Christ & My New Life
Is God really out there? Absolutely! And He wants to have a relationship with each of us through His son, Jesus. He is always watching us, and is calling out with a message of love and sacrifice that is of epic proportions! Study with us about God’s plan to call us all home.
God’s Plan for Man
Romans 6:23 teaches us plainly, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Each day when we wake up and go to work we do it with the understanding that we are earning “wages.” In other words, we expect a paycheck!
Well, in Romans, God is explaining to us that everyday when we wake up and sin(choosing evil instead of good) then we are also earning “wages.” Unfortunately the wage we earn by sinning is “death.”
This is not our physical death. Physical death is the separation of our body and our soul. The “wages of sin” is our spiritual death, the separation of our soul from fellowship with God.
Because of sin many people don’t have fellowship with God, but sadly most people never recognize that God would much rather give us “eternal life in Christ Jesus” instead of spiritual death. In fact, He wants us to have eternal life instead of death so badly that He chose to make it something we don’t have to earn. He chose to make it His “free gift.”
God’s Free Gift
With God in Heaven and man on earth how would He deliver His gift? Think of trying to send your best friend a Christmas gift. While you might send it by UPS, FedEx, or the Post Office the best way to deliver the gift would be in person.
In person you could toss your arms wide open and deliver the gift with a great big hug. The gift would be more than just the present; it would be your presence. Delivering the gift in person tells your friend that you still love them, and that you want to spend time together. It even tells them that you were willing to make the trip to their home in order to do it.
This is how God delivered His gift to mankind. He came as Jesus Christ and opened His arms not to just give us a hug, but to die in our place. Jesus told us why He was doing it. In John chapter 15 verse 13 He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
His gift was His grace; His willingness to lay down His life in the place of ours. He replaced our death, the wages we had earned, with His own death so that we could have eternal life.
Grace, what an amazing gift!!! It is better than any other gift we could ever receive. The question is will we receive it? Will we accept this amazing gift, this wonderful sacrifice?
What if you took the time and effort to travel to your best friend’s home, bring them a beautifully wrapped Christmas present and then they refused to accept it. How tragic!
Accept God’s Gift
Ephesians 2:8-10 reads, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
It truly is “by grace” that we have been “saved.” God didn’t have to give us this incredible free gift, but He did. However, did you notice that this verse says we have been saved by grace “through faith?”
Individuals have the right to choose whether they will accept or reject a gift. The same is true with God’s gift. If we wish to reject it then there are a million ways to ignore God, but if we wish to accept it then we must follow the one method that is outlined in this verse of scripture. We must receive God’s gift “through faith.”
It is through faith that we tell God, “YES, thank you, I love You too!!!!” It is through faith that we enjoy God’s wonderful gift, salvation! We don’t have to be content with death; we can have eternal life instead if we just accept His gift.
In telling us that faith also plays a role in our salvation, it is important to notice that God doesn’t want us to get a big ego about the significance of our accepting the Gift. He points out that salvation is “not as a result of works.”
We don’t earn our salvation we simply accept the gift “by grace…through faith.”
So what is faith?
Faith, whether it is spiritual or not, is just an active belief. If you have faith in the stock market, you invest. If you have faith in the safety of a bridge, you drive on it.
No one can stand at the edge of a bridge and claim to have faith in it, but be unwilling to walk or drive onto the bridge. Faith is the combination of belief and action.
Faith in God is the same. No one can claim to have faith in God but be unwilling to actually obey God. Faith is a belief held so strongly that you act on it.
God wants to know if we really believe in His gift. Do we really believe that Christ took our place. Do we really have faith that His sacrifice is our free ticket into eternal life?
In the Bible we can read about lots of people that really had faith. People that didn’t just claim to love God, but acted on it. They leave a clear example of how we should respond to the realization that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He did die on our behalf so that we could have eternal life.
In Acts chapter 2 Peter preached to a large crowd of people about Jesus and God’s free gift. When they heard it, their hearts were touched. They realized they didn’t want death; they wanted life! Verse 37 of Acts chapter 2 reads, “Now when they heard this, they were wounded in conscience, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethern, what shall we do?”
If you understand that Jesus died for your sins you might be asking yourself the same question: What should I do? The next verses have the answer to this question. Verse 38 and 39 say, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off as may as the Lord our God will call to Himself.’”
This is great news!
There is a promise that has been made to the people that were alive back then that is still valid and applicable to us today! If you will repent(stop doing evil and start doing good) and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, then you will have it!
And you will even receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is the “the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:14)
After repenting and being baptized for the forgiveness of our sins then the Holy Spirit guarantees that we have eternal life and fellowship with God instead of spiritual death.
Then you will have every reason to celebrate! The gift that God wanted you to have has been successfully delivered and received.
You will treat God’s gift as you do any gift which you have gratefully received. You will use it and enjoy it. Remember that Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
When we accept God’s gift and we are Christians; we are “His workmanship,” His masterpiece “created in Christ Jesus for good works.” We will continue to choose good instead of evil, not to earn our salvation, but because that is part of who we are now.
Our old life is in the past. Now we have fellowship with God because of His wonderful gift. He hates to see us hurt by evil, so He wants us to “walk in” good works. For the rest of our life we will do our best to walk in good works.
This is a lot to learn all at once, but the basics are pretty clear:
1. God has a gift that He really really wants you to have.
2. That gift is His willingness to let Jesus die in your place. This is called grace.
3. But we can only accept God’s grace one way, “through faith.”
4. Faith is taking action on your belief.
5. The faith that the Bible promises to always be valid is: to repent and to be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins.
6. The Holy Spirit guarantees eternal life will be our inheritance instead of death.
7. We keep on trying to walk in good works.
After reading this article you may have some questions or you may be ready to take action based on your faith and God’s grace. You may want to repent and be baptized. Whatever your state, we would love to help you in any way we can. Will you give us that opportunity? Join us soon at worship or contact us now, and we will help you in accepting God’s Gift.