The Good News
We have seen that after the fall of Adam all men became sinners, law breakers and were under the righteous judgment of God. Yet God's plan was not destroyed at this point. God still wanted to be a good Father to us. But now it was necessary for us to be saved from the consequences of our rebellion against God.
The angel, speaking to Joseph concerning his betrothed wife, Mary, said:
"And she shall bring forth a Son, and you will call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." Mt 1.21
Jesus was conceived by God in Mary, and so did not share the rebellious nature of mankind. Although we acknowledge that Mary had an important role in bringing the Saviour into the world, we cannot recognise her as a saviour or a way to God. For Jesus said:
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me." (John 14.6)
Paul said: "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Timothy 2:4-5)
Therefore, in looking for salvation from the sin problem, we must look to Jesus Christ. There is no other source of salvation. There is no other way to God. Neither Mary, nor the saints, nor Mohammed, nor some guru or any teaching of mysticism or philosophy can do away with our great personal need for Jesus Christ, the only True Saviour.
"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
Jesus was qualified to be our saviour for the following reasons:
1. He is fully God. Isaiah 43:10,11 states that besides the Lord GOD there is no Saviour. Jesus, however, is called "the mighty God" (Is. 9:6) and "our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2.13). It takes God to save sinners. This is one reason why it matters if we believe the doctrine of the Trinity.
2. He is fully man. (1 Tim 2.4). Only as a man could Jesus pay the price for the sins of mankind. Only as a man could he be the representative head of the new race of new men, born again of the spirit of God. He is the last Adam and the Second Man. (1Cor 15:45,47). "For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead." (1Corinthians 15:21)
3. He perfectly fulfilled the law of God, including all of the Mosaic Law. If Jesus had sinned, he would need a saviour. But Jesus "committed no sin, nor was guilt found in his mouth" (1 Peter 2:22) and is described as "a lamb without blemish and without spot". (1 Peter 1:20). A careful study of the life of Jesus as recorded in the gospels reveals no sin in his life. Instead it reveals that he fulfilled both the commandments and ordinances of the law and also that he fulfilled the O.T. prophecies concerning the promised Messiah and Saviour.
4. What he did for us, he did willingly. In John 10:17,18 Jesus states:
"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."
Jesus began to reveal Himself as saviour, deliverer and healer in his ministry to the sick and oppressed in Galilee and Judea. It is recorded that he cast out demons, healed the sick (Mt 4:23) declared God's forgiveness to sinners (Mark 2:5) and brought provision and joy where it was needed (Jn 2:1-12; Mk 6:30-34). All these things were signs that indeed Jesus was the promised Messiah (Christ), Saviour and Deliverer of Mankind. We know that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and that He wants to do these things today for people also. However, we must understand that Jesus' greatest work was not any of these miracles but rather his work of suffering on the cross. This is where He conquered evil, by paying the price for sin and taking upon Himself the consequences of man's rebellion against God. God demonstrated this by raising Christ physically from the dead.
It is extremely important that we understand what Jesus did for us at the cross. This is where we were legally delivered from all the consequences of Adam's rebellion. This is where a great exchange took place.
"Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses) and carried our sorrows (pains) ... But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." (Is. 53:4,5)
In the moment that we truly put all our trust in Jesus and commit ourselves fully to Him, receiving Him and confessing Him as our Lord and Saviour for all time, we are in Christ. When we are in Christ, all the promises of God and all the benefits of calvary become available to us (2 Corinthians 1:20). We can receive them. Then we can declare:
- Jesus took my sin, I receive his righteousness. (Is. 53:5)
- Jesus took my punishment, I receive his forgiveness. (Rom. 3:25; 1Jn 1:9; 1Jn 2:2; 1Pet 3:18)
- Jesus took my sickly nature, I receive His divine health. (Is. 53:10) We need to look at the Hebrew words in vs 4 and 10 of this chapter. Jesus was made sick on the cross.
- Jesus took my sadness, and gives me His joy. (Isaiah. 61:3; John 15:11)
- Jesus took my curse, I receive His blessing. (Galatians 3:13,14)
- Jesus took my old life, I receive His new divine life. (Galatians 2:20; John 10:10)
- Jesus took my poverty, I receive His riches. (2 Corinthians 8:9; Deuteronomy 28:48; Galatians 3:13,14)
- Jesus took my rejection, I receive acceptance from God. (Mark 15:34,37; Ephesians 1:6)
Be sure to look up these Scriptures and read them out loud for yourself. Our salvation is based on what God has declared to be true in His Word, not on the words of a man or a church.
