Copyright 1994 - 2019 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
October 13, 1997
Last Updated :
October 15, 2012
NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.
Message To The World explains God's wonderful plan of Eternal Salvation for all of humanity. This article is easily understood by people of all ages; even by young children.
In the world today, there are so many different religions; each one of which has their own churches, temples, mosques or other places of worship. Because of this religious diversity, many people often find themselves wondering which one is the correct one to believe in and follow. They feel overwhelmed, and completely lost amidst the multitude of choices available to them. Perhaps you are one of such people. What creates this confusion in the first place, is the fact that each of these religions has a set of beliefs which may differ with, and contradict what is being taught by some of the others. The reasons why this is so are many, but the end result is that many people don't know in which direction to turn in order to find the truth.
One idea which is shared by Christianity, Judaism and Islam, is the belief in one God, Who created the Earth and all life on it; in fact, the entire universe; a Supreme Being. This is why they are referred to as monotheistic religions. This belief in one supreme God sets these three religions apart from other belief systems, as some of the others do not teach that there is one Supreme Being. Instead, they worship many different gods, each with its own power and authority. For example, such is the case with Hinduism, from which different popular forms of meditation are derived. Other religions worship the forces of nature, such as Wicca, or dead relatives, such as Shintoism.
In the case of certain religions, an ordinary human being is elevated to the status of a god, through the erection of temples and statues in that person's honor, and through the widespread teaching of his belief system. Such is the case with Buddhism. Some belief systems go as far as to say that we are gods. They rely upon the self-help technique, and claim that all answers are to be found within oneself. They teach that we have the power to control our own destinies without any intervention from a Higher Power. And yet other religions, such as the African-derived Santeria, bow down to Satan and the wicked forces of darkness. In some developed countries, people also worship power, money and materialism. Of course, there are also those who claim that they do not worship any god or spirit. In fact, they deny the existence of the spiritual world altogether. This current life is all there is, they claim. There is nothing else to follow they insist.
Even between Christianity, Judaism and Islam, there are some differences of which you should be aware. Just because a religion promotes the belief in one Supreme Being does not necessarily mean that it is safe to follow. What makes the Christian faith different from all other religions, is the fact that it is the only one which is honest enough to speak of our need for a Saviour, Who offers us the free gift of Eternal Life, in a new and better world where all suffering, pain and sorrow will be removed. Other belief systems, such as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, erroneously teach that we can gain Eternal Life, and be a part of this wonderful new world, even if we don't believe in the Saviour. According to their doctrines, Salvation is based upon doing good things, or perfecting ourselves by living many times, or keeping many rules. In other words, they would have us to believe that we can gain Eternal Life through our own good merits. Even though it shares some common history with the Christian faith, Judaism likewise rejects basic Christian beliefs.
Exactly what are these beliefs?
As I noted a moment ago, Christianity teaches that we cannot save ourselves. We need some outside help. We need a Savior. Why is this so? According to the Bible, we are all sinners; we aren't perfect; we have all made mistakes; regardless of how young or how old we may be. Our greatest mistake, or sin, is that we don't love God or each other as much as we should. That is why there are so many problems in the world today. Many people simply do not act out of love for God, or out of love for others, but only out of love for themselves. They live self-centered lives, instead of God-centered lives. "Me" must come first, and whatever is good for "Me", is good for everyone else. It is this kind of sick attitude which results in war, murder, rape, abortion, theft, the oppression of the poor, and many other crimes.
This attitude also results in our being dishonest with others, as well as with ourselves, because we are not willing to face up to the truth regarding ourselves. Such things are all motivated by pride, selfishness, and the evil which lurks in our heart. Not only do such acts hurt others, but they hurt God as well, and they keep us separated from Him, just as parents are sometimes not too happy to see their children when they have been disobedient. In fact, because we do not obey God's Laws of Love as we should, and because we rebel against His Will for our lives, it forces Him to punish us; just as responsible parents will punish their children when they too do something wrong. In this case, the Biblical law is very clear regarding the penalty for the sins of rebellion and unbelief. It states such things as the following:
"For the wages of sin is death . . ."
Romans 6:23a, KJV
". . . he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
John 3:36b, KJV
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Matthew 10:28, KJV
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God . . . For our God is a consuming fire."
