My Grace-Full Life

Saving Grace

Charlie: Have you ever seen a million dollars?
Neil: No.
Charlie: Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

~The Santa Clause (1994)

No, you haven’t stumbled on the wrong website. I realize this is a quote from a movie about Santa Claus.

It seems out of place on a faith-based blog, but the fact is — this simple line, spoken so earnestly by an adorable actor, is extremely poignant… we just need to apply it to belief in our Creator, God Almighty, His Son, Jesus Christ, and of course, the Holy Spirit.

Belief in something you’ve never seen before takes a tremendous leap of faith. But how many of us have seen the air we breathe?  Or the gravity that holds us to earth?  Or the sounds that we hear?  Yet – our faith in those things is unwavering.

Why is faith in God so different?  When you look at the world we live in, the historical prophecies and records of Jesus’ life, and the experiences of eyewitnesses in Scripture, we have a solid foundation on which to build our faith.

First, the evidence of God surrounds us

His creativity is boundless if you simply look at the earth He designed and created.  Consider the following truths from the Bible:

  • According to Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God.”
  • Every living being is evidence of God’s creation. Job 12:7-10 tells us that the beasts of the earth, the birds of the heavens, the bushes of the earth, and the fish of the sea all teach and declare that God’s hand gives the life of every living thing.
  • And in Romans 1:19-20, it is written, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Second, Jesus Christ’s life is well-documented

…and even secular historians acknowledge His existence.

That’s not up for debate. It’s whether or not Jesus was God’s Son in human form… the Scriptures foretold everything about Jesus hundreds of years before He was born (Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6).  The Bible was written by men who were ordained by the Holy Spirit, but many of them share first-hand experience with Jesus the Christ.  The Gospels and much of the New Testament are written by eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and earthly ministry.

But where does faith come from?

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the very source of our faith.  If you are hungry for the Living Water of Jesus but struggling to find faith, the writer of Hebrews called Jesus the “author and perfector” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  Moreover, Scripture promises that anyone who seeks God will find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29, Proverbs 8:17, Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 6:33, and Hebrews 11:6 – to name a few!)

What do I need saving from?

We are all born sinners.  Just as you may have inherited blue eyes from your mother and brown hair from your father, we have received the inheritance of sin.  When the first two people who ever lived, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world. The perfection that God created, that He meant for us to enjoy, was broken. Sin became a part of life and like an inherited disease, we have all been born with sin (Romans 5:12).

The disease of sin has a consequence – death and eternal separation from God.  Our holy and perfect God cannot accept the ugliness of sin.

Because we have “all sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we need saving.

As sinners, we have one of two options:

  1. To remain hopelessly lost
  2. To grab hold of the hope found in Jesus

Jesus is our Savior.  The one who rescues us from the hopelessness of sin.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  And in Romans 6:23, it says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So – Jesus died for you.  He did it because God, our Creator and Heavenly Father, loves you so much that He couldn’t bear the idea of you being separated from Him for all eternity.  So He provided the way through His Son, Jesus.  Jesus paid the death penalty for your sins before you were even born in order to give you the opportunity to accept His gift of salvation.

How is Jesus the Savior?

Jesus Christ is the human-form of God, who came to earth as an infant (Matthew 1:18-25), and lived a perfect life (1 Peter 2:22). Jesus is the only person who ever lived and did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).

He performed many miracles and taught about God’s forgiveness. However, leaders of His day were threatened by Him. One of his own disciples betrayed Him to the enemy, and Jesus was tortured, nailed to a cross, and died for our sins. All of this was predicted hundreds of years before He came to earth! Jesus rose from the dead three days later, defeating death, and giving us the opportunity to return to God.  (Refer to any of the Gospels for the life of Jesus, but John is a personal favorite).

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. ~John 14:6

Why did He have to die for us to be saved?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. ~John 3:16

Because our sin is so offensive to God, it demands justice. God is perfect, and our sin separates us from Him. Because our wrong-doings should be punished, we all deserve hell. And if it weren’t for the salvation Jesus offers, that’s where we would all go.  There would not be an option for anything other than eternal separation and punishment.

Jesus’ death and resurrection was a game-changer though. And it’s a free gift that every person in the world can choose to accept.  Or choose to reject.

Would a loving God really send someone to hell for not believing in Jesus?

A loving God honors and respects our choices.  He does not send people to hell.  He gives us the option and then honors the choice we make in this one life He gives us.

If someone goes to hell, it’s because they chose to reject the free gift of salvation that Jesus offered to all of mankind.

How do I become a Christian?

Step 1

Believe that Jesus Christ is God’s perfect Son.

Step 2

Acknowledge your sinful nature and your need for a Savior. Take a look at the Ten Commandments… how do you measure up? Don’t think these don’t apply to you? Yes. They do. Every. Last. One of them.  (You’re not alone. I’m not judging. I’m guilty too. All of us are.)

  1. You shall have no other gods before me… If you’ve put anything else before God (possessions,  money, other people, etc.), you’ve broken this commandment.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol… Whether you’ve literally worshiped a carved image, or tree, or nature, or you’ve allowed something or someone else take your focus from God, you’ve broken this commandment.
  3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain… If you’ve ever used God’s name casually in everyday speech or as a swear word, you’ve broken this commandment.
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy… God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, and He instructed us to follow His example… If you haven’t kept the Sabbath day holy, you’ve broken this commandment.
  5. Honor your father and mother… If you’ve ever been disrespectful to your parents, you’ve broken this commandment.
  6. You shall not kill/murder… The Bible says that anyone who has ever even thought about wishing someone dead or hated in their heart, they’ve committed murder (1 John 3:15), and if you’ve done either of these, you’ve broken this commandment.
  7. You shall not commit adultery… the Bible says that anyone who even looks with lust in their heart is guilty of adultery (Matthew 5:27-28). If you’ve done this, you’ve broken this commandment.
  8. You shall not steal… If you’ve ever taken something that doesn’t belong to you (regardless of value), you’ve broken this commandment.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor… If you’ve ever told a lie, you’ve broken this commandment. 
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife / You shall not covet‡ anything that belongs to your neighbor… If you’ve ever wanted something that doesn’t belong to you, or have been jealous of what someone else has, you’ve broken this commandment.

Step 3

Ask God for forgiveness.

Step 4

Tell Jesus Christ that you know He took your punishment on your behalf. Acknowledge that you are the one who deserved that punishment.

Step 5

Thank Him, and ask Him to live in your heart.

If you sincerely repent, you are saved. And you’re always saved.  You will continue to make mistakes, and while we’re to work to avoid sin, we can rest assured that forgiveness is a repentant heart and a prayer away.

The life of a Christian doesn’t promise sunshine and daisies. In fact, Jesus told us – “In this life, you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, emphasis mine).

Once we are saved and have surrendered our life to Jesus – we can rest assured that whatever trouble we face – we have the Creator of the universe on our side to help us, equip us, and give us the peace only He can offer

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