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Here is a very interesting audio file explaining, in under three minutes, how salvation actually works.

Jesus died on a cross--so what?

 

Supposedly He did it for everyone who has ever lived or ever will.  How could the death of Jesus Christ on a cross thousands of years ago have anything to do with us today?  How could His death accomplish anything?

God originally created man so God could love him, fellowship with him and so God could bring glory to Himself.  As a perfect, loving creator, He is worthy of that glory.  We were created, quite literally, to be God's children and to worship Him.  He wanted to love us, care for us and be with us just like parents do today with their own children.  Adam and Eve were created without sin and God deeply loved them.  God also desired that they would love, honor and worship Him.  A perfect, loving creator is worthy of such adoration.  In order for there to be true love, there has to be freedom of choice. Had God just forced Adam and Eve to love Him by creating them to automatically do so, they would have only been loving God because they had no other choice--it wouldn't’t be a true expression of love.

That’s where the tree of the knowledge of good and evil comes in.  Traditionally, people think of it as an apple tree, but since the Bible doesn't elaborate, we really don’t know exactly what kind of fruit it was.  What kind of fruit it was doesn’t matter; what matters is that Adam and Eve were told not to eat from that tree.  Why would God put a tree in the garden and then tell them they couldn’t eat from it?  Simple, it gave them free choice.  Now Adam and Eve could choose to show their love for God by choosing to obey Him, or could choose to disobey Him by eating the fruit.  By not eating the fruit, Adam and Eve were also proving that they trusted God enough to do as He commanded.  Until they had eaten the fruit from that tree, their relationship with God was a very close, intimate friendship.  In fact, Genesis 3:8 in the Bible, shows that God, Adam and Eve literally went for walks in the garden.  It’s hard to imagine now, but while man was without sin, he could actually go for walks with God in the garden and have a literal, face-to-face relationship with God Himself.  Adam and Eve were truly God's children and He loved them more than they could possibly know.

Why was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil so dangerous?  Because it would give Adam and Eve a sense of what was right and what was wrong.  You see, before eating the fruit from that tree, Adam and Eve were totally innocent.  Since God never gave them a list of things that were right and things that were wrong, the way they lived was completely acceptable in God’s eyes.  There was no way for them to sin except to do the one thing they were told not to do--eat the fruit God told them not to eat.

Lucifer, who is Satan, was the most glorious angel God ever created.  In fact, Lucifer means “one of light.”  Lucifer was so magnificent that he thought he deserved to be worshiped in the same way God was.  Since God is the only true God, He could not allow this and disowned Lucifer along with all of the angels that Lucifer was able to get to follow him instead of following God.  Since Lucifer and the angels who chose to follow him no longer belonged to God, God removed from them everything that was glorious and good--those things belong to God.  This left Lucifer, now Satan, with nothing but evil and reduced Lucifer’s angels to demons.  Demons are really nothing more than angels with everything good taken away from them leaving them nothing but evil.

Satan was now so angry, bitter, evil and vengeful, that he wanted nothing more than to get back at God for taking away his former glory and prestige.  Since Adam and Eve were God’s very own children, Satan decided to go after them.  Even today, the best way for evil people to really hurt someone, or get them to pay a ransom, is to go after their children--anyone who doesn’t think that’s true only needs to watch the evening news.  Satan’s plan then and now has always been to try to turn the children God loved so much against Him.  If Satan could do that, he might even be able to get some of mankind to worship him instead of God.  It was the best way Satan could think of to get the worship he so badly wanted.

So, Satan came to Eve and told her that if she ate that fruit she would be “like God.”  Well, as usual Satan mixed just enough truth with his lie to make it believable.  What Satan didn’t bother to tell Eve was that she wouldn’t be like God in power, but only in the fact that God knows right from wrong.  Adam and Eve didn’t know right from wrong because for them there was no such thing as wrong--except for eating the fruit from that tree.  As soon as they fell for Satan’s lie and ate the fruit, they immediately knew right from wrong.  We know this because the first thing they did after eating the fruit was to fashion clothing for themselves and then hide from God because they were ashamed of being naked.  We see this in the Bible in Genesis 3:10-11.  Before eating the fruit, running around naked was all right for them because they had no knowledge of anything being right or wrong--since they were not disobeying God, they were not sinning.

