Back To The Basics: The Simple Meaning of Life

Today the Lord has put it on my heart to go back to the basics. We as humans love to make everything so complex but life does not have to be so confusing. Life really is what you make of it. I wouldn’t doubt that you’ve heard this message before but today I ask you to try and listen with fresh ears and an open heart.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

I’m sure you would agree with me that there is something wrong with humanity. There is an evil that corrupts man. I’m sure you would also agree with me that we have something called a conscience which lets us know in our hearts what is morally right and wrong. I believe our conscience is a gift from God and through our sense of right and wrong we can also sense an ultimate good. This ultimate good is God and He instills in us a longing to find Him and search for Him. C.S. Lewis and others have argued that if there is no such thing as a spiritual side to us then why do we have a spiritual longing? If life were meaningless then why do we have something inside of us that tells us otherwise and leaves us searching for the answers?

God has given us the answer. He has revealed Himself to us through His word—the Bible. God sacrificed His son Jesus so that you and I could be saved. This was the only possible way we could be made right with God who is everything good. Every man has his sins upon him but by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ crucified we can be forgiven and reconciled with God. Because of God’s love for you and I He was willingly and brutally murdered on the cross so that our salvation could be justified. Jesus was then resurrected from the dead to show that He is all powerful and that He is God and not even death has control over Him. God out of His amazing love offers us salvation for free because He has already paid the price but people constantly reject this gift. Why? I think it’s because people over complicate it and make God into something that He is not.

Often I’ve heard people reject the idea of the gospel because they say: “What about little Joey on a deserted island out in the middle of the ocean that has never heard the news of Jesus?” I say don’t let a made up stranger that has not heard the good news keep you from accepting it. The Bible mentions many times that God’s judgments are just. From knowing this you don’t have to worry about little Joey. Situations like that are rightfully left in God’s hands.

I don’t think the problem lies in that people have not heard the Gospel but perhaps it’s the opposite. They have heard the Gospel so many times and rejected it so many times it’s lost its meaning and significance. There are bumper stickers, billboards and signs everywhere that say “Jesus loves you” but people see these and put no thought into the meaning behind it. I think many people have a completely distorted view of Jesus and Christianity. Much of this distorted view can be blamed on the church itself and the commercialization of Christianity. I urge you to not let other people give you your perspective of Jesus. Don’t believe the view you’ve come to have by watching hypocritical, judgmental Christians. Forget about any distorted, commercialized or religious view you may have of Jesus. Today I challenge you to find out for yourself who Jesus is. Pick up the Bible and read one of the 4 Gospel books (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Pay extra close attention to the words of Jesus in red. Get to know the real Jesus and find out the true meaning behind all the signs declaring “Jesus loves you.” Albert Einstein—though never a confessed Christian—is quoted saying “No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus.” The only problem with Einstein is he was too analytical. He tried to intellectually understand God and break the system down into something like an equation. We will never fully understand God so please get this notion out of your head. Einstein and so many others take God’s simple system and make it too complex to understand by analyzing it. They then end up rejecting it because of their own misunderstanding of God. Let me try to put this into human perspective. Could an ant ever understand the way a human thinks and operates? The message of the Gospel is simple; it is man that makes it complex. Jesus loves you and wants nothing more but to wrap you in His arms and comfort you. He desperately wants to help you and bring peace to your life but you refuse to even acknowledge Him.

Today you have heard the Gospel. Today you are faced with a choice. Jesus said “He who is not with me is against me.” There’s no such thing as a half Christian. There’s no middle ground—though you may have made one up in your head to comfort you in your decision of rejecting Jesus. Please don’t say “I’m not ready.” What are you waiting to be ready for? Are you planning to wait until you’re on your deathbed and then you’ll try to reconcile with God? That’s no way to live your life. There’s peace and love waiting for you right now. Galations 5:22 says “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” Who doesn’t want these things? I know there are people reading this that in your heart you feel this is the right decision to make but you’ve been fighting it. Perhaps you’ve been fighting it for years. Jesus through the Holy Spirit is speaking to you now. I urge you to go with your heart on this one. Maybe you’ve followed your heart before with other decisions and were left disappointed. Let me give you some very important advice: do not blame God for man’s shortcomings. He is always faithful and His promises hold true. Do not let your pain caused from corrupt humanity rob you of Gods greatest gift of salvation. If you say “this sounds great but I have too many doubts of God’s existence.” Don’t worry about your doubts, take a step of faith and allow God to deal with them. Through faith He will reveal Himself to you in a personal way, but if you don’t give Him a chance you might miss out on the most important opportunity of your life. Jesus said you cannot put new wine into old wineskins because the old skins will burst. I urge you today to shed your skin and try on something new. Try living life with Jesus on your side.