Hebrews 10:31, 12:29, KJV
"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Revelation 20:15, KJV
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
Revelation 21:8, KJV
That is a heavy price to pay, but we choose it through our own continual stubbornness and unbelief. God does not choose it for us, as some false accusers would have you to believe. Moreover, we can have peace in our hearts, knowing that no matter how bad we have been, or how rebellious we have been, all is not lost. Just as most parents eventually embrace their children in love once again, God too does not remain mad at us forever; He does not cast us away forever; unless that is what we truly want. He is mindful of the fact that we are weak, human flesh; and so as King David wrote, He has pity upon us:
"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust."
Psalm 103:13-14, KJV
In His mercy, God, is willing to give us time to acknowledge our errors, to ask for forgiveness, and to repent. That is why in the midst of affliction, the Prophet Jeremiah wrote:
"It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV
So you see, God's love and mercy are renewed every single morning; and because they are, He has purposely made a way for our sins to be forgiven, so that our relationship with Him can be restored.
The way that He did this, is by allowing His own Son, Jesus Christ, to take our punishment for us. It is as if one of our brothers or sisters or friends decided to take the blame for something that we did, and be punished for it; even though we really did it. This is true love; this is putting others before self; and this is exactly what Jesus did for us. The Bible tells us that He took upon Himself our sins:
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV
In other words, even though Jesus was sinless, God the Father allowed His Son to take upon Himself the sins of the world. He allowed Jesus to be punished for us, so that we could find atonement, or forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father, through His Sacrifice. That is why John the Baptist said upon recognizing Jesus as the Savior of all mankind:
". . . Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
John 1:29b, KJV
Why was Jesus obligated to die such a gruesome death in the first place? Couldn't it have been avoided? In a word, no. According to the laws of the Old Testament, the remission of sin could only be achieved through the sacrifice of an unblemished goat or lamb. That is why we find the ritual sacrifice of animals throughout the Old Testament. It was a foreshadow of better things to come in Christ. Thus, as Paul and other writers explain, Jesus became the Lamb of God of the New Testament. By His dying on the Cross, He became the Author of the New Covenant between God and man. He became the Final Sacrifice. There needs to be no more:
"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Matthew 26:28, KJV
"And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance . . . And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."
Hebrews 9:15, 22, KJV
"And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
Hebrews 12:24, KJV
Jesus accepted the guilty verdict of His accusers; He took the whipping for us; He took the death sentence which we truly deserve; by His own loving choice. We were all held hostage by sin, and Jesus paid the ransom price for our freedom, through His sufferings upon the Cross. In the Gospels of Mark and Luke He said:
"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Mark 10:45, KJV
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
Luke 4:18-19, KJV
The Apostle Paul also tells us "For ye are bought with a price . . .", and what an expensive price it was indeed! In other words, Jesus didn't look out for Himself first. He wasn't concerned with His own wellbeing; He was only concerned about our wellbeing, and our future in the Kingdom of His Father. Jesus came to fulfill a mission, but He had to be willing to temporarily forsake His place in Heaven, and His life on Earth, in order to fulfill it. That is why Paul also writes:
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:5-11, KJV
Jesus' life was not self-centered, but rather God-centered. He wanted to please His Father first and above all; and so He gladly laid down His life for us, as atonement for our sins. Jesus didn't have to do it, but He did. He obeyed His Father's Will, because He knew that it was absolutely necessary for our Salvation. In His moments of agony while in the Garden, He said:
". . . Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."
Luke 22:42, KJV
And that same night, He took the path that led to the Cross, when He was betrayed into the hands of sinful men. Would any of us have had the same degree of love which must have been required in order to make such a difficult choice? And it was indeed an act of love. As the Apostle John wrote:
"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
1 John 3:16, KJV
Many so-called wise men, holy men, philosophers and teachers have come and gone down through the centuries. They have each impressed men with their wisdom, and inspired men with their teachings and examples of love, patience, and tolerance; but none of them, not one single one of them, ever did what Jesus Christ did. None of them paid the Ultimate Price. None of them opened the way to Eternal Life. Only Jesus could do that, and He willingly did so. Not only that, but He warned us of those false prophets who had come before Him, and of those who would undoubtedly come after Him. In the Gospels He tells us:
"All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them."
John 10:8, KJV
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Matthew 24:24, KJV
Jesus knew from the beginning that there was no other way, but the way of the Cross; and by going the torturous way of the Cross, He in fact became the Way to Eternal Life. That is why in the Gospel of John He tells us:
". . . I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
John 14:6b, KJV
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
John 10:28, KJV
Some time later, the Apostles affirmed Jesus' teachings when they said such things as the following:
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 4:12, KJV
". . . Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved . . ."
