By Dr. Foster H. Shannon
We are privileged to know about Jesus. He is our Savior, our teacher, our master. Jesus Christ came from Heaven to Earth that we might be enlightened. Although there are many appealing and significant aspects to the life of Jesus Christ, the most important is that he is the Savior of the world. His suffering and death on the cross for the sins of mankind was as significant as his marvelous life. A person may become a follower of Jesus, and approach in lifestyle and knowledge of the standards Christ represented or accomplished. The prophets reveal many truths regarding the nature and purposes of God. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world, and scripture proclaims that he is the only Savior. Christianity is not correctly classified as one road to God among several that are available. In spite of the urges of the eminent historian, Arnold Toynbee and others, Christianity cannot be mixed in a bowl with the other religions of the world, and baked in a syncretistic oven to produce a more refined religion that will unite all of mankind.
“For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
GOD MADE THE WAY TO SAVE US – IF WE LET HIM
The claims of Christianity and the other religions of the world (with the possible exception of Judaism) are mutually contradictory in this one most vital matter: How we establish a living relationship with God. Other religions appeal to the ability of people to do something about their situation so that they might merit favor of the god they worship.
The New Testament clearly states the absolute teachings regarding our own salvation and that of others, that it is not by our own deeds that we obtain righteousness, but because of what Jesus has done for us.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his MERCY he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost…”~ Titus 3:5
It is through Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf that our forgiveness is found. We are washed clean and find mercy, grace and new life in Jesus Christ.
Mercy is when we DON’T get what we DO deserve. Grace is when we DO get what we DON’T deserve.
EACH ONE MUST DECIDE
Each one must decide whether Christ is one man among many great men, or whether his contribution is unique—of absolute importance.
Some might be most impressed by his ministries of healing, while others would be inclined to emphasize his stature as a theologian and explicator of the Old Testament. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew,ch,5) is the very pinnacle of the summaries of the moral and ethical teachings of the Old Testament. Jesus’ influence upon the literature of the world—cannot be ignored. No other man has had so pervasive an influence upon the essays, philosophical treatises, novels, and ordinances. The same is true of music, art, and even legal and cultural affairs. Without question, the total impact of the life of Jesus Christ is unsurpassed.
Nothing will deaden the church of Jesus Christ so quickly as the idea, that after all, God will somehow, in some way, reach everyone and bring them to Heaven. This erroneous concept is debilitating in efforts to expand the gospel. It is important to follow Jesus in this life, and to trust God for the forgiveness of our sins that is found in repentance and faithfulness. Jesus is our teacher and example. If our understanding of the Bible is strong, and our lives are faithful to our God, we will be happy and encouraged. This is a matter of ultimate importance. Subtle changes may occur in the direction of the Christian community. The edge may lose its vitality, esprit de corps, and devotion—not because Christians are happy that any one is separated from God, but because the significance of their call to be witnesses for Jesus Christ has been greatly reduced. The Christian church must not sacrifice its convictions. Christians will not give of themselves, as they should, unless they are profoundly convinced by the Holy Spirit through Biblical teachings that it is vitally important for a person to know Jesus Christ as Savior.
God will not compel anyone to believe. On more than one occasion, the Pharisees demanded a sign from Jesus. They wanted a demonstration so powerful that if what Jesus said was true, they would be absolutely compelled to believe. And Jesus replied to them,
“An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign.”
God has created us as moral and responsible beings who have the freedom of choice to either love, serve and follow him — or to outright reject him. Jesus never performed a miracle that would force those who witnessed it to believe. However, he gives great evidences of his existence.To those who are honestly open to the spirit of God, it is evident that the power of God works through the miracles of Jesus Christ.
ALL OF US WHO BELIEVE IN JESUS ARE CALLED TO SERVE HIM
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, calls us to himself. When we understand the teachings of Jesus it will lead us to happiness and well being. How can we do this? We are to sit at his feet and learn from him. We are to follow him and obey him. Parents are to teach their children to believe in Jesus—and to live as he would have us live. We are encourage by Hebrews 12:1-2:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings to closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…”
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one who is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterances of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.” (I Corinthians 12:4-10)
Jesus gave us this promise, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
God wants us to use our gifts to serve Him and bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the world in which we live.
Jesus Christ can bring peace to each one of us – to the family, to the nation, and to the world.
Find out by reading what He is saying to you every day in the Bible!
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Blessings to all!