All God ever wanted was to share His glory, His peace, and His love with His children (mankind), but God is perfect, holy and glorious; He is so magnificent in fact, that He cannot even stand to have sin anywhere near Him.   Naturally, once Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, they accepted sin and made it a part of who they were.  For that reason, God could have nothing more to do with them face-to-face.  He could no longer walk with them, talk with them, or interact with them in person.  Although He still loved them with all of His being, their sinfulness disgusted Him and He simply could not stand to be around it.  God had no choice but to throw them out of the garden to make them struggle, get sick, get old and eventually die because those things are the price of sin.  Through it all, He never stopped loving them.  In fact, He loved man so much that he wanted to give man a second chance to be able to one day come back to Him.  He didn’t have to; He had every right to just destroy us for disobeying Him, but He loved man far too much to do that.

In the Old Testament, the most ancient times in the Bible, God demanded sacrifices so people had a way to prove that they wanted to be reconciled with Him.  The animal sacrifices were horrible and disgusting so that man would hopefully see that their sin was the same in God’s eyes.  It was the closest God could come to making us understand how our sin and disobedience looked to Him.  Not just any sacrifice would do; it had to be the most perfect sacrifice possible.  That’s why in Old Testament times, God required that the first and best produce from the harvest be sacrificed.  That’s why He demanded that only the most perfect livestock could be an acceptable sacrifice.  That was more than fair considering how much He had originally given us, and how badly we blew it.  It’s even more fair when you consider that we had absolutely no right to expect a second chance--But, He loved us enough to give us one.  Through sacrifice and obedience to God, man could be able to go to heaven and once again live with God as His children after death. Since man’s body was now sinful, death had to be a requirement to go to heaven and live in the presence of God Himself because He couldn’t allow us to bring our bodies into His presence as we could in the Garden of Eden before there was sin.

Well, people being as they are, it eventually got to the point where even sacrifices and living for God were too much to ask from man.  We began to argue over who had the better sacrifice, we became jealous of what others had, we began to lie, cheat, steal and otherwise turn our backs on a God who loved us more than we could understand.   Most people eventually refused  to sacrifice or to try to please God at all--they were so selfish and sinful that they completely rejected His love for them.  God could see that giving us a way to earn our way back into His presence just wasn’t working.  We had blown our second chance and, once again, He had every right to destroy us.  But, God still loved us too much for that; in fact, He decided He loved us enough to offer us a third chance!

Since we obviously couldn’t handle earning our way back to God, He knew the third chance would have to involve something that was a free gift--something we wouldn’t have to earn and then keep earning.  And since a sacrifice was required to be perfect, this sacrifice had to be the most perfect of all.  It had to be absolutely flawless--it had to be a sacrifice that God could accept once and for all, and a sacrifice that would be adequate for every sin of every person who was ever born or ever would be.  God knew that only with a sacrifice like that, could He hope to bring us back to Him.  God could think of only one sacrifice that would be perfect enough to accomplish all of that--His very own Son.

God loves us so much that He was willing to let His only Son suffer and die in order to be that perfect sacrifice for our sins and for turning our backs on God.  Since Jesus was absolutely perfect in every way, He was all that was required for us to be saved.  He was such a perfect sacrifice that there is nothing else we need in order to be able to one day be back in the presence of God Himself.  By the sacrifice of His Son, God also eliminated the need for all of the horrible animal sacrifices that were required up to that time.  The only thing we have to do now to be forgiven for all that we’ve done is acknowledge that our sin separates us from the God who loves us enough to want to make us all His very own children, admit that we have sinned then ask forgiveness, ask Him to take over our lives proving that we accept the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf, and prove our love for God by living the way Jesus told us to in God’s book--the Bible.

To help us accomplish these things, God promised to send the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts.  The Holy Spirit brings peace to our very souls and helps us to better understand what we read in the Bible.  God also promised that if we accept the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, He would forgive our sins to the point that we would be able to be in the very presence of God for eternity in heaven after we die.  We are so sinful, disgusting, rebellious and selfish that the only way God can stand to look at us again, is if He sees His Son in our hearts and in our lives each time He looks at us.

This is why Jesus had to die for us.  We needed a perfect sacrifice to make us acceptable to the Creator we rejected and turned our backs on.  Deep down inside, whether they realize it or not, even nonbelievers know this to be true--that’s why people get so defensive when they hear someone talk about Jesus Christ.  People can hear others talk about Islam, Buddhism, Confucius or New Age, and will usually listen out of curiosity; but as soon as someone wants to tell them about Jesus Christ, they become defensive and don’t even want to hear about it.  Why is this?    Simple, when they hear Jesus Christ spoken of, somewhere deep inside they know it’s true and they don’t want to have to deal with it.  If they deal with it, they will have to admit that they need a savior, accept that savior (Jesus Christ), and then let Him change their lives.  For some reason, they seem to think that’s a bad thing.  The truth is, although the real reward is spending eternity surrounded by God’s love, having the peace of Christ as a savior makes things better here on earth as well.