Acts 16:31, KJV
The Apostle Paul also tells us that Jesus is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Jesus started it all, and without Him, it would have never been:
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2, KJV
The Bible plainly teaches us that we simply cannot ever be good enough, or perfect enough, to deserve God's love and mercy. How much less the Salvation, and the Heavenly Life which He offers us? These are things which only He can bestow upon us because of His great love towards us. As John also wrote:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16, KJV
The Apostle James also plainly states that anything good we have in our lives, is a gift come down from God above:
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
James 1:17, KJV
So Salvation is a token of God's love. All we have to do is to accept His love through Christ's Sacrifice. If we are really honest with ourselves, then we know in our hearts that our very best is never going to be good enough. We cannot save ourselves, from ourselves and our personal sins, no matter how hard we try. We are imperfect in the flesh and always will be, simply because we are humans born with a sinful nature. We already know how to do wrong and evil from a young age, but we must learn to do good. As it is also written:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us . . ."
Titus 3:5a, KJV
Before his conversion to the Christian faith, the Apostle Paul, then known as Saul, was a very zealous, self-righteous Jewish Pharisee who did his best to uphold the Mosaic Law. He was probably very confident that his own so-called goodness and dutiful keeping of the Mosaic Law made him a prime candidate for Heaven; at least until that fateful day on the road to Damascus when he had his dreadful encounter with the risen Jesus Christ! The Lord greatly humbled Paul, and opened his spiritual eyes, so that he could finally see the truth regarding his miserable, sinful condition. It was after that, that we find Paul writing such things as the following:
"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
Romans 7:24, KJV
"For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."
1 Corinthians 15:9, KJV
What a change of attitude after God had time to deal with Saul's pride! Sadly, there are a lot of Sauls in the world today. Such people tend to possess a lot of self-confidence. They have inflated egos and high opinions of themselves. Quite often they will look down upon others who they feel do not meet their standards and expectations. Those people who are religiously zealous, sometimes have a tendency to think that they are a little better, perhaps a little more holy, and just a bit more righteous than others. This is not the real righteousness which comes from God; but rather, it is self-righteousness; and the Bible does not speak well of it. For example, the Prophet Isaiah wrote:
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
Isaiah 64:6, KJV
King Solomon likewise offered some wise advice regarding those people who have such high opinions of themselves, and who are filled with their own false sense of righteousness. In the Proverbs he wrote:
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 16:18, KJV
Please take a moment now to consider your own life. If you can be honest with yourself, whether you are young or old, you know in your heart that you have not always led an exemplary life. Perhaps you have lied in order to cover for yourself; perhaps you have said cruel things which have hurt others; or perhaps you have stolen something which did not belong to you. You have undoubtedly done certain things of which you are ashamed, which would embarrass you if they ever came to light. In short, you have not fully lived according to God's Laws of Love, which Jesus emphasized in the following verses:
". . . The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
Mark 12:29b-31, KJV
What you need to understand, is that while we can hide our misdeeds from our friends and family, we cannot hide them from God. He sees all, and He knows all; and He certainly knows the evil thoughts that dwell in our hearts. That is why He inspired the Prophet Jeremiah to write the following:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Jeremiah 17:9, KJV
In fact, way back in the very first book of the Bible, shortly before the Great Flood had occurred, God observed the evil nature of man; and He was sorry that He had ever created him. Thus, He chose to destroy man, because that was the only way to purge the Earth of man's iniquity. In the book of Genesis we read:
"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them."
Genesis 6:5-7, KJV
Shortly after the Great Flood had occurred, God again confirmed the evil nature of man's heart when He said to Himself:
". . . I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."
Genesis 8:21, KJV
The Prophet Isaiah was also keenly aware of our fallen, sinful condition, and our need for a Savior. That is why in one of his prophecies regarding the coming sufferings of Christ, he too wrote:
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
Isaiah 53:6, KJV
King David of old likewise recognized the fallen state of rebellious men. In his fourteenth Psalm he writes:
". . . The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
Psalm 14:1-3, KJV
Turning to the New Testament, on one particular occasion, Jesus and His followers were self-righteously judged by the Scribes and the Pharisees, because they failed to wash their hands before eating. Exactly how did Jesus respond to their ridiculous accusations? Consider the following:
"Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."
