Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Big Picture for Christians

In my last posting I said that we can easily get hung up on questions and doubts we have when it comes to faith. I like to look at the big picture, and avoid these traps. For Christians, what is that big picture?

The big picture is that we are all sinners (meaning we have broken God’s laws and rebelled against him by our ungodly actions throughout our lives); we fall short of God’s standard; we deserve punishment for all we have done to offend God in this life; we can do nothing to save ourselves; Jesus took upon himself the punishment due us because only he could save us; because Jesus paid the price, we are declared pardoned by God; because the price has been paid by Jesus, we go to heaven, guaranteed. Everything else is detail as far as I’m concerned. When Christians talk about justification, atonement, and salvation, this is what they are referring to (in a nutshell).

Below is a sampling of verses concerning salvation through faith in Christ, and upon which Christians base their beliefs:

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

Romans 3:22-25

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. (New Living Translation)

Ephesians 2:8-9

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (New Living Translation) (grace = unmerited favor, undeserved kindness)

Acts 4:12

“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” NRSV

John 3:16-18

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” (New Living Translation)

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