.
Me: Yes, and He is also the perfect man. The disciple Thomas knew Jesus as a man, but didn't believe He was God. Thomas didn't believe the other disciples who told him that Jesus had risen. But when Jesus appeared to Thomas, Thomas confessed Jesus as "my Lord and my God." Jesus came and lived a perfect life where all else have failed, and He died on the cross to pay the punishment for our sin. God punished Him for our sin. But Jesus rose from the dead to purchase our place in heaven, and He offers eternal life as a gift to be received by faith. I can show you with an illustration. The Bible says, "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.... The word became flesh and dwelled among us." And "while all of us like sheep had gone astray, each following his own way, the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all." The last words of Jesus on the cross were, "It is finished." The Greek word is Tetelestai, and it means "Paid in Full." Jesus paid our sin debt. And we can receive Him or reject Him. You may think it strange that anyone would reject Jesus and the gift of eternal life, but many do. They reject Him by trying to help Him pay our debt. He is offended when we try to contribute to His sacrifice. He is enough! Another way people reject Him is to simply know about Him. The devil knows who Jesus is, but he will not be saved. Demons believe, and tremble. Even the demon-possessed man declared who Jesus was, but knowing isn't enough. Still another way people reject Jesus is by what might be called temporal faith. Trusting God when you're sick or in danger, but forgetting Him when things are good. Asking Him for a job, but cursing Him if you don't get it. This is not saving faith. Receiving Jesus and the gift of eternal life comes by saving faith, trusting Him alone for your place in heaven, not relying on any other thing, like your good deeds. The Bible says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." It's like riding an airplane. You buy your ticket, show up on time at the right gate, but what must you do to get to your destination?
You: Get on the plane?!
Me: Right! You don't tell the pilot how to get there. You don't push the plane down the runway, or carry it through the air. You simply ride and trust. But I'm not saying that good deeds are unimportant. We still need to strive to do good. But our motivation for doing good changes when we trust Jesus. Instead of trying to be good in order to earn or deserve a place in heaven, we strive to do good out of gratitude for the gift God has given us. Good works aren't the cause of our salvation, but the evidence of it. To refuse Jesus would be like a beggar on the side of the road, asking for money. When a wealthy man comes along and offers him a million dollars, desires to help him up, get him going in a new direction for his life, the beggar refuses. He just wants $5 for a drink. This is ridiculous, but many people reject Jesus in the same way. Would you like to receive Jesus and the gift of eternal life?
You: Yes.

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