Matthew 15:17-20, KJV
A number of years after his own conversion to the Christian faith, the Apostle Paul paraphrased parts of King David's fourteenth Psalm when he wrote the following in his letter to the Roman brethren:
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:"
Romans 3:10, KJV
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:23, KJV
Over and over again, in both the Old and the New Testaments, we are reminded that we are sinners. We are told that evil lurks in our hearts, and that we are fallen creatures. It should be obvious then, that it is utterly useless for us to try to hide our sins from God. As the old saying goes, "Be sure that your sins will find you out". Jesus Himself said regarding the hypocritical religious leaders of His day:
"For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known."
Luke 12:2, KJV
"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin."
John 15:22, KJV
In his Epistles, the Apostle Paul also makes it clear that we all have a future appointment with the Lord:
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
2 Corinthians 5:10, KJV
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"
Hebrews 9:27, KJV
So as you can see, we can fool others, but we simply cannot fool God. He knows the real score, and the Day of Reckoning is coming for each one of us, whether we choose to believe it or not. We will each have to acknowledge our sins.
"Exactly what is sin?" you might be wondering. "I have led a rather decent life", you might be tempted to say. "I have never killed anyone. I have never robbed a bank. I have never raped anyone. I really fail to see how I am a sinner, or why I need to believe in this Jesus of yours. I am a good person".
Let us address the last remark first. Are you really as good as you claim to be? On one particular occasion, a certain person addressed Jesus as "Good Master", and inquired of him what good thing he must do in order to have Eternal Life. How did the Lord respond to this man's respectful remark? It may surprise you to know that Jesus answered by saying:
". . . Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."
Matthew 19:17b, KJV
So with one statement, the Lord informed the man that there is only One good; that is, our Father in Heaven, and He then told the man something which He knew the man would not be able to fulfill. He said "keep the commandments". In other words, it seems that the Lord was trying to show the man the error of his ways, when he falsely assumed that he was good, and erroneously believed that he could merit Eternal Life by his own good deeds.
How much this sounds like many people today, even some who belong to organized religion. They have the mistaken idea that they have to give God a little help in saving them. Indirectly, such people are stating that Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross is not sufficient atonement for our sins. The idea seems to be that we need to add our human endeavors to the finished work at Calvary. If Jesus said that it was finished, (John 19:30), then it was indeed finished. Nothing needs to be added to His Sacrifice, in order for us to gain Salvation; nothing but faith in what He did for us.
Returning to the definition of sin, in his first Epistle, the Apostle John offers us a very short, clear-cut definition of sin. He states:
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
1 John 3:4, KJV
What does "transgression" mean? In the New Testament, it is derived from a Greek word which means to live outside of the law, or to violate the law; that is, to break the law. Exactly what law is John referring to? Obviously, being an Israelite, he was referring to the greatest laws of human conduct the world has ever known; that is, the Laws of Moses as laid down in the Old Testament. Jewish life centered around the Laws of Moses, as is evident in both the Old and the New Testaments. As we saw a moment ago, while there are literally hundreds of laws contained in the Old Testament, Jesus summed them up when He said that the greatest laws, or commandments, are to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves; and we most certainly love ourselves more than anyone else. "Me" is number one. The survival of self is the rule which governs this current world. As the Apostle Paul wrote:
"For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it . . ."
Ephesians 5:29a, KJV
If we each loved our neighbor as we love ourselves, the world would truly be a wonderful place in which to live. Sadly, that is far from being true in our modern times. In fact, Jesus said that because of iniquity, or sin, the Endtime would be marked by a lack of love in the world, and Paul said that the citizens of the Endtime would be lovers of their own selves, more than lovers of God, as we see by the following two verses:
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
Matthew 24:12, KJV
"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy . . ."
2 Timothy 3:2, KJV
So again, the greatest of all the Biblical laws is simply love, because all other laws are encompassed by it. James referred to it as the "Royal Law" in the following verse:
"If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"
James 2:8, KJV
So if we truly wish to please our Heavenly King, we need to obey His Royal Law: love. Any time that we do something which is not motivated by love for God, or love for our fellow man in some way, but only by a selfish love which will bring us some personal advantage or gain, we are in fact breaking God's Law. James tells us that even if we keep all of the Biblical laws and only break one of them, we are guilty of breaking them all:
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
James 2:10, KJV
Such is the futility of trying to keep the Law. Such is the futility of trying to attain Salvation through our own good deeds. We cannot be good enough of our own accord. We have transgressed the Law; and that makes us sinners; every single one of us. There is simply no way around it. There are no loopholes. There are no bargaining chips. We are all guilty as charged.
