What is the Bible?
The Big Bible Story
The Bible can be a confusing read if one doesn't understand it is actually one big story and not lots of little unconnected stories. The Bible is all about salvation in Jesus (Luke 24:27). It is the story of how God created a perfect world for His glory, which fell from grace and came under His just judgement, and how in His mercy, He chose to provide a way of salvation. God promised to send someone who would reverse the curse of the Fall and make all things right for those who'd believe. He sent Jesus, this promised One, whom all of the Old Testament pointed towards. Through His death and resurrection came the New Covenant in whom people everywhere could find forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Now, those people who believe in and follow Jesus are gathered together as the Church, proclaiming the good news about Jesus to all nations and living as His witnesses, until He comes again to make all things right for His people and judge those who have rejected Him and lived in rebellion to God.
Who is Jesus?
Eternally real. Jesus has always existed, the second member of the infinitely excellent and admirable persons of the Godhead. There is one, living, all powerful, gloriously holy and loving God who exists in three distinct but equal persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. At exactly the right time in history, God sent his eternal Son Jesus, into the world. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was and is fully God and fully man. Jesus lived without sin. He preached the Kingdom of God and taught with absolute truth and authority. His miracles demonstrated his sovereign, good, loving, all powerful rule over creation.
Really rejected! Jesus suffered, willingly, in fulfilment of God’s rescue plan. God created man to know and love Him. Everyone has turned away from God, rebels in his world, sinners in God’s sight. No-one lives obediently before God, and as a result guilt, death and condemnation belong to everyone.
But in his perfect obedience to God, in his suffering and death on the cross, Jesus obtained forgiveness of sins for all who will believe. On the cross Jesus took the punishment for sin, the wrath of God and the condemnation for all who trust in him.
Jesus died and was buried. On the third day he rose again. The resurrection of Jesus proved that what he said about himself was true and that the cross accomplished eternal salvation for all who will believe. During the forty days after his resurrection, he gave many proofs of his bodily resurrection. He then ascended into heaven. The resurrection of Jesus means that sin and death have been conquered. Everyone who believes in Jesus has the certain hope of everlasting life. A glorious eternal body awaits all who believe.
After Jesus ascended into heaven, He sat down at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus rules over this world and universe in every way. He is calling people to himself and intercedes for those who believe in Him. All things are being put under His authority. The reign of Jesus means that now is the time for people to turn to Him. During this time, people from every tribe, language, people and nation will turn to Jesus and be added to the Church through the work of the Holy Spirit. This is in fulfilment of the Word of God, who promised Abraham that through Jesus, all nations would be blessed.
The glorious certain hope of the Christian is that at the end of the age Jesus will return to the earth in a physical, visible and sudden manner. His power and glory will be evident for all to see. He will gather those who believe in Him, judge the nations and establish his eternal kingdom and reign. All who have believed in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, in faith and obedience, will enter into the eternal glory and joy of the new heavens and earth. All who have remained in their rebellious state will experience the everlasting conscious punishment of hell.
*Courtesy of Kensington Baptist Church, Bristol
Why would I need to repent or ask for forgiveness from God? The Bible teaches that we are separated from God, that we do not walk according to His ways or acknowledge Him but seek our own ways in rebellious pride and are therefore deserving of eternal punishment. Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” is but one of many verses in the Bible that makes this clear. Read the Bible, look into your own heart, examine the world around you, and it is clear that we have missed the mark and indeed do need God’s forgiveness far more than we often realize. God’s justice and holiness demands that sin be dealt with.
Though God is a God of justice and He would have been perfectly right to permit us to go on destroying ourselves in our sin, in His mercy, grace and love for His people, He sent His Son Jesus, not just to teach us, not only to be an example but to pay the price for the sins of all who would believe and follow Him. Again and again in the Bible (and still today by experience) we see how fierce God’s love is for His people. He even sent His only son to die a terrible death on a Roman cross to pay the penalty for our sin (John 3:16). Jesus is God’s rescue plan. Belief in Jesus allows sinful rebels to become friends of God.
God does not only want to deal with our sins, He wants to restore us to the people we were intended to be, full members of His family and Kingdom, before sin ruined us. Jesus himself said that He came “so that we might have life and life to the full” (John 10:10). Believing in Jesus is not just a get out of hell free card, it is the beginning of an adventure of knowing the Lord and living the life He intended you to live. As a gift, and to help us recover our lost likeness of God, Jesus graciously gives believers the gift of the Holy Spirit who is “God with us” (who comes to take up residence in our hearts, Ephesians 3:17) and who has a very special role to play. The Holy Spirit’s main task is to renew us and make us more like Jesus. When we follow Jesus we receive eternal life, which begins the moment you believe; and that is GOOD NEWS!
How do I become a Christian?
Becoming a Christian
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved...For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9, 13)
Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe that He died and rose again, and that He is reigning victorious? Do you recognize yourself as a sinner in need of saving? Then cry out to the Lord for mercy, He promises to save you from sin.
Here is a prayer you can pray humbly and sincerely (Isaiah 66:2):
Dear Heavenly Father,
I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son and that He died and rose again to offer forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Have mercy upon me for all of my sin and rebellion. Forgive me and grant me new life in accordance with your promise because of what Jesus has done. I don’t want to run my life anymore; I surrender it to you and invite you into my heart to become Lord of my life. Amen.
“What shall we do? And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 2:37-38)