"Who is Jesus?"

If you are curious about this question, you are not alone. It is a question that people have been asking for a long time. Jesus adjusted this question a bit and put it to his disciples this way, "Who do people say that I am?" The disciples replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." These answers clearly missed the truth. Jesus then asked the disciples the critical question, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter answered Jesus by saying, "You are the Christ."

Peter answered correctly. The word Christ means Messiah, or Anointed One. In other words, Jesus was the one who came to save. You might ask, "Save from what?" Jesus came to bring salvation from sin and eternal punishment. In the beginning, when the work of creation was completed, it is recorded that: "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." Sin was not yet part of our reality. This changed, however, when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. Sin has been a part of human reality ever since. The truth is that ". . . all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Sin, basically, is turning away from God and choosing to think and act in ways that are opposed to God's will.

Since God is righteous, holy, and pure, nothing unholy, unrighteous, or impure can come into the presence of God. This presents us all with a serious problem, ". . . for the wages of sin is death," This death includes being spiritually dead in this life, the future of physical death, and then an eternal future of suffering in separation from God. There are two truths that most people will clearly agree to as truth. First, most people will admit that they have acted in ways, thought things, and done things that were wrong. This often brings shame and guilt. The second truth is that all people die.

It is impossible for any of us to do enough good things, or say enough good things to take care of our sin problem. If it was possible for us to take care of the sin problem on our own, the Father would not have sent his Son into the world. We know, however, 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." What a debt of gratitude we owe that Jesus, "Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!"

On the cross Jesus bore the weight of our sin and the punishment our sin deserved. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." On the cross Jesus became our Redeemer and redeemed us from our sin. Jesus also destroyed the grip of death. Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father. We also can share in this resurrection. Consider the words of the apostle Paul, "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

The gift of salvation, which brings abundant life in this life and eternal life with the Lord, is not forced upon us. We have the choice whether to accept the gift of salvation and follow Jesus as Lord of our lives, or whether we will reject the gift.

The critical question for you is this, "Who is Jesus to you?" Can you say, "Jesus is my Savior and my Lord."?? You will be able to say this if you will:

*Accept the truth that you are a sinner and that you cannot make yourself right before God.

*Commit to turning away from your sinful choices.

*Believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died on the cross for your sin, and that he was raised from the dead.

*Genuinely ask Jesus to come into your life and be Lord of your life.

If this is something you authentically want, then pray a prayer something like the following, or use your own words, and humbly submit to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior and Lord.

"Jesus, I understand that I am a sinner and lost on my own. I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you are the Son of God and that you died on the cross for my sin. I believe you were raised from the dead and live today. I want to turn from my sin nature, follow you as my Savior, and submit to you as Lord of my life. Amen."

If you genuinely prayed in belief, then you can know that you are saved and that you have new life in Christ. Consider these two scriptures:

"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

If you have just received Christ as your Savior and Lord, it is important that you become involved in a local church where you can follow the Lord in baptism, grow in your faith, be encouraged by other believers, and serve the Lord. If you live in the Urbana area, we invite you to become a part of our fellowship. If you live in another area, seek out a church where you can grow and serve.

If you have questions, whether you have received Christ, or you are still seeking answers to spiritual questions, please feel free to contact us by e-mail, or call the church at (937) 652-2129.

Note: The italicized words in this section are scripture quotes from the New International Version. The references, in the order used, are: Mark 8:27, 28, and 29; Genesis 1:31; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; John 3:16; Philippians 2:6-8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 15:56-57; Romans 10:9-10; and 2 Corinthians 5:17.

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