Hold Fast

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2, ESV)

Location: Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

If You're Not Christian, Please Read This!

If you’re a non-Christian reading this, you have probably heard Christians talking about "salvation," the "Gospel," "sin," and "giving your life to Jesus." You may understand them, but chances are that you may not.

What does it mean to be Christian? First and foremost, a Christian has heard and responded to the Gospel message. And what is that?

I’ll let the Bible explain for itself.

1) There is only one God, creator of heaven and earth.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.(Genesis 1:1)
…know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. (Deuteronomy 4:39)

2) God is perfect and He is holy – that is, there is no injustice or wrong in Him.

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" (Isaiah 6:3)
"The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he." (Deuteronomy 32:4)

3) Because He is Holy, He expects nothing less than perfection from us.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. (James 2:10)

4) Humanity is lost in sin, because of the actions of Adam. As a result of his sin, we all sin.

"but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die’"… she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:3,6b)
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… (Romans 5:12)
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… (Romans 3:23)

5) We are all condemned to death for our sins - every human being. Furthermore, God punishes the wicked eternally in hell.

Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. (Ezekiel 18:4)
For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23a)
…and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever… Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:10, 14-15)

6) No human being can save himself. Even our good deeds can't make us right with God.

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil. (Jeremiah 13:23)
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight... (Romans 3:20a)
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:7-8)

7) Because of our fallen state, Jesus Christ became a man, lived a sinless life, died on the Cross, and after three days, rose again from the dead.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. (1 Peter 2:22)
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures... (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

8) Jesus Christ, God incarnate, was a perfect sacrifice to pay the price for sin. Innocent, He stood as a substitute for sinners, facing God's wrath on their behalf.

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6)
"For 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 did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit... (1 Peter 3:18)

9) There is no other way than by God's mercy and grace, through faith in Christ alone. Obedience and good deeds cannot save you.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)

10) Those who put their faith in Jesus Christ will be saved and enjoy eternal life with God.

"For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:40)
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Please, if you haven't come to Christ, listen to what I say. We have all sinned - that means, every man, woman, and child among us has defiled the image of God Himself, the image in which we were all made! This is a capital crime.

Think of vandalism. If a vandal spraypaints a beat-up Dodge Aries, it's wrong. If a vandal spraypaints the roof of the Sistine Chapel, or the Mona Lisa, his act is far more serious. Why? Because of the VALUE of that which is defaced.

And our rebellion against God, our rejection of Him and disobedience towards Him, is a crime against that which is eternally perfect and holy, and of infinite value - God Himself. This calls for no less than eternal punishment.

I am deadly serious. Search yourself. Examine your life, your heart. Have you ever done anything wrong, against anyone else? Of course - we all have. And this is your death sentence.

Like everyone else, you are a sinner. Confess your sinfulness to Him, admit that you cannot save yourself or live up to His standard. And trust in Jesus Christ. Have faith that He is who He said He is, that His death has paid the price for sin, and that He will take you in His arms and keep you.

This is the only way!


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