The most important thing for us to remember and present to people is that Jesus Christ through his death on the cross paid for all our sins and rebellion - everything that separates us from God. This means that God is now able to offer a way back to Him, through Jesus, for everyone who wants to be reconciled with God again. It means that now we can have a relationship with God again, because all our sins which destroy that relationship and give room to the devil in our lives have been paid for at the cross. Knowing the truth of this can make us free. (Jn 8:32)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is recorded as an historical event in all four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). This was not just a spiritual resurrection but a bodily resurrection. (Luke 24:37-43). As Christians we too have the promise from God that we will be physically resurrected with new bodies, just as Christ was. (1 Corinthians 15:42, 52-54; 1Thessalonians 4:16,17)
Jesus' resurrection is significant because:
1. It means we do not serve a dead God, or a dead prophet, or a philosophy, but a living Saviour who is "the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
2. It proves that Jesus is who He said He is, the Son of God. (Rom. 1:4)
3. It proves that we are justified through the death of Jesus, "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification" (Rom 4.25). The resurrection shows that God accepted Jesus' payment for our sins, that Jesus' death was not just like the death of some righteous man. "And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile, you are still in your sins!" (1Cor 15:17)
4. Through the resurrection, we too may share in the resurrection life of Christ, beginning with the new birth. (Jn 3:3; 1 Peter 1:3; Romans 6:4,5,8,9). We may walk in newness of life.
5. It gives us a living hope, and a hope of life after death. (1 Peter 1:3)
This subject is very well treated in books by Josh McDowell, especially "Evidence that Demands a Verdict". He shows that the resurrection is a well- documented historical event. Here are some points which support the claim that Jesus rose from the dead.
1. The grave was empty. The Pharisees knew where the body was put, and they had the tomb sealed and guarded. Something happened so that they spread the story that the disciples stole the body of Jesus. They knew the tomb was empty. If they knew the body was there, they could have easily stopped the preaching of the apostles later on.
2. The disciples claimed they saw Jesus as resurrected, not just as individuals, but as a group and on more than one occasion. (Luke 24:37-43; Acts 1:1-11). "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses." (Acts 2:32). If they knew they were lying, why would they go on to die willingly for their lie, as so many did? If they were deceived, and having mass hallucinations, then why would the grave be empty?
3. The disciples then and many disciples today through their changed lives and many miracles of healing done in the name of Jesus give us another powerful evidence that Jesus is really alive.
Some unbelieving scholars and eastern gurus have made various feeble attempts to deny the resurrection. Some say that Jesus didn't really die on the cross, that He only swooned and revived in the cool of the garden tomb. Leaving aside John's testimony of the blood and the water which demonstrate medically that Jesus' heart had failed, how would a beaten, crucified Jesus roll the stone away, get past the roman guard and convince his disciples that He was resurrected? It is amazing what kind of theories men will invent to deny the truth.
You must accept this salvation as a gift. You cannot earn it (Eph 2:8,9). To receive a new life from God you must receive Jesus into your life. (John 1:12). He will then give you a new life and the possibility to change. To do this, you must respond to God’s Holy Spirit, who urges you to forsake your excuses and commit yourself wholeheartedly to Christ. This wholehearted commitment, this faith, this believing in Christ, brings God into your life.
Romans 10:9 declares:
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
This believing in Christ’s resurrection means believing from the heart, with full conviction, that God is real, and that Jesus is really alive. The Greek tense of the word “confess” in this verse tells us that our confession of Jesus as Lord needs to be an ongoing one. The idea is that we don’t deny Him as Lord. We say with our mouth before men and act with our lives as if He is Lord - our Lord. This confession will have an influence on what we say and do. Since Jesus is the Word of God, our salvation is received and maintained by an ongoing confession of what the Word of God says. Jesus said, “... by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:37). So our confession of God’s Word (literally from Gk: homologeo - saying the same thing as God’s Word), is the key to our salvation.