If you’re thinking this makes sense and you want to give God a chance then the next step is simple. You don’t have to go out and make a public announcement. The Bible says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9 NKJV). It’s just between you and Jesus from where you are at right now. You can ask Jesus into your life and we do that by prayer. I’ve written out an example of a prayer you could use below. If you feel this is the right decision for you then follow along and speak to Jesus.

Lord I realize I am a flawed human being and with that a sinner. We all are. With this realization I ask you Jesus to forgive me and help me. Walk with me through my life. I give my life to you so that you can bring life back to mine. Fill me with your Holy Spirit Father God and teach me to be a true disciple of Christ. From this day forward I will follow you. Amen.

If you have just said that prayer then know that God has written your name down in the book of life! All of heaven is rejoicing over your decision! The next step would be reading one of the Gospel books in the Bible and getting to know Jesus better. Build a relationship through prayer. He will guide you from there.

Thank you Lord for your word and thank you for the peace you have brought to my life! I pray for anyone reading this that you would speak to their hearts and draw them near to you so that they might experience the same undeserved grace you have shed so mercifully on me.

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Back To The Basics: The Simple Meaning of Life

  1. Eugene Adkins

    Hey Justin, I want to say that I really enjoy reading your posts and I appreciate your willingness to be plain in your words and in your clear stance for Jesus as the Son of God. On these I believe we wholly agree with one another. One thing that I would like to say though is that no where in the NT is anything like the “sinner’s prayer” mentioned. We find sinner’s praying but not the sinner’s prayer.

    The example found in the NT of someone becoming a Christian on this side of the cross is a person hearing the gospel (Acts 18:8; Romans 10:17) a person believing the gospel (John 3:16; Hebrews 11:6), a person repenting of his/her sins (Acts 17:30; Luke 3:3,5), a person confessing Jesus (Romans 10:10; Acts 8:36,37) and a person submitting to baptism (Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:26,27). Through our willingness to do these things and follow God through the example of word is how a peron can rest assured that the blood of Christ has covered their sins.

    Take care.

    Reply
    1. iwanttobelieveingod Post author

      Thanks for posting Eugene. I completely agree with you. Nowhere in the Bible is a “sinners prayer” and it’s something that has been adapted into the church as a way to start a walk with Christ. I do see it as a perfect first step though because in one prayer you can knock out a lot of the biblical examples you cited to become a Christian:

      -confession of hearing and believing the Gospel.
      -a realized need for repentance and a good first step by asking for forgiveness.
      -confession to Jesus to be a disciple.
      -first step of baptism of the Holy Spirit by inviting the Spirit in.

      I see water baptism as a very important step of commitment and I believe every believer should get baptized but its clearly not needed immediately for salvation because Jesus told the thief next to Him on the cross that they would both be in paradise later that day and the thief had not been baptized. Though saying that I see no problem with a brand new believer getting baptized just like the many examples in Acts.

      So even though an exact example of the “sinners prayer” is never in the Bible I do see it as a great starting point to committing one’s life to Jesus.

      Reply
      1. Eugene Adkins

        I understand what you’re saying but you realize that the thief on the cross did not live under the Christian dispensation as we do today (Hebrews 9:16,17). His sins were literally spoken away by Jesus because Jesus had the authority to do so during His earthly ministry (Mark 2:10).

        After Jesus arose from the dead He again referred to His authority (Matthew 28:18,19) conerning the gospel instructions and taught that belief comes before baptism but also that baptism (water baptism) comes before salvation; just read the order given in Mark 16:15,16. Paul, after praying for 3 days, was told to get up and be baptized so his sins could be washed away calling upon the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16; Romans 10:13). I’m not saying the water itself washes away sin, the blood of Jesus does (Revelation 1:5). But the scriptures teach that it is through our submission in baptism that a person finds forgiveness through Jesus’ blood (1 Peter 3:21; John 3:3-5; Romans 6:1-6).

