Two Ways to Live

The message at the heart of Christianity is quite simple. It’s a message about God and you. It’s about life and death, and a choice we all face.
It begins with God, who made the world. He also made our human ancestors. He intended us to look after the world, honoring him and obeying His directions. If we had gone along with God’s plan, we would have had a wonderful life in a perfect world.
But things didn’t work out that way because from the beginning mankind decided that they wanted to do things their own way. They didn’t want God or anyone else telling them what to do. So they ignored Him, disobeyed His instructions for living, and told God to get lost. This rebellion is what the Bible calls “sin.” The trouble is that in excluding God, we made a mess, not only of our own lives, but of society and the world. Doing only what suited each individual put people in competition with each other, resulting in frustration, oppression, injustice, suffering and failure.
God cared enough about humanity to take our rebellion seriously. It mattered to Him that we treated Him and other people so poorly. God had to hold us accountable for our destructive attitude and actions. As punishment, God gives us exactly what we ask for. We say to him, “Go away; leave me alone,” and that is precisely what God will do. He will cut Himself off from those who reject Him permanently. However, since God is the source of life and all that is good, being separated from Him will only result in death and everlasting ruin. It is a prospect we all must face.
But God didn’t want to leave us to suffer the consequences of our foolish rebellion. He did something to save us. He came as the “God-man” Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus alone always followed God’s directions, and didn’t deserve to die. But He did die, voluntarily allowing himself to be executed on a cross. He did this so that his death might be substituted for the penalty that we were obligated to pay. God accepted Jesus’ death as payment for our debt, and raised him from the dead. Because of Jesus’ death, our sins can now be forgiven, and we can begin a new relationship with God, no longer as enemies and anarchists but as friends. In this new life, God Himself comes to live within us by His Spirit. We can experience the joy of a new relationship with God, both now and eternally.
Where does all this leave us? We have a choice to make: (1) We can continue in our rebellion against God and rule over our lives our own way without Him. In this choice, we not only have to put up with our same messy consequences of rejecting God but also face the dreadful prospect of an eternity of separation from Him, without His love or relationship. (2) On the other hand, we can turn back to God and begin trusting in Him. In this event, God wipes our slate clean, pours His own Spirit into our hearts and grants us a new life that stretches past death and into eternity. We are no longer enemies and rebels, but we are now a part of God’s own family.
Which of these ways do you want to live? If you have chosen “my own way,” you probably don’t believe some of the message we have been outlining. If that’s the case, it would be a good idea for you to investigate these matters more thoroughly. If this message is true, the consequences are a matter of life and death. We suggest that you take a look at the Bible, beginning with the New Testament, or that you talk these things over with a trusted Christian friend.
However, if you have chosen to follow the second way, all you need to do is sincerely admit to God that you have messed things up, that you need His forgiveness, that you accept Jesus’ sacrifice on your behalf, and that you want Him to take over your life and change you.
If you have chosen this second way, the folks at our church can be of help to you in your relationship with God. You’ll want to get rid of some old rebellious habits (like greed, anger and selfishness) and start some new ones (like kindness, love and patience). Of course, God’s Spirit will be guiding you, speaking to you through the Bible, listening to you and speaking to you in prayer, and providing brothers and sisters to encourage you along the way.
We’d love to visit with you about this fantastic adventure. If you have any questions at all, or just want to visit, please give us a call.