Life! Life fulfilling… Life unchained… Life unlimited… Life abounding… Life eternal… Free for all who would simply accept the gift!
Titus 2:11-13 (MSG)
God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation's available for everyone! We're being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.
How enticing some of the ‘offers’ are in the media (Print, Radio, TV, Internet, etc). They ply you with offers of ‘free’ or inexpensive products or services which are nothing more than just cheap items having little or no value nor durability of purpose. But see there is a free offer that is truly free and doesn’t seek to ensnare you upon receipt of the gift.
Matter of fact, this offer not only delivers on its promise but leaves the consumer free in a manner that results in their unbounded ability to live a life of joy beyond the bounds of imagination.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
But it is true… and what pray tell is being offered ‘free’…. LIFE! Life today, life eternal, life without limits, life with the peace and freedom that only God Himself can imbue.
So come, let’s talk about this offer. I will share with you the details to get you started. Or in the case of some who perhaps took up this offer but failed to follow through, how to restart your new life.
Our starting point is to identify the players here. God, Jesus, and you/me. As we go through this you’ll begin to appreciate the difference between what we might think is living and what God’s big picture of living is. The pivot point is when our vision of life and Gods come into alignment. Let’s begin in Romans.
Romans 3:23-26 (NLT)
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Our starting point is right here. God is Holy, the perfect judge of righteousness, he can’t be unjust as that isn’t in His nature. Sin must be punished. Unfortunately for us, the very fact that we are human means that our nature compels us to sin. So much so, that soon after crossing over into the ‘age of accountability’ we find that we start stacking up sin after sin with each one tagging us for eternal separation from God.
Psalms 22:3 (NLT)
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
God the Righteous Judge
Psalms 7:11 (NLT)
God is an honest judge. He is angry with the wicked every day.
The punishment for sin
Romans 6:23 (HCSB)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The convenient lies that allow us to avoid getting in trouble with our parents or authorities. The item that presented itself to you and no one was looking so you took possession of it, after all no one saw you. The thought that crossed your mind to inflict harm on another because they have violated a boundary that you have established that no one may cross. And on and on, the evidence against us keeps piling up. And it only takes the first one to condemn us.
Contrast this to a Holy God who can’t tolerate sin and impurity in His presents. A just God that without hesitation dispatches evil and embraces that which is pure. That’s right, He embraces only that which is pure. So, if we have any infraction we are damned.
But God is multifaceted as well. He’s a God who is pure love and full of compassion. A God that wishes none should perish and that all commune with Him.
God of Love
1 John 4:16 (NLT)
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
Alas, he created humanity, imbued it with free will. Set his creation up in a perfect environment where it could flourish. Simply because He desired a relationship with us. But mankind sinned against God and did the one thing he forbid.
As a result, mankind was driven from the paradise that God had created for them. Separation was the punishment, along with pain and suffering, and the judgement of death.
How does this God of Justice hold up to this same God who is Loving and benevolent? God wasn’t satisfied to apply justice to His creation. His desire from the beginning was to establish a relationship with us. But how?
The extent of God’s Love
John 3:16-17 (NLT)
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”
It was established under the law of Moses that sacrifice would be accepted for atonement for sin. Under that law it was routine that God’s people would purify themselves, make sacrifices for atonement and then repent of their sin.
God’s plan was the perfect sacrifice for all sin. The plan was that God’s Son would take physical form of a man. The Son would walk the earth and bring to humanity a new covenant. A new covenant that would fulfill all the requirements of the old law and make a new way that God’s Creation could reestablish a relationship with God. His Son would become that perfect sacrifice. He would take on the sin of the world and becomes the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God!
But death on the cross was not the end of this marvelous plan. As foretold in prophecy three days after his brutal death on the cross to cleans mankind of sin, He arose from the dead in victory over sin and death.
Reconciliation with God and Life Through Jesus
Romans 5:10-11 (HCSB)
For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him.
So how do we take advantage of this atonement? It is as simple as this; place your trust and hope in the unselfish sacrifice of Jesus Christ and give your life to the Master.
Establishing your relationship with Jesus Christ
Matthew 10:32-33 (NLT)
“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
Romans 10:9 (NLT)
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Several things are going to be taking place subsequent to this commitment.
On your part, Christ is going to expect you to repent just as repentance was part of the old law it is still part of this new covenant as well. The sacrifice was taken care of by Jesus, moving forward will be the effort to become the image of His holiness in your own walk. To do this requires a change of mind and direction. Jesus puts it clearer than anyone else.
Acts 3:19 (NLT)
Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.
Take up your cross.
Matthew 16:24 (NLT)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.
Now realize you’ve given your life to Christ, in doing so, what the world does to you, isn’t to you. That offence would be against Christ. You’ve given your life your life is now his. So, when men treat you unfairly it is Christ they offend.
Love your enemies (pray for them)
Matthew 5:43-44 (NLT)
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
On God’s part, what is going to happen is that you no longer will be on your own out there. By turning your life over to God in surrender, you are placing yourself in God’s care. So, every issue that comes along you can be assured if you’re walking close to the Master that ‘God’s Got This!’ You no longer need to be where the buck stop. God is the final authority in your life and He is more than willing to direct your steps if you allow Him to do so.
The major shift that is going to take place from God’s perspective is that He is going to place his Spirit in you to be your teacher, guide and advocate.
Gift of the Holy Spirit
1 John 4:13 (NLT)
And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.
Shortly thereafter you’ll experience changes and growth constantly as you study the Word of God and respond to the Holy Spirit’s direction. Most notable from your perspective you begin to see the fruits of the spirit taking hold and becoming a part of your life.
Abiding joy; Joy beyond any reason, despite of the circumstance, will be with you. You’ll be living life on a totally different level than you thought possible.
John 10:10 (NKJV)
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
These are the words of Jesus; pulling no punches whatsoever. He is saying that his Devine purpose is to make life; real life, available and abundant.
As you take in the Word of God, pray and respond to the guidance of the Holy Spirit you’ll find the fruits of the Spirit being manifested in you life as well.
Fruits of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
What kind of life are we talking about here? Placing your life in the hands of Jesus Christ results in a life like nothing else that is available in this world. All of this and we haven’t even talked about Heaven. When the Christian leaves this world they continue living with their Savior. Paul states it oh so clearly.
2 Corinthians 5:8 (NKJV)
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
For the life that chooses to neglect the Lords gift of life, there is only the cruelty of this world now and when they leave this world, the judgement that God in His plan sought to save them from. But without accepting the sacrifice of His Son on their behalf, they will ultimately suffer the separation forever from God in the torments of Hell.
It’s not a difficult alternative to consider. God’s gift of life now and forever with Him, through the blood of Jesus His son, or ‘going it alone’ in a world that seeks only to destroy you and ultimately facing judgement for unpardoned Sin; which is eternal death.
The clear choice is Life; abundant, free of sin’s grasp, Life Eternal.