But, as we have already seen, not all is lost. There is a way out of this mess. There is a way to be exonerated of guilt. There is a way to avoid the punishment we deserve. There is a silver lining to the sin which clouds and overshadows our lives. Guilt, condemnation, judgment and punishment do not have to be the end of this story if we don't wish for them to be. We are not without hope. There is a way of escape. As Jesus Himself taught His followers:
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
John 3:17, KJV
We have already been condemned by our own selfish and sinful actions. What we clearly need now is a Savior, and Jesus is that Savior. He offers us freedom from the bondage of sin; He offers us the hope of Redemption; and He offers us the gift of Eternal Life, through His Sacrifice of Love on the Cross. As the Apostle Paul explains it:
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."
Romans 5:6, KJV
"That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."
Ephesians 2:12-13, KJV
So you see, through accepting Christ's sufferings on the Cross as atonement for our sins, we can be reunited with the Father. Our fellowship and close relationship with Him can be restored. That is why only a few verses later, Paul also adds:
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;"
Ephesians 2:19, KJV
Why does Paul say this? Because that is precisely what God has wanted all along. He has wanted His wayward children to return to Him, just like in the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke chapter fifteen. In fact, at the very beginning of the Gospel of John, we are plainly told that we can become a part of God's Household; we can become His adopted children, simply by accepting the Sacrifice of His Son:
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
John 1:12, KJV
So by simply believing in what Jesus did for us, and by repenting of our sins, we can find forgiveness, and we can be reunited with God; both in this life, as well as in the life to come. God is very willing to forgive us for our mistakes; He is able to blot out our sins from the Book; He is able to remove the stain of guilt from our lives, if we choose to believe in and accept the Sacrifice of His Son as the perfect atonement for our sins. In fact, He pleads with us to make the right choice. As the Prophet Isaiah wrote over 2,500 years ago:
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18, KJV
There is no other way. God knows that we cannot be perfect enough; we cannot be righteous enough; we cannot do enough good deeds in order to merit Salvation and Eternal Life. We will fall short of the goal every time. We will never meet His standard of perfection. By ourselves, we are simply a hopeless case; so we must humble ourselves, and be willing to admit that we can't do it alone, and that we need His help. If we cry out to Him and confess our sins, and confess our need, He promises that He will hear us, and He will save us. Again, the Prophet Isaiah wrote:
"Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:"
Isaiah 59:1, KJV
As the previous verses from Isaiah state, we can be cleansed of our sins. We can be washed clean and made white as snow by the Blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
If you have never heard it before, this is the central message of our Christian faith: You are a sinner, but God loves you anyway. He wants to forgive you, and He wants to bring you into His Family, and give you Eternal Life; but first you must be willing to meet the conditions which He has established. That begins with the realization that you are a sinner, and then repenting of your sins, whatever they may be. If you are willing to do this, and if you are willing to admit your need for a Savior, and if you recognize Jesus Christ as that Savior, you will gain both forgiveness and Eternal Life. God is waiting on you to make the right choice. As the Apostle Peter wrote so many years ago:
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9, KJV
In other words, God keeps His promises. It is not His Will for any of us to perish; so He patiently waits for us to repent of our sins, so that He can extend His Hand of Salvation to us. In the Old Testament, during the time of Moses and the children of Israel, it was also said by that great liberator:
"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"
Numbers 23:19, KJV
God the Father, and Jesus His Son, have kept their part of the bargain. Their word is good. It can be trusted. They will deliver the promised blessings of forgiveness, as well as Eternal Life to those who believe. Jesus paid with His earthly life as a ransom for our sins. He died for you; for me; for all of us. That is why in the Gospel of John He tells us:
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
John 12:32, KJV
"All men" means exactly that; all men; because we are all sinners before God, and in need of a Savior. It does not matter of what national origin you might be. It does not matter of what religious persuasion you might currently be, or even if you profess no faith at all. The bottom line, is that without Christ, you are hopeless, and you are utterly lost. So again, Jesus fulfilled His Mission on the Cross. He did His part. Now it is up to you to do your part. Will you? If you are one of His children, you will know it, and you will hear the Voice of His Spirit speaking to your heart via this message. As Jesus also said:
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:"
John 10:27, KJV
The Apostle Paul also tells us that those who are called, are predestinated and chosen by God since before the world began, and that the Lord knows those who are His. Consider these verses:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will . . . That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"
Ephesians 1:3-5, 10-11, KJV
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
2 Timothy 2:19, KJV
If you feel God's Spirit tugging at your heart right now, and if you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I would like to invite you to do so right now. It is not advisable for you to put it off for another day; after all, you may not have that long. As the old saying goes, "We are all old. We could die tomorrow". God forbid that this should happen to you, but if it did, can you say with all certainty that you have the assurance of Salvation and Eternal Life? Quoting from the Prophet Isaiah, the Apostle Paul wrote:
". . . I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
2 Corinthians 6:2, KJV
In speaking of the brevity of the human life span, the Apostle James also wrote the following:
"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
James 4:14, KJV
Considering then the uncertainty of your future, would it not be wise on your part to make the decision to accept Jesus Christ today; in fact, right now? If you feel that you are ready, but are not quite certain regarding how to go about doing it, allow me to suggest the following small prayer as a guide. Please remember that prayer is not just a dead ritual that you repeat over and over again as is taught by some religions. Prayer is talking heart to heart with our Heavenly Father. Through the following prayer, or a similar one, you are expressing your acceptance of your sinful condition, your need for a Saviour, and recognizing that Jesus Christ is that Saviour.
