BY DON BANTUM
These are some of my favorite verses of scripture. I love to read them again and again. It's called renewing our minds with truth, and Jesus is "THE TRUTH."
Matthew 16: 13-17. When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
The question remains, "Who do YOU say Jesus is?" This is the most important question you're ever going to answer. It doesn't matter who other people believe Jesus is, it only matters if you know Jesus is indeed the same God who created the Universe and went to a cross in YOUR place, suffered and died at the hands of sinful men, and was raised to life again on the third day.
In the verse below, we see God saying through John:
John 1:1-5. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Here's something to lift your spirits and give you peace and joy:
Romans 5:1-11 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his LIFE! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
That knowledge, given us by God, is where we are to make our STAND, and not be moved. We stand in the Grace of God because while we WERE SINNERS, Christ died for us.
But we aren't sinners any longer, if we agree with God concerning our sins, that Jesus HAS (past tense) taken our sins upon himself. You see, the wages of sin is death. Jesus took all our sins upon himself and died in our place. He became sin for us. We HAVE BEEN reconciled to God through the death of Christ Jesus. We are now in a position to receive his everlasting LIFE, through faith in that truth. We were all born forgiven. Jesus is no longer dealing with any of us on the basis of sin.
In fact, no man or woman, boy or girl will ever go to hell because of their sins. So here's another favorite of mine and for good reason. Check this out:
John 16:7-9 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;
You'll notice Jesus died to take away the "sins" (plural) of the world. But the "sin" of the world (singular) is unbelief in Jesus. That sin can't be taken away; it must be repented of, which is why we are told to repent.
Repenting is a change of mind. At one time I didn't believe Jesus was God and had died in MY PLACE. I didn't realize that 2,000 years before I was even born, Jesus had me in mind when he went to that cross and was willing to take my sins upon himself because of HIS love for ME. Just think about that, Jesus loved US before WE ever knew him.
When I became conscious of that truth, I repented of my unbelief, came to him by faith, and thanked him for his sacrifice for ME. Yes, I'm glad Jesus died for the whole world, but I was filled with joy when I realized Jesus loved ME, to the point of shedding his precious blood on my behalf. Out of a grateful heart I asked him to come and live his life in me, and to be my life. I received him that day by faith, and entered a new birth. I've now been born afresh, born anew, and Jesus has given me his very own life, which is eternal LIFE, the only kind of life he has.
You, too, can receive that same life in you, if you haven't already done so.
Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
So, what was the old? It was Don without the Spirit of God living in me. The new creation is now Don with the Spirit of God living in me. Now what?
Hebrews 10:14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
2 Peter 1:3. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
I mean, just look at this, we've been made PERFECT in his sight. Plus, we have been given EVERYTHING we need for LIFE and GODLINESS. How can we improve on what Jesus has already done for us? There is absolutely nothing we can do in our flesh to improve on any of this; it's all been done for us. All we have to do is receive it by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, in his death on the cross in our place where he cried out, "IT IS FINISHED," and his burial and resurrection from the dead. All of this is a gift. We've done NOTHING to earn it, and we can do nothing to lose it, once we have received it. It's a win - win situation.
I have more favorites as well. I'll share them with you as time goes by, the Lord willing. So rest easy, and meanwhile God will bless you and has blessed you with all spiritual blessings. Amen
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