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Friday, 29 May 2015

Why Jesus?

For many decades, the answer given by many, to the question above, has been along the lines of: "Because He will make you happy"; "Because He will give you meaning and purpose in life"; Because He will ensure that you are healthy, and wealthy"; "Because the whole world will look so much better when you accept Him into your heart"!

That, however, is not what the Bible teaches!  That, I would respectfully suggest, is not the experience of hundreds of thousands of disciples of Jesus in what we refer to, collectively, as "The Persecuted Church".  That was certainly not the experience of the young men who, with the name of Jesus on their lips, were murdered by terrorist thugs of the so-called Islamic State, on a beach in Libya.

So why did Jesus - God in human flesh - come to this earth; and why should I yield my life to Him?  The apostle John, in his first letter to the church at large, writes: "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." (I John 3:8).  He continues: "No one born of God commits sin; for God's nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother." (I John 3:9-10).  This is not teaching what is sometimes referred to as "sinless perfection".  The same John has already written: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." but "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (I John 1:8-10).

What John is saying is that Jesus came to save us from sin.  It's that simple.  You are a sinner; I am a sinner.  You don't need me to tell you that; I don't need you to tell me.  As sinners in God's eyes, we deserve nothing other than His righteous judgement, and punishment.  We deserve, when our mortal lives come to an end, nothing other than banishment from His Presence throughout eternity.  (If you want to know more about eternity, I recommend my book: Great Words of the Faith - link to the Kindle edition at the top of the page.  Costs less than a fish supper!).  However, I do not need to bear that punishment, because Jesus has paid the penalty - the Righteous for the unrighteous (see I Peter 3:18) - and I may go free!   No wonder that His disciples sing about, and rejoice in, His amazing grace!

Have you confessed - to Him, and to yourself - that you are a sinner.  That's the first move - recognising that, as the Anglican prayer puts it: "there is no health in [me]".  You then need to put pride behind you, and accept that you can never, ever, make up for the sins of the past, never mind those that you will commit during what remains of your mortal life.  You need to accept that only His sacrifice, made on your behalf, can cleanse you from sin, and make you acceptable to the sinless Creator of all that is.  When you do that, you are immediately justified (another word that is dealt with in the book already mentioned!) - in other words, Father God looks at you, and sees Jesus!  You are also assured that all of your sins are forgiven: "For there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom 8:1).

That's why Jesus came!  Not necessarily to provide us with peace, joy, love, fulfilment, and lasting happiness, and all of the other assurances given by some modern "evangelists".  A blog post is not the place to produce a sermon, but do follow the link Do you need God? Find out here! if you want further help and guidance.  For so many, the words of Jesus: "In the world you have tribulation;" (John 16:33) are a daily, and often very painful, experience!  However, Jesus continued: "but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Why Jesus?  Because "... God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18).  Because "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him." (John 3:36).

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