When we give our lives to Christ, as a believer we literally become brothers and sisters with every other saved person--a connection that is felt almost instantly among believers.  It is difficult for unsaved people to feel or understand this connection, but those who are saved do.  Believers also have the peace of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and in their lives.  It doesn’t mean they will always be happy and never have any difficulties in life; it simply means that whatever happens in this life, they know God is there for them and with them.  Believers know that God is watching out for them and will make sure that everything is ultimately for their own good even though it may not feel like it to them at the time.  Believers also have the peace of not having to be afraid of dying.  Of course believers have a natural, human aversion to death, but they also know, and feel, that when they die, they will be welcomed into heaven by a God who loves them so much that he was willing to give all of mankind three chances to be with Him.  A God who loves them so much that He was willing to let His very own Son be tortured and killed to be the final sacrifice for our sins--our last chance.

People ask “how could a loving God send people to hell?”  Well, He doesn’t send anyone to hell.  Hell was created for Satan and all of the demons who decided to try to help their leader Satan overthrow God.  Hell is a place where sin will be sent to get it out of God’s sight once and for all.  It’s not God that sends unbelievers to hell, it’s their own un-forgiven sin that sends them to hell.  God doesn’t want anyone to end up in hell.  He sent his very own Son to die an agonizing death on a cross in order to give us a way to avoid hell and live forever with Him--the only other thing He could have done would have been to take away our free choice and force us to obey Him; which of course wouldn’t be love at all.  God loves us so much that after all we’ve done to separate ourselves from His love, He was willing to provide us with this last sacrifice--this last chance--to get back our relationship with Him--we only have to take it.  All we have to do to find our way back to God is follow the steps given by God Himself in the Bible:

First we have to admit that we have turned away from God through our sins and disobedience.  The Bible tells us that “All people are sinners and come short of the Glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)  This simply  means that nobody is good enough to come to God as they are, and that everyone needs to be forgiven.

We have to admit that we are sinners and ask God to apply the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ to our sins so that we can be forgiven.  There are a lot of other beliefs out there, but Jesus is the ONLY way to God.  Right in the Bible, Jesus Himself said: “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one gets to God except through Me!” (John 14:6)  He didn’t say He was one of the ways to God--He said He was the ONLY way.  Since Jesus wouldn’t lie to us about being the only way to God, any religion that teaches otherwise has to be wrong.

The Bible tells us that if we ask for forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and truly mean it, God promises to honor that and accept us back as one of His children.  In the Bible it even says that “God loved the world so much, that He sent His only Son so that whoever believes in Him would not die, but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)

The only other step is to let Jesus take over our lives.  This means that we let Him send the Holy Spirit to us, and try to live the way He told us to.  Once we have Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our hearts and in our lives, our lives will change for the better.  The feelings of love, purpose and belonging are hard to describe to someone who doesn’t have them, but they are things that believers will have for eternity.  While here on Earth, we just continue to strive to live the way Jesus instructed us to in order to have all of the blessings He promised, and in order to let other people see the difference He has made in our lives.  It is important to remember that we are saved only by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, there is nothing we can “do” to get to heaven.  Anyone who teaches that Jesus alone is not enough to save us, and that there are other things we must do to go to heaven, is wrong.  The only thing we need is a perfect sacrifice for our sins.  God provided this sacrifice in His Son Jesus Christ.  That is why Jesus had to die, and now you can see how it still applies to us today.


Here is a very interesting audio file explaining, in under three minutes, how salvation actually works.

If you are curious about what Heaven and Hell might be like,  please read the story  "One for Heaven, One for Hell" and experience what I think they will be like.

Are you saved?  Are you going to heaven when you die?  Not sure?  Then please read the article "Are You Saved" and find out for sure.

Do you think you're going to heaven because you're a good person?  Then you better take The Good Person Test.

If you are ready to be saved and to give your life over to God, then please check out the Salvation Prayer.






This article copyright 2007 by Keith C. Rawlinson (Eclecticsite.com).  All rights reserved.
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