Thursday, August 31, 2023

Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?

Jesus answers this question in John 10:10 by saying “...I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” This abundant life is something we can enjoy now and, in the age, to come (Luke 18:29-30). Can anyone else give us life but Jesus? In John 14:6 we read “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We see that only Jesus can give us life. But not everyone can have this life that Jesus came to give. Only those that do the will of the Father can receive it (Matthew 7:21). The will of the Father is to listen to His Son Jesus (Matthew 17:5). Jesus tells us in John 8:24 “I told you that you will die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” Those that do receive Jesus have the right to become children of God (John 1:12). To do His will means everything that He commands of us. Besides believing in Him we must repent, or we will perish (Luke 13:3). What does this word repentance mean? It’s a turnaround; change of mind or heart; to be sorry for what we did. A biblical example of this is found in Matthew 21:28-30.

After one repents then Jesus must be acknowledged before men (Matthew 10:32-33), this is called confession. It’s important to note here that we are confessing Jesus as being the Son of God - not our sins. We confess Jesus the same say Peter did in Matthew 16:16 when he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. We can also compare Romans 10:10 with Acts 8:37. Paul tells the Romans that “ is with your mouth that you confess…” and in Acts 8:37 Philip said to the Eunuch “If you believe with all your heart, you may. The Eunuch answered and said I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Confession is simply stating publicly that “Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Is there anything else Christ wants us to do? In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus says to “...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” We can further learn that if we believe and are baptized, we shall be saved, but if we don't believe we will be condemned (Mark 16:16).

Jesus wants us to be baptized because it’s through baptism that we get into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27). Why is it important that we want to be in Christ? Romans 8:1 tells us that “Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We also learn from the apostle Peter that our sins are washed away in baptism (Acts 2:38). Baptism must be a burial as opposed to sprinkling because it represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:3-4). If one is not baptized, then he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-5). Jesus, even without sin, was baptized to show obedience to God’s commandments (Matthew 3:13-17). Peter explained what baptism symbolizes in 1 Peter 3:20-21. Belief, Repentance, Confession, and Baptism are commandments of God and must be obeyed to receive His gift of eternal salvation. If we know the right thing to do and don’t do it, we sin (James 4:17). Do we love Jesus? If so, then we’ll keep His commandments (John 14:15) and receive the abundant life that Jesus came to give.

When studying the Bible often times the obvious is overlooked. The Bible, God's Holy Word plainly teaches that baptism is essential to eternal life. We can’t keep part of His word and discard the other. We must keep the whole commandments of God to be acceptable in His sight. We need to open up the Word of God and see for ourselves all that is required of us to be saved in accordance with what God our Father has instructed? “Let the word of the Lord richly dwell within you…” (Colossians 3:16).


Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Defending Jesus to Others

In Acts 26:18, we find the Apostle Paul before Agrippa, defending his faith. He explains to Agrippa what happened to him on his journey to Damascus. He then explains the words of Jesus and that he is to tell others about Jesus so that others can be saved through Him. “To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18).

We too can have life if we live up to what Jesus told Paul. We must first turn from darkness (sin) to the light (walking with God). “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). We must then set our sights on having our domain with God and not with Satan. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, {even} to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). Through our obedience to the Word of God we will be moved to turn around so that our sins can be forgiven. Only those who determine to follow God, not Satan, can have forgiveness of sins. “And that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). The Apostle Peter wrote, “.... repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Once we have been forgiven of our sins and continue to follow God, then we will receive an inheritance! “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build {you} up and to give {you} the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). That inheritance is everlasting life with God our Father to those who are sanctified (which is set apart from sin and drawn near to Jesus)! Paul understood that for someone to do those things, they would have to have faith in Jesus. We will not put aside the world and draw near to Christ unless we have a true faith in Him. “But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6). Thomas would not believe in Jesus until he felt the scars of His wounds and realized that he really was looking at Jesus! We must believe in Jesus with a true faith - even though we have not personally seen Him. “Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed {are} they who did not see, and {yet} believed. Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:29-31). Are we really defending Jesus to others as Paul did in his day? If so, we can praise God.