“It is finished” (John 19:30). What was finished? Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation – the satisfying of the wrath of God. The cross was necessary because we have sinned against a holy God. God’s wonderful love for us is always linked in Scripture to the cross. Salvation through faith in the crucified and risen Christ is free and available to all.
God's love gift of His son: It is free: we cannot earn God's love. It is unending: a certain promise of eternal life. It is sacrificial and boundless: It is available to all, no matter the depth of our sin or the frailty of our faith.
Faith is the essential spiritual requirement to receive eternal life, according to John 3:16. But what exactly is saving faith? We must know and agree with the facts of the gospel that are explained in the Bible. Additionally, we must commit ourselves to Christ, asking Him for His gift of love and mercy, entrusting ourselves to Him. Although we may only have a "scrap of faith" mixed with some unbelief, God invites us to put our faith in Christ and find forgiveness and grace.
John 3:16 is the story of story of: The Greatest Danger: Our greatest danger is perishing, being condemned to eternal ruin, separated from the goodness of Christ after we die. The Greatest Rescue: Our greatest rescue is by God who so loved the world, the world that was hostile to Him and that rebelled against Him, that He sent His only Son to die for our rebellion that we might not perish, but have eternal life. The Greatest Promise: Our greatest promise is the that we can have eternal life and it can be our present possession that cannot be taken away.
John 3:16 expresses the depth of God's great love for us. The holy self-existent God who holds us accountable loved the world: all of humanity. In love He gave His Son, Emmanuel, God with us, to die as a substitutionary sacrifice and pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus calls us to trust and believe in Him so that we might not perish but find everlasting life.
Faith alone is the key to forgiveness and salvation. We all know and feel our guilt and brokenness before a holy God. Jesus Christ alone must be the object of our faith that brings justification and peace with God. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, not a feeling. It can be increased through prayer and the study scripture. Faith is not a work, but spurs us on to good works as we serve as the representatives of Christ.
The Holy Spirit is a person, not a vague spiritual force, co-equal with God in the Trinity. The Holy Spirit lives in believers, a forever present Helper who reveals the truths of Scripture to us. It is important to follow the command of Jesus to ask the Father for the Holy Spirit to increasingly fill us and work in our lives.
How often do you pray and don't receive the answer you desire? Pastor Becker explains how we can understand another great promise that Jesus gave the disciples during the Upper Room Discourse, "If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." He helps us understand what it means to pray in Jesus' name and what it means that God is glorified.
In the verse above Jesus makes this promise to all believers that not only will we carry on His work, but we will do His work in a greater way than He did. What could this possibly mean that we could do greater works? Pastor Gregory breaks down this verse for us and shows us how the work of spreading the gospel to reach others is an even greater work.
Jesus plainly claims to be the exclusive path to the Father. In scripture: "I am" is the sacred name of the eternal, self-existing God (Exodus 3:14). "The way" is a path that begins under God's judgement and ends in the presence of God in His house. The only path is Jesus, our sin-bearing substitute. "The truth",Jesus came to bear witness to the truth that brings us freedom. (John 8:32) "The life" Those who believe in Christ Have crossed over from death to life! (John 5:24)
Saving faith has three essential components, all described in Colossians 1:21-23. We must recognize our condition apart from Christ, alienated from God and falling short of His holiness. The next step is reconciliation, in genuine repentance accepting the forgiveness that we could not earn for ourselves. Once we have found peace with God, we must continue to move forward in confident hope, steadfastly walking with Christ.
In Colossians 2:1-5 Paul explains how healthy, mature believers and churches should be established. Church leaders must be vitally involved with their congregation, struggling in prayer for them. Members should have a spirit-generated unity, being "knit together in love," and every individual should be a fully engaged part of the whole. Lives will be transformed as believers grow in their assurance of all things that relate to Christ.
In Colossians 1:12-14, Paul expresses gratitude to God for many reasons, all related to Christ's sacrificial death on our behalf. We have been qualified for heaven, delivered from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of light. We are eternally forgiven and redeemed from our sins. Our expressions of gratitude should be natural and habitual. Thanks be to God!
It is supremely significant that Christ is divine. More than possessing the attributes of God and performing the acts of God, Jesus is the full totality of God in human form. God became flesh in order that He might deliver, redeem, change, forgive, and rule us. May Christ always be preeminent in our lives.
"Christ in you, the hope of glory." This is the message to which Paul had a single-minded devotion, the Good News that we can all be reconciled to God. Paul was convinced that this message worth dying for and worth living for with all his energy. We too, are to be Christ's ambassadors, sharing in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17).