I am a Christian. Being a Christian means being a follower of Jesus Christ. There are many differing ideas in this world of what that actually means. So, I would like to clarify what I believe, how I came to that belief, and what it means in my life.
I was raised in a catholic setting. Catholicism was prevalent in Wisconsin which is where I lived my childhood until the age of 12. I don’t remember a lot about Catholicism as our family attended kind of on and off. I do however remember my parents talking about going to confession. I do remember some things like taking communion from a man in priestly robes. I remember having to dip my finger in “holy water” and having to make the cross motion on my head, stomach, and shoulders. I remember having to sit, kneel, standup, sit, kneel, standup……. several times while repeating the same sayings every mass. I just remember everything be very ritualistic.
When I was 12 my parents moved to Florida. After this move we hardly ever went back to church again as a family.
After I got married, my faith was changed forever. My wife, being a Christian, brought me to church. A southern Baptist church. It took me a while to get it. The things I remembered from my catholic upbringing were turned upside down. There were no priests in priestly garments. There was no holy water, there was no ritualistic theme to the service.
After a while I started to get it. The bible teaches that Jesus is my High Priest, and that we should not call any Father, in a religious manner, except for God the Father. I began to understand that I can talk to God directly without having to go through an earthly priest. I did not realize that all this was clearly written in the bible.
So here is what I now know:
God gave us an instruction manual to live by
Despite what some believe, God didn’t just create the earth and leave us to figure it all out on our own. He didn’t leave us to our own devices as to what is right and what is wrong. He didn’t leave us here to save ourselves from ourselves. God gave us everything we need to know in His Holy Word, The bible.
But I also realize that for this to work in my life, I have to take every word that he left us as His final word. There are many people today that say the bible is filled with errors, or the bible is merely a guide in which we can choose what we accept and what we disagree with and live their life from there.
My answer to that is, if you pick and choose what you want to accept of God’s word, then what God are you worshiping. God warns us about following our own gods. If you do not believe every word that God has instructed us with, then you are not believing in the God of the bible, instead you have made your own God which will be unable to save you from hell.
Jesus is my High Priest
This means that if I need to talk to God, I can go directly to him. I can voice my needs and my desires directly to Him. When I have sinned, I confess it to Jesus. Jesus knows all my needs and all my struggles. When I go to Him, he has the perfect answer to my petition every time.
Jesus is the only way to heaven
Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God, and then there is God the Father. Three deities making a single God. Yes it is a bit hard to conceptualize that but that is how God explains it to us.
So how does one avoid eternity in hell? Some, like the “religion” I was raised in, will tell you that Jesus died for your sins so that you can maybe make it to heaven. They will tell you that any unconfessed sin can still land you in hell even though you believed in Jesus Christ and that he died on the cross for your sin.
I have come to realize that this is total heresy! Again, if you read God’s Word and take it for what it actually says rather than following a man’s opinion, you will see that salvation comes by faith ONLY in the completed work of Jesus Christ.
You see, man has a problem. This problem is sin. God on the other hand is holy. Being perfectly holy, he can not let sin go undealt with. When you read God’s word, he says the punishment for sin is death. Without some sort of intermediate intervention, EVERY man is bound for hell!
But here’s the deal, God loves you and me. He does not wish to punish anyone with eternal death. But being holy, he can not overlook sin. He must deal with it. So God’s solution was this:
He sent his only Son to earth to voluntarily pay your sin debt which is death. It is only through the debt paid in Full by Jesus on the cross that can forever wipe out a man’s sin debt.
Without Jesus there is no forgiveness of sin. Therefore without Jesus, every man would be hell bound.
No matter how hard a man tries to save himself through trying to be a good person, he will fail. God requires absolute sinlessness. Just one unpaid sin debt puts a man under God’s perfect judgment. Make no mistake, NO unforgiven sin will go unpunished. Which again, the wages of any sin is death / spiritual death / eternal separation from God/ eternity in hell.
Jesus IS the ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN
So how has this effected my life?
Wow.. where do I start?
First and foremost, I know, without a doubt, that I am right with God. NOT anything to do with anything that I have done except for totally trusting God’s Word that Jesus did it all for me. Now that I just said that, it really makes me feel so totally inadequate. Wow… What have I done to deserve this forgiveness. I have sinned against God so many times in my life and yet he chooses to personally atone for that sin so that I can maintain a personal relationship with him.
For many this is probably hard to fully grasp in a real meaningful way. For me it is impossible to relay exactly how I feel about what God has done and continues to do in my life.
Life is hard and full of things ready to knock you down. It is easy to see how many lose hope and go out of this world in flames. It does not have to be that way. There is a hope that can withstand anything that life could ever throw at you. But to receive this hope, you must stop trying to fight life under your own power and understanding.
God created us and everything in this world. Being the creator, he knows everything and is able to give the best solution to all life’s problems. But God does not force his will on anyone. God tells us to come, he doesn’t say “get over here”.
We all have a choice in life. We can go it alone or we can gain God’s wisdom to navigate his creation in this side of heaven. We can use the instruction manual or we can throw it out and build it on our own. But before you make that decision, you better check the parts list, because it is very large and it is impossible to assemble them in to anything meaningful without the creators instructions.
So how does all this effect me? I have peace in my life knowing that if I just wait on God for the answers to life, I will always get what’s best for me at the time.
I will admit that there are times in my life that are unnerving and cause me to worry. But when i remember that God is always in control and that he loves me so much that he gave His son for me, and when i remember that he promises never to leave me, I enjoy peace in knowing I can fully trust him.
You can enjoy this same unexplainable peace in your life. But you must stop trying to do it on your own and stop rebelling against God. Trust Him, accept his offer of total eternal forgiveness, and begin to rest in His peace.