THE PROBLEM IS SIN!
Salvation starts with the realization that we are sinners.
What is sin? Sin is anything that falls short of God’s will. The easiest way to define it is by the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses. You know, “Thou shalt, Thou shalt not.” The first commandment, I am the Lord Your God…you will have no other gods before Me, simply means God must be first in everything. If He isn’t the most important thing in your life and the first consideration in every choice you make, then you are sinning. By that standard, we all have sinned. We could talk about lying, disrespecting our parents, envy, lust, blasphemy…all of these and more are sins that are spoken of in the Ten Commandments.
Then Jesus came and taught that sin was more than just disobeying the letter of the law. He said things like, “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28 (NLT) Jesus was showing us the spirit of holiness that was really what the law was all about.
You might be thinking, Who can live up to that standard? Precisely! We are all sinners, and we can’t live ten simple commandments, let alone true holiness, because of the power of sin in our lives. Jesus rescued us from the consequences of sin: Hell, and the power of sin: He gave us a new life empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome sin.
THE ANSWER IS JESUS!
So, how does this work? How can Jesus death on the cross 2000 years ago change my life today?
The answer to that question lies in understanding that sin is what’s messing your life up now. Sin is like a disease that makes everyone sick. All the heartache, the broken relationships, the cruelty, the addictions, are all symptoms of the disease. Jesus’ blood is the antidote. It has the power to wash away our sin. Then the Holy Spirit is able to come into us and live in us. That’s “How” our lives are changed. Jesus called it being born again. You get a brand new life with Jesus living in the middle of it.
So how do you get this new life? Jesus said , Repent and believe. Repent basically means to turn away from the life of sin you have been living. It isn’t just saying you’re sorry. It’s turning from darkness to light. It’s a decision to stop living as if there is no God and instead, giving your life to God. Then you put your faith in Jesus. You trust Him to give you the power you need to change and you start living by faith…listening to His voice, obeying His word, letting Him call the shots. I prayed, “God I have broken my life. If you can fix it, you can have it”, and He fixed it, so I gave it to Him. It was that simple.
So how do you know you’re saved? Jesus said, For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. -Luke 6:43-44 When the Holy Spirit comes into you, your nature changes. Your appetites change. You no longer exhibit the symptoms of sin, but you start showing signs of life…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control…these are the fruit of the Spirit. You know you are saved because Jesus is alive on the inside! You really are new!