"THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE"

The content of the Christian message is found in the book that

Christians feel was given by God as a revelation of Himself - the

Bible. The Bible tells us things about God that we could not know

otherwise. What follows is based solely and completely on that book.

What is God Like?

The Bible's message begins with God. 1 The Bible does not argue

God's existence - it simply states it, assuming that man knows that

God exists. 2 In fact, the Bible says that the created universe

around us is sufficient to demonstrate the existence of God. 3

The Bible says there is only one God. 4 He is the Creator of all

that is. 5 He is not a part of creation, but is distinct from

creation, for He existed prior to the created universe, and was under

no compulsion to bring the universe into existence. God is spirit

and has always been - He never "started" at some point in time. He

is eternal. 6 Because God has created all things, and because God

purpose and meaning.

God is holy. 7 He is the absolute standard of goodness itself -

there is nothing evil or corrupt in God. 8 Because He is holy, He

must punish evil.

God is personal - in fact, the Bible tells us that God is tri-

personal; that is, that the one being of God is shared by three

eternal persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This

would be contradictory if we said that God was one being and three

beings, or one person and three persons, but as long as one remembers

that being and personality are different things, the Bible's teaching

is quite clear.9

And, though it is one of the greatest mysteries of all, we are

told that God is loving, merciful, and kind 10 - and that despite

man's rebellion against Him!

The Problem with Man

One of the main problems with man is the fact that he refuses to

see himself as God sees him. God has given us guidelines by which we

can see if we are "functioning" properly. Many of these guidelines

have to do with how we behave - such things as that we should worship

only the one true God, 11 that we should not murder 12 or commit

commandments by giving us the highest standard - "You shall love the

Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all

your strength and with all your mind; and, You shall love your

neighbor as yourself." 16

Any honest individual, when faced with God's standard, will

admit to falling short. The Bible calls this rebellion, or sin. All

have sinned - none can escape that charge. 17

Sin separates from God, and as God is the source of all life,

the result of sin is death 18 - both physical death on this earth as

well as spiritual death - alienation from God both now and in

eternity. God's wrath is revealed against sin, and hence against

sinners. 19 Man, separated from God, even while physically alive, is

spiritually dead, incapable even of seeking after God. 20

Man, on his part, tries desperately to escape encountering the

Holy God. He does this by suppressing the truth that he can see all

around him. He becomes self-centered and self-seeking, turning the

worship that should belong to God inward upon himself, or upon some

Šother created object. 21 Every conceivable sin finds its origin in

the condition of man as sinner.

God's Means of Saving Man

rebellious man - but He didn't. God does not owe man even the first

chance at salvation - God is under no obligation to man at all. Yet,

He has not left us in our lost situation. He has an eternal plan to

bring the greatest good out of man's evil. That plan is wrapped up

in a person - the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ was completely unique - He was not simply a prophet

or a good man, He was God the Son in human flesh - the God-man. 22 He

was totally without sin 23 - He perfectly obeyed all of God's law.

Hence, He was not under the curse of death. Death had no power over

Him. Yet, He died. Why?

Jesus voluntarily laid down His life as a substitute. 24 Since

He did not have to die, He voluntarily took the place of all those

who believe in Him throughout the ages. By dying in their place, He

takes their punishment upon Himself - He dies their death so that

they can live His life.

In fact, the Bible says that God sees us as

if we died with Christ upon the cross of Calvary! 25 Since the

penalty of sin is death, and Christ has died that death, then sin is

forgiven for all those who die with Christ! This is how God has

decided to bring about forgiveness of sins - in the death of Jesus

Christ.

Hence, all sin will be punished - either on the cross of

Calvary, or in eternal hell. Where one's sins will be punished is

dependent upon whether one is in Christ Jesus or not.

grace He has joined these people from all eternity to Jesus Christ,

so that His death is their death. 27 Jesus did not die

indiscriminately for everyone - He died only for those who believe in

Him.

Not only this, but the Bible says that on the third day after

His death, Jesus rose from the dead - He was resurrected, never to

die again. 28 And, since those who are saved died with Christ, they

also have the promise of being raised up with Him in eternal life. 29

But who are these who are "in Christ" or who have died with Him?

How can a person avail himself of this great plan of salvation?

Doesn't the Bible say that man does not even seek after God? 30 Yes,

it does say that. The answer is found in the very grace of God.

God's grace is something He gives because He wishes to give it, not

because we earn it, merit it, or buy it. Man has no claim upon God's

grace. Grace, by definition, is given freely. 31

Jesus taught, "No man is able to come to Me unless the Father,

who sent Me, draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 32

Man, being dead in sin, is given new life simply on the basis of

God's desire to do so. And to whom does God give this life? The

Bible calls them "the elect", which simply means that these people,

no more deserving than any others, are chosen by God, completely on

the basis of His own will and mercy, to be united with Christ,

forgiven of their sins, and given eternal life. 33 Once God has given

to them spiritual life (which the Bible calls "regeneration" or being

"born again") 34 He also gives to them the gifts of repentance 35 and

faith.36

Man responds to these actions of God by repenting and

believing in Christ. But God's choice of these people is based

completely upon grace and mercy - nothing else.

Trusting Christ

What does it mean when the Bible speaks of a person "believing"

in the Lord Jesus Christ? It is far more than simply an intellectual

acknowledgment that Jesus is Lord and Savior - though that is a vital

part of it.

It also involves a commitment to Him as Lord in one's

life - a willingness to turn all of one's life, including one's

dreams, goals, and ambitions, over to the Lord Jesus, to follow Him

wherever He leads. This kind of commitment can only come from the

work of God in man's heart, as we have already seen.

