Saturday, 1 August 2009

Why this blog?

1 Peter 3:15 states "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect".

In these days we live in, things can seem hopeless so much of the time. Watching the news we hear of terrorism, loss of life in wars in far-off countries, economic difficulties, global climate change, and if we're not all killed off by swine flu we face years and years of high taxes, an impoverished retirement, not to mention global food shortages as the world population is predicted to outgrow food supply.

And yet....those who have set apart Christ as Lord in their hearts do have hope, and it is at just such a time as this that we should be sharing that hope amongst a world that is without hope.

Hebrews 9:27-28 says "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." The Bible is clear that we will all have to appear before God to give an account of ourselves after we die. The Bible is equally clear that we have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God, of the perfect standards of an Awesome, Holy God. We can therefore expect to be declared guilty before Him, and will have to suffer the consequences of our sin - "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

There is, however, some good news! The Bible teaches that "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). Because of God’s love, He wanted to provide a way of reconciling man to Himself which satisfied both His justice (in punishing sin) and mercy (in providing a way to forgive the sin). So He sent Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, to live a perfect, sinless life. Jesus then willingly sacrificed Himself by dying on a cross – and it was on the cross that Jesus took on Himself all of our sin, and He suffered the punishment due for that sin – death. God then raised Him from the dead after three days to demonstrate the victory over death, and exalted Him to the right hand of the Father.

Forgiveness for our sins is a free gift available to everyone now, as a result of the death and resurrection of Jesus. But we need to receive that free gift. The Bible teaches that in order to accept this free gift we must:
a) Repent – recognise that we have not lived in obedience to God and that we deserve His judgement, that He has paid the penalty for our sin, and that from now on we will turn away from sin and live for God.
b) Believe – believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and trust that He will do what He said He would do: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24)
c) Be baptised
d) Receive the Holy Spirit to enable us to live for God.

Having trusted and believed in what Christ has done for us on the cross, we now have a hope for the future, a hope of a life lived with Christ, a hope of eternal life, a hope of resurrection, a hope for the return of Christ to this world, and ultimately the hope for new heavens and a new earth.

That is surely some hope to hold on to!

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