What is Salvation? (part 3–Our Savior)

Here we go! We discussed the original sin. We discussed our condition as humans because of that. We discussed the only way to “fix” that–a human’s sacrifice to repay a human’s sin. A man for a man–to save ALL men! So here comes the most beautiful part of the whole equation–our Savior.

Let’s face it, we were all doomed to spend eternity in hell. (If you don’t get what I mean when I say that, read back to “What Is Salvation?” parts 1 and 2.)  By no fault of our own, we were all damned.  Why? Because we are human beings! We are inherently flawed. We are imperfect. We are dumb, selfish, lustful, greedy, hateful, jealous…we just aren’t as cool as we seem to think. Haha. Trust me, I’m the worst of these. I, too, am as human and as flawed as they come! If I were alive in the time of the Old Testament, I would have stood no chance. No chance at heaven…no chance at hope. We all would have been screwed.

But, low and behold, God knows this. And He loves us. He yearns to spend eternity with us. We are His children. We are literally His creations. He is proud of us…He is jealous for us. He desires our hearts. And that is why He sent His Son–just as the prophets had declared time and time again in the Old Testament (check out Acts 4:26-28; Ephesians 1:3-6; Revelation 13:8) Like we have discussed so many times before, He grants us free will. He grants us the right to choose.  He honors us with freedom. He desired for us to have the opportunity to exercise this power…and He recognized that the only way for our sins to be forgiven was through the actions of another human being. Since the actions of the first human being (Adam), had introduced sin into the world, the actions of another human being (Jesus), had to rectify that failure.  That was the only way we, as people, could tangibly see and feel and experience God’s love, and be taught of His grace and His mercy.  It had to be done through a man.

So God sent the Messiah. A human being that was 100% human, and 100% God at the same time. Imagine that! This man was perfect. PERFECT. Like we have talked about before, and like we will continue to study in more detail throughout the year, this man lived flawlessly. He taught of God’s love, He exhibited healing, He performed miracles, He saved hearts.  He walked perfectly in accordance to God’s will and achieved feats outside of human comprehension. Feats of humility, magnificence, and truth. Now, let me remind you, this was a real man.  This is not some made up story. All historians, both believers and non-believer, alike, recognize that Jesus Christ was a real man who walked this earth. And boy, oh boy, did He stir up some attention. 🙂

This man acted, daily, in accordance to God’s desires.  He stirred nations.  He baffled Kings. He literally changed history.  And no life was left unchanged throughout the history of Jesus’ existence.  All the while, He told the people of the nations who He was–the Son of God.  He preached it time and time again.  He proved it time and time again. And He consistently lived out His Word.  This man NEVER faltered. All that He taught of came to fruition.  All that He spoke came to existence.  Jesus Christ was an extraordinary man.  A man who taught us EXACTLY what it looks like to live a righteous life.  A man who healed the sick, fed the hungry, comforted widows, clothed the poor. His life was a testament of sacrifice.  He was the most humble of individuals. He solicited no publicity, sought no treasures…He simply lived. And He lived magnificently for God.

He faced adversity, He faced hatred, He faced condemnation. He was criticized, He was tormented, He was falsified…and, ultimately, He was crucified. Want to know the most amazing part, He knew He would be.  Jesus Christ knew that He would be hung from a cross and murdered at the hands of sinners. He told his disciples time and time again that He would face this pain.  BUT, He assured them not to be dismayed.  You see, Jesus knew exactly what He was getting himself into.  He knew the fate he faced.

This man WILLINGLY and HUMBLY, took the burden of every single human being onto his shoulders.  Every tear, every scream, every cry, every pain, every scar, every insecurity, every lie, every failure…everything…He gladly accepted the weight of our sins and our misery. He was beaten within an inch of His life. Tormented, dishonored, and nailed to a cross. And all the while, He had peace in His heart. Knowing that His death would mean life for all of us. Imagine the most pain you have ever been in…the deepest your heart has hurt, the saddest and most desperate you have ever been. Jesus felt that for you. He carried that agony. He hung with it on the cross.

The kicker? The whole time Jesus was like, “Don’t worry guys, they are going to kill me, but I’m going to come back to life. Just wait and see, I’m going to prove it to all of them–I’m going to prove that I’m the Son of God.” People judged Him, that laughed at Him, they doubted Him…and then He rose. 🙂 Jesus Christ literally rose from the dead. It is a documented, historical, unbelievable, beautiful FACT. This man rose! He lives! He did it! All the haters, all the doubters, all the sinners literally stood there with their mouths hung open and were like, “Ooooooh man. This looks really bad on us.” Haha. Jesus Christ stuck it to the man! He PROVED that He was the Son of God by doing exactly what He said He was going to do…HE ROSE!

