If you were raised in the church, you are very familiar with the term salvation. What seems familiar to many people is not always familiar to everyone. I feel inspired to take a simple subject and talk about it from a simple approach. What do terms like born again or saved mean? What are we being saved from? If you are curious about these subjects, I hope this blog helps.
God created mankind in His image and absolutely loved having relationship with the first man and woman. Adam and Eve were perfect in every way and enjoyed a stress free environment. Can you imagine? However, God did not want mere robots so He gave all human beings free will. Don’t we all want someone to choose to love us? I don’t want anyone to have to love me. In the Garden of Eden God placed two major trees in the center of the Garden. The Bible tells us there was the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They were free to eat of every tree in the garden except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The enemy came along and questioned Eve. “Did God really say you must not eat of any tree in the garden?” Eve explained that it was only the tree in the center of the garden, called the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that was prohibited. She said, “God said if we eat from this tree we will surely die.” The enemy went on to say that they would not die and that God just did not want them to be like Him. In other words, “God is holding out on you. You can’t trust Him.” So Eve gave into the temptation and she and Adam ate the fruit off of this tree. Immediately they knew something had changed. Their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. They were afraid. They ran and hid from God in the garden. They even tried to make clothes out of fig leaves.
Since we were all created in the image of God we were created with a spirit. The spirit is the real you and me deep down in the inner most part of our being. Adam and Eve’s spirit was completely connected and alive to God. They were in union with Him. When they disobeyed God they did not fall over and die physically. They died spiritually. They now had an obstacle between them and God named sin. Therefore, the entire human race that comes from Adam and Eve are born with a dead spirit immersed in our sins. In other words, there is a wall between us and God. We have been left to our own resources. We have to try to figure out how to make ourselves acceptable to a Holy God and how to live life on our own. And it doesn’t take long before we see the deficiency in our abilities.
God knew human kind could not make themselves right with Himself. (A Holy God) He also knew that His greatest desire was to be reconciled to His creation. God loves relationship with us! He also knew that this sin that was passed down to us all was like an evil cancer. Since HE was holy and righteous, He could not be in relationship with a sinful being. So in the Garden of Eden He slew an animal and covered the nakedness of Adam and Eve. God was demonstrating to us that HE would remedy the problem and meet our needs because He loved us so much. This was the first “picture” of His plan to reconcile the human race unto Himself. Fast forward many years and you will see that there were people that wanted relationship with Him and there were people that did not want a relationship with God. So many wanted to live life in their own way which always ended in pain. This grieved the heart of God because He loved them. God had a plan before the foundation of the world. He wanted us back!
What was his plan? Before Jesus came into the world He called His people to look forward to the coming Messiah through faith and understand His remedy for this fallen relationship by sacrificing an animal to atone or cover their sins for that year. This was done over and over, year after year. When Jesus came into the world, His cousin John saw Jesus walking toward Him. He said, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” You see Jesus wanted to deal with the sin problem once and for all. His painful sacrifice on the cross, His blood that was shed was powerful enough to take away the sin of the world. He cried out from the cross, “IT IS FINISHED!” You may be wondering if He took away all of our sin why do we sometimes still sin. Jesus took away the penalty of the sin problem. Romans 3:23 tells us that all of us have sinned. Not one person was perfect except Jesus Himself. Romans 6:23 tells us that the penalty for sin was death (eternal separation from God). We could pay for our own sin or we could allow Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin for us. And guess what? Jesus wanted to take care of this penalty as a gift! But if someone wants to give you a gift it isn’t yours until you receive it.
He loved us all so much, He was willing to lay down His life to bring us into relationship with Him. The Bible says He exchanged our sin for His righteousness. (II Corinthians 5:21). That’s what we needed…to be made right with God. We could never attain it on our own so He freely gave it to us if we wanted to receive it. The sin of the world was placed on Him. Jesus not only gave us His righteousness or rightness with God; He gave us Himself. In other words, His Spirit entered our human spirit (Romans 8:11) so that we could live from a greater source than ourselves. He wants to live His life through us. He gave us a new identity! He wanted union and intimacy with His children. What a deal! I give Him my sin and He gives me Himself. I/We have the God of the Universe living inside of us. He wants to commune with us and He wants us to live in total dependence upon Him. Why? Because He never created the human race to have the capacity to handle the pain and stress of this fallen world. I’m so thankful He didn’t just hand me a ticket to heaven but wanted to be united with me. He didn’t say,”Pull yourself up by your boot straps and try hard to be good and influential and stay away from bad things and do the best you can until you die and go to heaven.” He said, “I love you! I loved you enough to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that I could make you right with a Holy God and I will come and live in you. I can give you abundant life!”
What a deal! What a Savior! John 1:12 tells us, “To all who received Him, to all who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” Jesus also tells us in John 3 that no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again. The question was then asked, “How can one be born again?” Verse 16-18, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” What does that mean? We were born in this world with a dead spirit immersed in our sin. Condemned! We can stay in our sins with our dead spirit doing life on our own or we can accept His sacrifice on the cross for our sins, receive His life into our life, given His rightness with the Father and live empowered by the one that loves us more than we can ever imagine.
God gives us a choice. Because He never wanted robots. He wants men and women to choose to believe Him, His way, His word and accept His enormous sacrifice to bring them into the family of God through a rebirth. Have you recognized that you cannot make yourself right with a Holy God? Have you recognized that you can’t make life work? Have you realized your sins have separated you from a Holy God? Have you realized that you need a Savior? Have you realized that you are loved more than you can imagine? Have you said yes to the offer to receive Him into your life?
I John 1:11-12 says, ”And this is the testimony; God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Is Jesus IN you? Have you invited Him in? Have you realized your need for a Savior? If you did, then He is in you! You may not feel Him or hear Him but He is there. As you get to know Him you will understand more about His life in you through out each upcoming day.
What a gift! A gift is not earned. A gift only has to be received. Once you receive His gift through believing, He begins to change you from the inside out. You will experience a peace like you have never had before. You will have a purpose like you never had before. You will be saved from an eternity without God, a physical life without God, which leaves you to your own resources to navigate a difficult life in a hopeless world. And you will have HIS power to deal with the hard things life will sometimes bring upon us. I can’t imagine facing some of the trials that came into my life without Him.
I’ll end with some of my favorite verses: Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Have you received this gift? Are you recognizing He wants to work through you to do His works in this world. Not works FOR salvation but works in union with the lover of this world to reach out to hurting people. There is nothing more fulfilling.
Romans 10:13, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Just simply tell Him. “Lord, I’m calling out to you right now. I realize I need a Savior. Thank you for dying for me. I know I cannot make myself right with a Holy God on my own. I could never be good enough. I accept your payment on the cross for my sins. Please forgive me for my sins. Come live in me. I want real life!”