It is not just what we believe, but who we believe and why that is important.
Almost every religious group in the world uses parts of the Bible to support some of their teachings; so how does one know what is true, what is worth believing?
The key is Jesus…
…Not just things He taught or said, but the very essence of who He is and what He did.
Jesus doesn’t just tell us what to do or believe. He lives it out Himself – He alone could do it perfectly – and He gives us His perfect, saving life as a gift.
He does this because He loves us so deeply, and He knows very well our weakness and fickleness. And this is why His death sacrificed for each of us is so important. Unique to all other religions, the death of Jesus is the preeminent part of His story. Why? Because it is our only salvation.
Who is Jesus?
Jesus is who He claimed to be – the Son of God. His origin is from eternity. Through Him everything that exists was created and is sustained. From the beginning of the world, He has at times appeared to people in angelic-form to unfold His plan to save sin-infected people. At His chosen time in history, He took on our humanity, becoming true God and true Man in one person, that He might live a perfect life in our place and then sacrifice His life to pay for our sin. Though crucified, dead and buried, He rose from the dead, confirming His Lordship and conquering sin and death. All who trust in Him are given His eternal life and salvation.
Who are we?
We human beings are the crown of God’s creation. God made mankind in His image with the unique ability to think spiritually and morally and to judge motives, thoughts and actions accordingly. We were endowed with God-like creativity and logic, so that we, as His special representatives, could exercise dominion over the earth and all other creatures. At the same time, we were to always joyfully acknowledge our complete dependence on God and His loving dominion over us. And that’s where things went wrong.
The world’s first man and woman fell to the temptation of questioning God’s love and wanting ultimate dominion over themselves. As God had warned, it marred His image in them and plunged them and the world into a death spiral. Ever since, every person is born without a true understanding of God, and without a desire to treasure Him as God over their own life. This is what the Bible calls sin. Because God is just, He must punish it. And yet, because He is gracious and merciful, God punished Himself in the person of Jesus, so that all people might be set free from death and be reunited with Him as their loving Lord.
As much as we humans enjoy thinking and living as though reality revolves around us, it does not. It revolves around Jesus. And He is not someone that any of us can take for granted; nor should we want to.
And there’s a difference between focusing on teachings of the Bible and focusing on the person of Jesus. Listen to what Jesus said to some very religious people:
“You study the Scriptures [the Bible] diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)
Life is in Jesus Himself.
Jesus made amazing promises for you. Trusting in Him you…
Jesus said amazing things about His eternal existence and authority:
As the way, only Jesus’ perfect sacrificed-life BRINGS sinners into the holy presence of God, and He saves us from the pride and deception of self-righteousness.
As the truth, only Jesus’ knowledge and understanding HARMONIZES with the reality God has established, and He saves us from the pride and deception of spiritual half-truths.
As the life, only Jesus is the very source of all things, who totally CONQUERS death, and provides PERFECT WHOLENESS to us frail beings.
We have none of these in and of ourselves, but Jesus gifts them to us:
- His perfect way to God,
- Knowledge of what is true, and
- Eternal life in all its fullness.
Before returning to heaven, Jesus gave wonderful instructions to His Disciples for continuing His saving mission:
This eternal Being sent from God, the person of Jesus, is our sure salvation.