Tag Archives: Salvation

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Easter is celebrated by Christians around the world each year, in remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Gospels record that Jesus was crucified on a Friday, then rose from the dead the following Sunday and appeared to His disciples and many others in the next few weeks.

Jesus’ original 12 disciples would go on to give their lives to spread the message of Jesus throughout the known world.  Later Christians, from the first century until our own time, have likewise given their lives to tell the message of Jesus.  Why is Jesus’ resurrection so important?

Jesus, Himself, gave us the reason.  Just after the Last Supper, on His way to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He would be arrested and taken for trial and crucifixion, Jesus had a long conversation with His disciples.  During that conversation, not only did He tell them that He would soon be killed, He also said, “Because I live, you will live also.” (John 14:19, NKJV)  Jesus’ resurrection is the proof that Jesus is who He said He was, and that He can give eternal life, like He said He could.

If Jesus were still dead, His claim to be able to grant eternal life to those who put their faith in Him would be suspect.  But since Jesus is alive, His promises are true.  Paul, the Apostle, put it this way:

“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! … But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:17, 20, NKJV)

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the key to the Christian faith – proof that our Savior lives, and that He has power to give eternal life to all who believe.  That is something worth celebrating!

Why Celebrate Easter?

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Good Friday is a day that Christians around the world remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  Although the crucifixion is central to the Christian faith, the title given to the day seems to be a misnomer.  What is good about a gruesome execution?  Paul, the Apostle, answers that question in the Book of Romans.  He writes:

For God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  (Romans 5:8-9, NKJV)

In this passage, Paul explains the meaning of Christ’s crucifixion.  In doing so, he lists two facts about the crucifixion that are good for us – facts that make the event Good Friday.

First, Paul states that the crucifixion is a demonstration of God’s love.  Not only has God said that he loves us, He has demonstrated it in the death of Christ.  The reason that it is a demonstration of love and not madness is that Christ died “for us.”  Christ died in our place.  He took the punishment we deserved, because He loved us.  He did so, even when we did not deserve it.  For God to love us that much and go to such great lengths to demonstrate it, is good news indeed!

Second, Paul states that the crucifixion delivers us from the guilt and punishment of sin.  Christ’s death makes us “justified” (no longer guilty) in God’s sight, because the punishment has already been paid and the slate is wiped clean.  When we put our faith in Christ, we need not feel guilty anymore.  The term “justified” is past tense.  It has already been done, once and for all.  Also, we will “be saved from wrath through Him” (future tense).  God’s approaching judgment will not effect the believer.  Jesus has already taken the wrath of God that we deserve on Himself, so we don’t have to.  Being forgiven and pardoned is certainly good news!

God’s love and forgiveness that was obtained and demonstrated by Christ on the cross is available to anyone who will ask.  If we are willing to turn from our old ways and follow Christ, we can ask and receive eternal life.

“For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'” (Romans 10:13, NKJV)

 

Good Friday…What’s It Good For?

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Celebrate Jesus

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A person’s title tells us about who the person is and what he/she does.  Some titles are attached to names.  In medical and academic circles the title of ‘doctor’ is used to indicate a person’s level of education.  In military circles a person’s rank is indicated by the title of ‘captain,’ ‘sergeant,’ etc.  In government ‘honorable,’ ‘senator,’ ‘president,’ etc. are used to indicate a person’s role in the government.

In modern times a title is sometimes attached to a person’s name.  In ancient times the name, itself, conveyed information about the person. Therefore, names were very important.

Matthew, in his gospel, records the events of Jesus’ birth, which we celebrate at Christmas each year.  Matthew records how Jesus’ mother, Mary was engaged to Joseph.  When she was found to be pregnant, Joseph considered breaking off the engagement, but changed his mind during an encounter with an angel.  That encounter is recorded in Matthew 1:18-24.  The angel explained to Joseph that Mary had not been unfaithful, but was still a virgin, pregnant through a miracle of the Holy Spirit.  The angel also told Joseph to go ahead and marry his bride, and to name the child she would bear Jesus.  Matthew explains that these events occurred to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.  Isaiah called the child’s name Immanuel.  These two names tell us two important tasks Jesus came to fulfill.

First, Jesus came to save us.  The angel told Joseph to name the child Jesus.  The name means ‘savior.’  The angel went on to explain that the child would save His people from their sins.  The first task Jesus came to fulfill is to save us from our sins.

The remainder of the New Testament explains how Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and how He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven where He intercedes on behalf of believers at God’s right hand, and how He is coming back again one day to rule as King of Kings, and how all who turn from their sins and believe in Jesus are forgiven of their sins and granted everlasting life.

Although it was Jesus’ birthday, He didn’t come to receive gifts.  He came to give gifts.  The first gift is salvation.  Have you received that gift?

The second task Jesus came to fulfill is, Jesus came to be with us.  Matthew explained that the events of Jesus’ birth were a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.  That prophecy gave Jesus another name, ‘Immanuel.’  Matthew translates that name for us.  He tells us the name means “God is with us.” (v. 23)  This name tells us that Jesus is God – an amazing declaration!  The name also tells us that God wants to be with us – also amazing!  God, the creator of the universe, chose to become a man, so that He could be with us.  God wants to be your companion.  Jesus’ second gift to us is His companionship, His friendship.  Those who have received the gift of salvation have the awesome opportunity to commune with God in prayer at any time, to enter the throne room of heaven and address the King of the universe as a friend.  Christian, how often do you spend time with God?  He wants to be with you.  Spend time with Him!

Christmas is a time of celebration.  We give gifts to others to celebrate the gifts God has already given to us.  As you celebrate Christmas, celebrate Jesus!

 

 

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