“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18
Jesus spoke those words to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, who came to Jesus in secret by night to try to understand Jesus’ message of salvation.
The Gospel–the Good News–is really quite simple, and at the same time, its depths are infinite. Contained in the Bible is God’s message to mankind, the path to salvation through his only begotten Son, Jesus. There is no other way to reach God, except through belief in Jesus as our savior. As Jesus said in John 14:6:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.”
Pretty exclusive? You better believe it is!
The Bible is no ordinary book; its words are alive and powerful, illuminated to our minds through our spirits and only by the Holy Spirit–God’s spirit. To those who honestly seek to know God, the meaning of the words of the Bible will be revealed. As Paul notes in 1 Corinthians chapter 2, the things–the teachings–that come from God are considered foolishness to people who don’t have God’s Spirit living in them, because the Word is spiritually understood by the man who has as his teacher the Holy Spirit. Then, our minds are able to grasp the meaning of the words of the Bible, and the more we study the Bible and seek to know, the more the Spirit of God reveals to our minds. But, the mind of the man without God cannot understand the words of the Bible–they are senseless to him.
What most people in the world do not understand, is that each of us is designed to seek God. We all have a “God-shaped hole” in our spirits–in our hearts–that only God can fill. People try endlessly to fill that special empty place with all manor of earthly things like money, drugs and alcohol, sex, food, thrills, material objects and other people, but none of those things will ever fill that longing in our hearts.
We are designed to have a relationship with the One who made us–God, who sent his only Son to die in our stead. Why did Jesus die on the cross for our sins? I can’t get my mind around how much God loves us that he would make a way for us to be reconciled to him as he did. Since the Garden, when Adam chose to disobey God, man has been under the curse of sin and death–born to die, if you will. In order for us to be reconciled to a relationship with God, we had to live a perfect and sinless life, but as the Bible tells us, no one–not anyone now, then or ever–could possibly live a sinless life.
The Son of God, Jesus, willingly condescended to leave his place in heaven and take on the form of mortal man. Born into the world, he was fully God and fully man at the same time. He agreed to do this for the purpose of bringing God’s salvation to mankind. Not only did Jesus bring us his teachings, but at the same time, he lived a sinless life. Satan likely believed that if he could kill Jesus, his problem would go away. That may have been the biggest trap Satan has ever fallen into!
The fact was that Satan could not “legally” claim the life of Jesus. Those who sin–all of us–are marked for death as the punishment for sin, and eternal separation from God if we are not reconciled to him. But, Jesus did not sin at all in his life, so death could not hold him. As Jesus made clear, no one had the power to take his life, he willingly gave it for us. The cross was his goal, not his downfall.
So, Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins that God’s law demanded. He paid the price of the sinner, taking the death upon himself that all of us deserve, but he did it without having earned that death sentence. He took our place in death, but death could not keep him because he was not legally held in death, being sinless.
Just before he died on the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished!” What was finished was God’s plan for saving mankind in this wretched and fallen world. Jesus rose from the dead in three days with mission accomplished!
We are “saved” when we believe in Jesus and what he did for our sake and ask God to come into our life through Jesus’ name. It’s that simple.
We should not wait until we “meet our Maker” to meet him. We simply have to look toward him right now with our hearts and our minds, and he’s always standing right there next to us waiting to reveal himself to us. Reach out for him as you would a dear friend, but unlike your dearest of friends, he will never let you down. And he will fill that special hole in your heart with his Spirit. The peace and freedom he gives you are amazing!
Meet your Maker now, while you still have time.
Gina Miller, a native of Texas, is a radio disc jockey. She also works with her husband installing and repairing residential irrigation systems and doing landscaping on the Mississippi Gulf Coast