        I have no probelm with a person praying before they are baptized but salvation comes after obeying the gospel at that includes submitting to the act of baptism. I don’t want to aruge with anyone but I do try to get others to take the scriptures for what they say about baptism (Acts 17:11). Just take the order that Jesus gave in Mark 16:16. Is baptism mentioned before or after Jesus mentions salvation? Remeber the thief lived before this command and we do not.

        Thanks for replying. Look forward to your reply and reading other posts.

      2. iwanttobelieveingod Post author

        You bring up some really good points and I agree that water baptism should be taken seriously and any believer and follower of Christ should follow the orders given and be baptized.

        Mark 16:16 does say: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

        But notice it does not say he who is not baptized will be condemned but he who does not believe.

        Many times in the Bible it states that we are saved by faith alone and not by works. Baptism is a ceremonial ritual work. I agree it should be practiced as ordered by Jesus but I do not think a believer would be denied his salvation because he had not yet been baptized in water.

        Below is a long list of verses that speak of being justified by faith alone:

        John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
        Rom. 3:22, “even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction.”
        Rom. 3:24, “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;”
        Rom. 3:26, “for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
        Rom. 3:28-30, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.”
        Rom. 4:3, “For what does the Scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”
        Rom. 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,”
        Rom. 4:11, “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,”
        Rom. 4:16, “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.”
        Rom. 5:1, “therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
        Rom. 5:9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
        Rom. 9:30, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith.”
        Rom. 9:33, “just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
        Rom. 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
        Rom. 10:9-10, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
        Rom. 11:6, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”
        Gal. 2:16, “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”
        Gal. 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
        Gal.3:5-6, “Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 6Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”
        Gal. 3:8, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations shall be blessed in you.”
        Gal. 3:14, “in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
        Gal. 3:22, “But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”
        Gal. 3:24, “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.”
        Eph. 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
        Eph. 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
        Phil. 3:9, “and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”
        1 Tim. 1:16, “And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”

        I copied this list of verses from an article on justification by faith here: http://carm.org/verses-showing-justification-by-faith

        You could read more there if you like but this is obviously a long debated topic so I’d rather not argue. If you disagree and think that a believer would be denied salvation because they have not yet been baptized in water then I suppose we could agree to dissagree on this one.

  2. Eugene Adkins

    Got ya. Let me say one more thing. I’m not doing this to get the last word either. You can reply if you want and I’ll leave it at that.

    Jesus didn’t have to say “he that believes and is not baptized is condemned” because He already said if a person doesn’t have faith they are already condemned (John 3:16-18). No one thing alone will save a person, even grace (again check out my scripture references from the first reply).

    A person must have faith before being submerged or they will only get wet. The need for faith in our obedience to water baptism to be scriptural is evident – that is why (along with other reasons) babies do not need to be baptized (Romans 10:17). Salvation is in Jesus (2 Timothy 1:10) and the only way the scriptures teach that person gets into Christ is through water baptism (Galatians 3:26,27; 1 Corinthians 12:12,13).

    The Bible never states we are saved by faith alone. Not one time. The only time the scriptures have the words faith and alone in the same verse is, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17) We can’t stay in a proper relationship with God by faith alone muchless start one (Hebrews 5:9).

    Remember repentance is not the same as faith but without repentance there is no salvation either (Luke 13:3,5; Acts 2:37,38) and so without obeying the command of water baptism (which is a work of God and not of man – Colossians 2:10-13) how can expect to be fully following the scriptures? Repenting doesn’t violate being saved by grace through faith and neither does baptism.

    We live on the other side of the cross than what the theif did and the sinner’s salvation is found in the gospel (Mark 16:15,16) but not in saying the sinner’s prayer which is made up by man. Thanks for responding Justin. I do appreciate your willingness to talk about spiritual matters here and in other posts because most will not when questions like these are posed.

    Take care.

    Reply
    1. iwanttobelieveingod Post author

      I really respect your passion Eugene in sticking to scripture and following it by the exact instruction given. I will agree with you that obedience to scripture is very important and no one should just rely on their faith to bring them salvation, but from true faith will come obedience to things like baptism and from the Holy Spirit will come repentance. Like you said without faith baptism would be meaningless. So I think we could agree that its not out of our obedience and works that we are saved but by our faith which drives us to be obedient. I look forward to reading more of your posts and hearing from you in the future.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s