Please understand that Salvation is a matter of belief and acceptance. The words of this prayer are only the vehicle, or the means, of demonstrating that acceptance before God. The words themselves do not save you. What saves you is the faith and belief in your heart in God's promises, as I have explained them to you in this message. You might want to pray something like the following:
"Heavenly Father, I know that I am not perfect. I admit that I have made my share of mistakes. I know that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus is your Son, and that He gave His life on the Cross for my sins. Heavenly Father, I ask You to please forgive me for my sins through the Sacrifice of Your Son, and to grant me Eternal Life. Please fill my life with Your Spirit, and help me to understand Your Word, the Bible. As I do, help me to submit myself to Your Will for my life; help me to live a life which is pleasing in your sight; and as much as is within me, help me to also begin telling others about Your Son, Jesus, so that they may have Eternal Life as well. Thank-you Father for hearing my prayer. In Your Son, Jesus's name, I humbly ask. Amen."
If you have just prayed this prayer, or a similar prayer with sincerity, then the Spirit of Jesus Christ has come into your life, and you have been forgiven for your sins. Your slate has been washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb, and you have been given a fresh start; for as the Apostle Paul wrote:
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV
Jesus Himself spoke of this new spiritual birth, or rebirth. One certain night, a noble Pharisee came to Jesus to inquire of Him regarding His doctrine. During the conversation, the Lord said to Nicodemus:
". . . Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God . . . Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
John 3:3b, 5b-7, KJV
By accepting Christ as you have just done, your spirit has been renewed, and you have received Eternal Life; and someday soon it will become a physical reality for all of us. We know this is so, because the Bible says so; and that is all we have to know. You may not have heard a loud clap of thunder, or felt some grand onslaught of emotion; but everything you have just asked for has been granted to you by faith, simply because God says so in His Word; and as we have already seen, God is not a man that He should lie. He keeps His Word. He keeps His Promises, more than any human being you will ever know.
So you have great reason to rejoice, because you have just been admitted into the eternal Family of God! You belong to Him by right of adoption through Jesus Christ. In fact, at this very moment, the Angels in Heaven are rejoicing with you! We know that this is so, because Jesus said so Himself. In the Gospel of Luke He tells us:
"I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance . . . Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."
Luke 15:7, 10, KJV
May God truly bless you in your New Life with Him! To assist you in your new-found faith, we suggest that you immediately begin to read your Bible. As a new Believer in Christ, it would be good for you to begin by reading the four Gospels which describe in great detail the Birth, Life, Message, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We also encourage you to read the many Scripture-filled articles which can be found here on our website. These articles will answer many questions you have regarding the Bible. Again, may the Lord bless you and enrich your life as you study the many wonders of His Word, and begin to share it with others.
If you would like to read and/or download "Message to the World" in PDF format in seven different languages, please click here
. Each language is a separate PDF file.
For additional information and further study, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which are related to the topics which were discussed in this article. All of them are also located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
All Are Given a Chance, But . . .
Is the Message of Salvation Meant for All Men?
Marriage of the Lamb
Not Everyone is a Child of God
OSAS: Are We Onced Saved, Always Saved?
Salvation is Free Through Jesus Christ