The Bible teaches that God created human beings in his own likeness, giving us moral, mental and emotional qualities that cannot be found among any of the other creatures on earth. He made us special in order to have a special relationship with us. However, our wrongful thoughts, words and actions have alienated him and have provoked his anger. And, sadly, we are unable to make amends by our own efforts. No action or ritual we perform can undo the wrongs we have done or prevent us from doing more wrongs in the days ahead. We cannot through our own exertions repair our relationship with him or cancel his condemnation of us.
Yet God loves us still and has acted to save us from his judgment and restore us to his friendship. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to set things right. After living a perfect life, Jesus died in our place and on our behalf. On the cross, he assumed our sins and endured our punishment. In this way, he made it possible for us to bear his purity and share his destiny. God showed his approval of Jesus and his acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice by raising him from the dead and taking him back to heaven.
Jesus has done everything that needed to be done to make us right with God. To benefit from his sacrifice, we must believe in him. We must trust in him as Saviour and entrust ourselves to him as Lord. “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” (John 3:16). Indeed, “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Once we believe in Jesus and are saved, there are certain things that we should do, and will want to do, to please our Saviour. With God’s help, we should:
- read the Bible regularly, meditating on it in order to learn more about who God is, what he has done for us, and what he wants of us;
- pray regularly, offering God our praise and thanksgiving, telling him our thoughts and feelings, and asking him for help and guidance;
- attend church regularly, forming friendships with other Christians, gaining encouragement from them, and giving encouragement to them;
- be baptised in obedience to Jesus’ command and as a public expression of our newfound faith in, and allegiance to, Jesus as Lord;
- strive to live a life worthy of our salvation, becoming more like Jesus day by day, displaying his character, which is full of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23);
- share the good news about Jesus with others, telling them that they, too, can be forgiven and have a place in heaven, if only they will trust in Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
© Andrew Lansdown
This brief article was originally written and published as an addendum to Andrew’s gospel pamphlets, “Train Home” and “Sons Laid Down Their Lives”.