Wow. Wow. Wow. AND THIS IS THE SUPER ABBREVIATED VERSION!! Haha, God is SO GOOD! It’s so tough to put it all into words. Jesus Christ did it! And BECAUSE He did it, we are offered salvation. We are redeemed! We can now join God in heaven! We can now attend THAT party for all of eternity rather than agonizing in hell. HE SAVED US! Holy cow, He saved us. What a magnificent God we serve. A God that sacrificed His SON so that I, a sinner and a liar and a gross human being, could have a second chance! I, the lowest of the low, the grossest of the gross, have a second chance. All it takes is for me to believe in what Jesus Christ did for our hearts.

Unreal. We serve a God of second chances!…Do you need one?

Advertisements

What Is Salvation? (part 2–man and man)

Wow! I have to start this blog post off with an apology. It seems like it has been forever since I have posted. Between soccer workouts and practice, school, studying for midterms, sports reporting for WAFB, preparing to move, bible studies, church, motivational speaking engagements, community service, and everything else that comes along with busy, everyday life, time has slipped by so quickly! So I am so sorry it’s been over a week…but let’s continue to dig into this awesome lesson. This part coming up is the BEST! J-E-S-U-S is about to light the place up! 🙂

Alright, so in the last post we talked about the original sin.  The very first sin that the very first man ever committed. Adam. And because of Adam’s sin, sin was born in man. Humans became sinful creatures.  Every person born after that was born into sin and confined to a sinful human nature.  Because of that one man’s sin, the one man was can all be traced back to, we are all impure and unrighteous.  No way around it.

We then went on to talk about the rules God laid out for humans after that.  The Old Testament of the Bible lays out all of these rules.  They are extensive, difficult, and overwhelming.  But God told the people who if they wanted a chance in heaven, they had to abide by these rules.  Long story short, nobody could do it. Every single person failed.  Because, as humans, we are sinful creatures, it is literally IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to live a perfect life.  We all sin. And back then, they all sinned.  As hard as they tried, they couldn’t follow all of the rules. So God fulfilled a promise that the earliest prophets had expressed in the Old Testament. He blessed us with a Messiah–a Savior. Here comes Jesus…

God recognized that it was impossible for any human being to live by the rules of the Old Testament.  But He loves us, unconditionally. We are His creation.  He grants us free will to choose, but He doesn’t want to see us all damned. He yearns to spend eternity with us.  He yearns for us to come home to Him.  So, He did the most amazing thing ever.  He sent His Son, a human being, to Earth. Jesus Christ. Why? So that we could be shown forgiveness, taught, and saved. So that we could have an outlet to heaven and stand a chance of spending eternity with Him. Stick with me here and open your mind to understand this concept. Romans 5:12-19 explains exactly why a HUMAN BEING had to be born to teach us…

It says, “For just as through the DISOBEDIENCE of one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the OBEDIENCE of one man (Jesus) the many will be made righteous.”

BOOM! What a simple and awesome explanation.  Do you understand? Adam was a HUMAN BEING that made a conscious choice to sin and to bring sin into the world.  Because of that sin, Adam opened the door to Hell. He put all of us at risk.  BUT, in order to negate Adam’s sin, God sent Jesus Christ, another HUMAN BEING to make a conscious choice to live perfectly and purely. And in doing so, He brought salvation into the world. Jesus opened the door to heaven. He showed us God’s grace.  Since a human brought sin into the world, a human had to bring salvation into the world.  That’s the only way we, as people, could be saved. Sure, God could have made it way easier.  If He wanted, He could have started the world all over.  He could have destroyed sin before it even existed. He could have cut us some slack and let us all into heaven anyways. God can literally do ANYTHING.  But He wanted to grant us freedom.  He wanted to give us the right to choose.  He wanted us to have the option and to be drawn closer to His truth by recognizing both sides of things.  He wanted us to have FAITH. Ah, so awesome.

So we see that Jesus Christ was the only way. Since sin was brought into the world by a man, God’s grace had to be shown to the world by a man. That was the only way we would be able to understand it all, and to be saved. We had to be taught by another human being. Wow. Okay, so what’s the big deal with Jesus? What did this man actually do? How did His actions grant us “salvation?”

(I promise I will post again ASAP!…This is the best part, so check back in soon!)

