- Our Greatest Need –
by, May 15th 2012 at 03:03 AM (573 Views)
Proverbs 16:23, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death”
Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”
Whether you want to admit it or not, the most defining moment in anyone’s life is the decision to surrender to God by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. The Bible, God’s Breathed Word tells us that our greatest need isn’t simply guidance in life; it’s a relationship with God. We can only have this relationship through Jesus Christ, God’s perfect gift, resulting in peace with our heavenly Father and the gift of eternal life with Him. Listed below are ten reasons to believe God offers the Perfect Gift of His Son, Jesus Christ:
(1) God Loves to Give Gifts – Our Creator longs to give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). As the Father of heaven, He is behind “every good gift and every perfect gift” (James 1:17). Yet, His best offer is so priceless and so perfectly suited to our needs and happiness, many think it’s too good to be true.
(2) It’s Described in the Bible – The Bible describes a wonderfully mysterious gift that includes peace of mind, forgiveness, adoption into the family of heaven, and everlasting life. The Bible refers to this spiritual package as salvation and calls it “the gift of God” (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9)
(3) It Cannot Be Earned – God’s perfect gift of salvation comes not by merit but by mercy, not by working but by resting. In the words of the apostle Paul, “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
(4) God Paid For It Himself – Our Creator gave us the gift of choice. He gave us the freedom to accept or reject Him. Our first parents chose to walk away from Him. Instead of leaving them in their rebellion, He revealed a plan of rescue whereby an innocent victim would die on behalf of the guilty. An elaborate system of symbolic temple ritual anticipated what God Himself would do for us on the center page of human history. At the time of God’s own choosing, He did what can only be explained by love – He sacrificed His Son to pay for our sin (John 1:29; Hebrews 10:5-10).
(5) It Comes With A Proof of Purchase – Jewish prophets predicted a Messiah who would deliver His people from their sin (Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:26). When He arrived, He healed the sick, raised the dead, and gave hope to the oppressed. Then He did what no one expected Him to do. He silently bore the slander of critics and voluntarily died at the hands of Roman executioners. Three days later, He walked out of a guarded tomb (Luke 24:1-7). Eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ died at the hands of enemies rather than deny that they had seen Him alive.
(6) It Was Wrapped with Care – God packaged His perfect gift in thousands of years of fulfilled predictions, widely observed miracles, and breath-taking rescues. After centuries of anticipation, the Lord of heaven, in the greatest of all miracles, wrapped Himself in the womb of a virgin. The gift grew to maturity in the irony of obscurity, the affection of unlikely followers, the envy of religious leaders, and the crushing disappointment of death. When all seemed lost, God wrapped His gift in the excited reports of witnesses who announced an unexpected resurrection from the dead. For a final touch, the Creator gave His gift of salvation a colorful bow of diversity – people from every nation on earth whose hearts and lives have been changed by His love (Revelation 5:9).
(7) God Offers It By Grace – It is only by the grace of God that fallen and broken rebels are welcomed into God’s eternal family. Paul described the difference between Adam, who spread sin and death to all his descendants, and Christ, who brought grave and life to all who trust Him. He wrote, “The free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense (Adam’s sin) many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many” (Romans 5:15).
(8) It Can Be Received Only Through Faith – The phrase, “By grace you have been saved through faith,” tells us that God comes only where He is invited. The One who wants us to share the happiness of His eternal family is waiting for us to welcome Him into our lives (John 1:12). The gospel says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
(9) It Cannot Be Earned – Even in His dying hour, while hanging on a cross between two criminals, Jesus gave the gift of eternal life. One of them mocked Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” The other criminal rebuked the first and said, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Only because salvation is a gift of grace could Jesus say to him, “Today you will e with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:39-43).
(10) It Inspires Gratitude – Those who know they have been rescued by God’s grace from the fires of judgment have reason to live the rest of their lives out of the overflow of their gratefulness to God (Ephesians 2:10).
You’re not alone if you’re still wondering whether to open your heart to the offer of God’s gift of salvation. Yet the decision to receive the gift is yours. John wrote, “As many as receive d Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). According to each of the four written records of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Jesus repeatedly talked about being on a mission of rescue. Even as His popularity began to worry the religions leaders of Israel, He talked repeatedly about going to Jerusalem to die. His followers found such comments unthinkable. Yet, after only 3 years in the public eye, He went to Jerusalem, was rejected by national leaders, and was sentenced to die by crucifixion for claiming to be the King and God of the Jews. Only after His execution would followers see His willingness to die in the light of a comment made by His forerunner. Three years earlier they heard a rugged prophet of the wilderness, known as John the baptizer, say about Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). In retrospect, it seems reasonable to conclude that Jesus saw Himself as a sacrificial lamb. For thousands of years the religious law of Israel had been requiring the death of innocent animals on altars of sacrifice. All the while, mysterious statements of Jewish prophets referred to a Messiah who would Himself bear the sin of fallen humanity. Yet, the meaning of a suffering Messiah (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:26; Zechariah 12:10) would remain a mystery until after the death of Jesus. According to hundreds of eyewitnesses, Jesus did die and 3 days later He left the tomb alive. Also, please consider the following evidence:
(1) Secular historians acknowledge that Jesus was a real living person who gained renown in first-century Israel as a healer and a teacher.
(2) Secular historians (Jewish and Roman) acknowledge that Jesus died at the hands of religious leaders.
(3) The Biblical record tells us that Jesus was seen alive by more than 500 people after His death.
(4) If He was to save us from our sins, God’s plan for salvation would have to be achieved, and in the crucifixion and resurrection, dozens of Old Testament prophecies of God’s plan for providing forgiveness were fulfilled in the space of just a few hours.
Moreover, in all of these amazing events, Jesus Himself doesn’t make it easy for us. When He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6), He didn’t leave us with any options. However, many people have an assurance of salvation based on faulty thinking. They believe that church attendance, baptism, or just being good will gain them approval from God. But our thinking is faulty if it isn’t based on what God says in His Word. God says that “all have sinned” and that we are His enemies. Only through the death and resurrection of His Son, we can be made right with God (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:8-10). By faith in what Jesus Christ has done, we can have peace with God (Romans 5:1) and the assurance of eternal life in heaven. The questions then remains, “Do you believe it?” If you do believe it and ready to receive the greatest of all gifts, you might want to pray a prayer like this, or use your own words, “God of heaven, I believe that Jesus is Your Son and my Savior. I believe He died for my sin and rose from the dead to show that His claims were true. I trust Him to give me the forgiveness, spiritual life, and promise of heaven that I long for. In Jesus’ name, I thank You. Amen.”
If we could earn our salvation, Christ would not have died to provide it.