The Bible tells us that when God first made the world it was perfect. There was no sin, no suffering and no death. All that changed however, when the first man, Adam, disobeyed God. His decision, made on behalf of the human race, has resulted in separation from God, and the once perfect world is now filled with sin, suffering and death.
The problem however, is not simply “out there” because each of us, descending from Adam, have been born with hearts and minds that are naturally sinful, and naturally inclined to disobeying God. This means that each one of us contribute to the mess our world is in, and it also means that each one of us is personally guilty before God.
This is a terrible situation to be in because God cannot tolerate sin, and like any good judge, He must punish rebellion, in order to be consistent with His holy character. The Bible speaks clearly of a place called Hell – a place where sinners will ultimately be punished, if they remain separated from God.
This of course begs the question – what can I do to restore my relationship with God, or, worded differently, how can I be saved?
Surprisingly, the answer to this question is not found in a long list of religious do’s and don’ts, rather, it is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Who was Jesus Christ?
Jesus was, and is, God’s eternal Son, who came to earth, two thousand years ago, to become a man. Jesus did what each and every one of us has failed to do – He obeyed God perfectly. From the time of His birth, until the time of His death, Jesus never sinned, and so, unlike any of us, Jesus did not deserve death or punishment.
And yet, Jesus did die! Although He had done nothing wrong, and although He could have miraculously saved Himself, Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be executed on the cross. This was a dark day in history, but it was all a part of God’s wonderful plan of salvation. In dying on the cross, Jesus was offering up His life, as a perfect sacrifice, in the place of those who trust in Him.
In other words, Jesus was a substitute. As He died on the cross, Jesus faced God’s righteous anger and took the punishment that He didn’t deserve, so that we don’t have to face the punishment that we do deserve.
This is the most amazing news in the world, because it means that Jesus has provided a way in which our relationship with God can be restored. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, God is able to be true to His wonderful character, because justice is done (sin has been punished) and mercy can be shown (sin can be forgiven).
Having made the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus remained dead for three days, but in a wonderful display of divine acceptance, God brought Jesus back to life. The Bible tells us that one day Jesus will return to judge the world.
So what about me? How can I be saved?
Well, it’s amazingly simple. The Bible tells us that salvation is a gift. You don’t have to earn it, you don’t have to work for it, it’s a free gift from God that is only possible through Jesus’ death on the cross. All you have to do is receive that gift through faith and repentance. Through prayer, you tell God that you are sorry for your sin and desperately want to turn from it. You ask Him for forgiveness, and then you humbly place your faith in Jesus’ saving work on the cross.
Of course, it’s easy to emptily say the words, but if your heart is sincere, God will completely forgive you, accepting Jesus’ death as payment for your sins. He will then give you a new spiritual heart that loves Him and wants to serve Him, and He will no longer regard you as a rebel, but as a much loved son or daughter. And best of all, when you die, God will raise you back to life and you will spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
How can you be saved? By sincerely turning to Jesus in faith and repentance!
If you have any questions, please click here to email our pastor Rick Zylstra