What Is Salvation? (part 1–the original sin)

We have talked all about our position in Christ and our condition in Christ. We have looked at a graph that depicts these two things, and we have talked about how we can grow in our conditions.  We have defined what righteousness is and we have found countless scriptures that illustrate this very topic. We have learned about the change that takes place within us when we believe in Jesus Christ, and we have studied why it is so very important that Christians strive to grow and to teach. But all the while, we have danced around the topic of salvation. What IS salvation? What does it mean to be saved? What does it look like? What is the significance of believing in Jesus Christ? What does His life even represent?

There are so so so many questions that surround the idea of salvation.  There is so much confusion and misrepresentation in our world today, as well. So I want to start at the beginning and break it down, piece by piece.  To reintroduce topics that are overlooked and to clarify points that are often left in the shadows.  Ah! I LOVE this topic!! The salvation that is offered to EVERY SINGLE PERSON on this planet is so unbelievably beautiful, and SO unbelievably humbling.  This is the bread and butter…this is the mac-daddy…this is the grand prize! Let’s take a look.

Okay, in order to understand why it is even necessary to care about what Jesus Christ did, we have to rewind allllllllll the way back to Adam and Eve.  I am going to explain all of this in the simplest way possible, because I don’t want to throw anything over anybody’s head or drown this awesome message in excessive detail and historical overflow. (Plus, I am still learning about it all, as well!) But here is the deal…after God created the heavens and the Earth and all that is encompassed within that perfection, He created man. He created Adam, and eventually Eve, in His image.  At this point, there was already an existence of evil.  Satan had already defied God and descended to hell, so God had already acknowledged the right of free will. (That is, the ability for man to choose between right and wrong.)  The book of Genesis describes of the perfection of this garden. Adam and Eve had all they could ever want and need there, and there was no existence of sin. They were simply instructed not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Essentially, they were commanded not to disobey and sin against God.  However, Satan appeared in the form of a serpent and tempted Eve to eat from the tree.  In the truest and simplest of terms, this was the first presentation of evil. And temptation. And deceit.  Eve was drawn to sin through Satan and she then led Adam to eat from the tree and sin, as well.

BAM. There it was. In the instant that Adam, the FIRST man on this planet, sinned again God, everything changed.  Sin was born in man. You see, every single person on this planet is a descendant from Adam and Eve. So think about it…Adam committed the first sin. Adam and Eve screwed up from the get-go and, therefore, every single person born from that line is embodied in sin.  We are born into a world of sin and we are prone, as humans…as descendants from the very first sinner…to sin.  We are all sinners because we are all human.  Because of this original sin, every person born from that point on was doomed.

Well, crap…thanks a lot Adam.  Thank a lot Eve.  So now we stand no chance.  Now we are all screwed because of that one man’s decision.  An interesting concept, huh? That ANOTHER person’s sin could affect OUR salvation…(we will look at this in more detail later, and I will share with you the most earth-shaking realization I came to in my personal life with regards to this subject.) So there we were, a bunch of humans being bred from sin. A bunch of humans whose souls were fair game to Satan. Just imagine how upset God must have been…these beautiful humans he created hardly lasted a blip in time before they sinned! So what now? This is where the Old Testament takes shape.  God understood that man had sinned. And that now, every man was born from that original sinner.  So, he worked with us a little bit.  Rather than damning every sinner to hell, He began to establish rules.  This is what the Old Testament is full of…God set forth rules, communicated through divinely inspired prophets and other individuals, for the people of the Earth.  He basically said, Okay, everybody, if you want to stand a chance to spend eternity with me, you have to follow these rules.  Though you will never be completely pure, if you follow these rules, I’ll cut you some slack and you can strive to purify yourselves. (Those weren’t His exact words, haha, but work with me here. I’m trying to keep it simple :). )

The Old Testament of the Bible lays out what these rules were.  If you read throughout the Old Testament, the rules were insanely difficult for any human being to obey.  They were extensive and specific and very challenging.  And basically what the entire Old Testament explains is that nobody could do it. Every single person failed. Every single human being was incapable of following all of these rules and living a perfect life. So every single human being born as a descendent from Adam, a descendent of the original sin, was imperfect and sinful and flawed.

This is when God sat back and was like, Alright, time for plan B. Haha. There was a clear recognition that none of these people stood a chance.  Because of this one man’s original sin, humans had wound themselves into a web of tangled sin and greed and lust and deceit and all that is unrighteous.  Human beings were caught in Satan’s snare and stood absolutely no chance of achieving salvation.  They all stood no chance of spending eternity with God.  So what did God do?….Enter, Jesus.

(to be continued…this next part is great!)