"But," one might say, "if God is the one who saves, and it is

only on the basis of His mercy that anyone can be saved, how can I

personally be saved?" If the true desire of your heart is to trust

in the Lord Jesus Christ and to commit yourself to Him as your Lord

and then as your Savior, such a desire can only be placed in your

heart by the Spirit of God. 37 "What, then, must I do?"

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved" is the

Bible's answer. 38 In faith toward the Lord Jesus, and a heart-felt

desire to turn from anything which is against God's will, commit

yourself to the Lord Jesus, knowing that His death is sufficient to

cleanse you from all your sin. Hold only to the Lord Jesus and

nothing else - trust Him to save you and give to you eternal life.

He has promised to do so. 39 A simple prayer of repentance and

commitment is all that is needed. God has promised, "Every one who

calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved."40

Some Questions Answered

1) Can we earn salvation? Certainly not - man, being dead in

sin, is unable to save himself, or to contribute anything toward his

own salvation. God's way is to save completely and fully in Jesus

Christ, and in no other way. Any other teaching is not the Gospel of

Jesus Christ. 41

2) Are there any too sinful to be accepted by Christ? No, none

at all. Each of us was at one time dead in sin before we were raised

up by God. 42 The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is sufficient to cleanse

from all sin.43

3) But what of the cost of following Jesus? Yes, there is a

cost - not a cost to being saved, but a cost of living as a disciple

of Jesus Christ. He calls us to live a holy life, separate from the

sinful attitudes of the world. 44 The standards of Christian living

are very different than those of the world. As men and women who

have died with Christ, our outlook on life should be different - the

glory of God should be our highest priority, rather than the

fulfilling of personal desires.45

4) How can I persevere? What if I fail? When God saves, He

does so completely. It is not in our power that we persevere, but in

the power of God. It is His promise that He will complete the work

He has begun in us. 46 The Bible says, "God, who has called you into

fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful." 47 It

is the faithfulness of God that brings about the faithfulness of the

Christian.

What Next?

The Bible speaks of Christ's "church." The church, in its most

general sense, is not a single organization or group or denomination

- it is the entire company of God's elect that is to be found in

every organization that worships God, teaches and preaches the Bible,

and leads others to the true Jesus Christ.

It is vital that you find

a local church that believes that the Bible alone is God's Word; that

teaches the truth about God and Jesus Christ (as seen above). The

pastor of such a church would be happy to speak with you about the

decision you have made.

Also important is the continued study of God's Word, the Bible.

Find a good, modern translation of the Bible (such as the "New

American Standard Bible" or the "New International Version") and read

from it every day. A good place to start is with the Gospel of John.

If we can be of assistance to you, please contact us. We will

do all we can to direct you to a good local fellowship.

1. Genesis 1:1 2. Psalm 14:1 3. Romans 1:18-20, Psalm 19:1 4.

Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 43:10, 44:6-8, 46:9-10, Psalm 86:9-10 5.

Genesis 1:1, Colossians 1:16-17, John 1:3, Jeremiah 10:12 6. John

4:24, Psalm 90:2 7. Isaiah 6:3, 5:16, Psalm 99:3, 5, 9 8. 1 John

1:5, Psalm 92:15 9. This teaching is based on three Biblical truths

- A) There is one God (Isaiah 43:10); B) There are three divine

persons described in Scripture (Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19-20) and

C) Each of the divine persons has equality with the others

(Colossians 2:9, John 20:28). 10. Psalm 86:15, Lamentations

3:22-23 11. Exodus 20:3-4, Exodus 34:14 12. Exodus 20:13 13.

Exodus 20:14 14. Exodus 20:15 15. Exodus 20:16 16. Luke 10:27

17. Romans 3:10-18, 23, Ecclesiastes 7:20 18. Romans 6:23,

Ezekiel 18:4 19. Romans 1:18, John 3:36 20. Ephesians 2:1-14,

Colossians 2:13, Romans 3:11 21. Romans 1:21-25 22. John 1:1-

18, 1 Timothy 3:16, Colossians 2:9, Philippians 2:5-11 23. 1

Peter 2:22, Hebrews 4:15 24. John 10:14-18, 2 Corinthians 5:21,

1 Peter 3:18, Isaiah 53:4-6 25. Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:1-10

26. Titus 2:14, Matthew 1:21 27. Ephesians 1:4-6, Romans

8:31-34 28. Luke 24:1-36, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. 29. John

5:24, Romans 6:8-10 30. Romans 3:11 31. Romans 11:6, Ephesians

2:8-9 32. John 6:44 33. John 6:37-40, Romans 8:28-9:24, Ephesians

1:3-11, 2 Timothy 1:9 34. John 3:3-6 35. Romans 2:4, 2 Timothy

2:25 36. Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 12:3 37. Romans 8:5-8 38.

Acts 16:31 39. John 5:24, 6:40, 8:12 40. Romans 10:13 41.

Romans 4:1-5, Galatians 1:6-9, 2:21, 3:24 42. Ephesians 2:1-6

43. 1 John 1:7 44. 1 Peter 1:13-16, 1 John 2:15-17 45. Romans

6:11-18, Colossians 2:7-8 46. Philippians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 1:30-

31, John 10:25-29, Romans 5:1-2 47. 1 Corinthians 1:9

(Tract by ALPHA AND OMEGA MINISTRIES)

(P.O. BOX 47041 Phoenix, Az. 85068)

 

HELP FOR NEW CHRISTIANS


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