When you repent, believe and confess the Lord Jesus Christ, God gives you a new heart (Jer. 31:33) and a new desire to please God. Out of gratitude and respect you will allow God to change you more and more and direct your life in the future. Why not put your trust in Jesus right now for this salvation and forgiveness. You can do this by praying this prayer to God right now:
O God, I come to you because I need your forgiveness. Like all others, I have been selfish and rebellious and have broken your laws for life. I confess all my sins to you (name them). I’m sorry for these sins. I want to change. I turn from my sin to You. I believe that you died on the cross to pay for my sins. I believe that you rose from the dead and are alive. Come and live in my heart, Lord Jesus. I give my whole life - including my mind and body - to you. I receive and confess you as my Lord and Saviour now and always. Wash away my sins. Give me your free forgiveness. I believe that you have made me a child of God. I thank you, Father, for new life in Christ and a new relationship with You. And Father, just as you forgive me my sins, I also forgive all those who have sinned against me. Lead me in the way I should go, fill me with the Holy Spirit and keep me from the evil one all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you have prayed this prayer from your heart then you have become a new person in Christ! The old has gone, the new has come! (2 Cor. 5:17). Give thanks verbally to Christ for coming into your life. Remember always that you have solemnly received Him as your Lord and Saviour. Let His Spirit and His Word guide you always, and keep your trust in Him for all the new decisions you will be making in working out the application of your new life in Christ. Please contact me if you have prayed this prayer, so we can celebrate with you and help you go on with God. The Lord bless you.
Through the death and resurrection of Christ a way has been made for us to enter into fellowship with God once again. (1 Cor. 1:9; 1Jn 1:3; Heb 10:19,20). It is not just that we may be forgiven, although this is part of it (1 Jn 1:9). We may be justified before God (declared righteous, just as if we had never sinned) (Rom. 3:24) and thereby have peace with God. (Rom. 5:1). Of course, peace with God is not possible if we still want to be rebels against God and His word. That is one reason why repentance (change of mind and life) is necessary for us to be saved. Repentance is something we must embrace, but we know also from the Scriptures that it is a gift from God (Acts 3:26; Acts 11:18). At the time of our new birth (John 3:3) we are regenerated spiritually, we receive new life, and new hope. The old has gone, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Our full salvation includes more than this. It includes being adopted as sons of God, being reconciled to God (so that we talk to each other in loving acceptance), changed in our nature, receiving a recreated, new spirit which is perfect, and the ability to "put on Christ and put off the deeds of the flesh" (Rom 13:14; Col. 3).
Full salvation is not received at the moment we receive Christ, except as a legal inheritance. Some parts of it are received instantly, such as justification, forgiveness and the new birth, but other parts of our full salvation must be "worked out with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:13), especially our sanctification and holiness, which like everything else in salvation, is received by and through faith. The salvation of the soul (the mind, will and emotions) is a process and not an event. (1 Peter 1:9)
The other things that Jesus bought for us at the cross are also part of our full salvation. Deliverance from the curse, deliverance from demons, healing, health, prosperity, the revelation of God's love, the baptism of the Holy Spirit - all these things must be received by faith and don't usually happen at the moment we are born again. Sometimes we must be patient to receive these blessings (Hebrews 6:12), but we should never doubt that God wants us to have and enjoy them.
The pinnacle of salvation is to be united to God in spirit and soul and body. Our bodies, the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), were made to receive God (John 1:12) and to reveal God (John 14:12; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 4:12,17). Only when we come to the place where our soul moves in absolute unity with the heart and mind of God can we say we have actually received the fulness of salvation. Legally we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) but we must appropriate it. In this state of unity and dependence, God moves with full power and authority through his trusting child who by faith is kept from all sin, and the wicked one touches him not. (1 John 5:18).
Every child of God, no matter how much of God's great salvation he actually appropriates before he dies, has the wonderful salvation promise of heaven and an eternity free from sin, evil, disease and all the wonderful blessings of God (John 14:2,3). We should therefore understand how to receive this salvation and keep hold of the hope of everlasting life with God (Hebrews 10:23). For this it will be necessary to understand more about the doctrines of repentance and faith, which are the two abiding conditions for the receiving of salvation.
Copyright (C) 1996, Michael Fackerell