Hope and Peace by Scott Lambert
God wants to be close to you!
“Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.”
God is the Almighty Creator of the universe. He is the Eternal Spirit who lives beyond time and space. But, God is also very active here and now. He wants to share a relationship with you and for you to be close to Him.
God is both all-powerful and all-loving! But, He has given you the freedom to accept or reject His love. There is only one thing that can keep God from giving you the peace and joy that He alone can give—and that is you! No other person or power can keep God from you. No force of evil is powerful enough to stop God’s love. God is love and He loves you! But you must accept His love and mercy.
Sin has separated you from God.
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
It is not God’s desire to be separated from you. He wants to enjoy a relationship with you. It is because you do wrong or sin that you are separated from Him. God is so pure, so holy that He cannot allow sin to be in His presence. God must punish sin—He is just. Yet, God wants to forgive sin—He is loving.
So, how can God be just and punish sin, and still find a way to save us by His love?
Jesus restores your relationship with God by suffering the punishment for your sin!
“He [Jesus] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 4:25-5:1. “Justification” means being declared not guilty by God.)
Why did Jesus die for you and me? Why did He suffer so badly upon the cross?
Jesus died for you because He loves you! God loves you so much that He was even willing to give His own Son up to die for you! “For 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.” (John 3:16)
There was no other way! Sin is wrong, and God’s justice demands that it be punished. There are only two ways that your sin can be properly punished: 1) you take the punishment yourself, or 2) someone who has no sin of his own can be punished in your place. And that is just what God did in Jesus Christ. Jesus took your guilt on Himself and suffered the punishment for it in your place. The nail-pierced hands, the beatings, the crown of thorns, the sword-pierced side, facing the wrath of God—Jesus did it all for you!
Now, you do not have to suffer in your guilt and shame any longer. God can and will forgive you through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus. You can finally have peace! Peace with God... peace with others... peace with yourself. There is hope after all! But, you must turn away from sin and turn to God by faith in order to be saved. Salvation is a free gift, but you must accept it. Keep reading…
I know I need to be saved. What must I do?
The Bible repeatedly says we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8; etc.). What does that mean? It means that we must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, He died for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead. And in believing this we must give our lives to Him—we must trust in Jesus as our Savior. Part of saving faith is that we will want to obey Jesus and follow Him as His servants and life students. Similarly, Jesus said, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). We must put our trust in Jesus and express our faith by being united with Him in His death and resurrection in baptism. There is no magic in the water we are immersed in, but something very powerful happens. Through our faith, the Holy Spirit of God cleanses and transforms our souls when we are buried with Christ in baptism. We are raised again in newness of life.
Further information about this is given in Acts 2:37-38. After the Apostle Peter preached concerning Jesus’ death and victorious resurrection, the people of Jerusalem who killed Jesus cried out, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
We find here the idea of repentance being necessary for salvation too. Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of action. It is our willingness to turn our backs on our old lives of sin and turn to God to receive His free gift of salvation.
You can have a new life!
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:3-4).
One of the great ironies of Christianity is that you must first die in order to live—not physically but spiritually. A Christian has died to that old life of sin and now lives a new life in Christ. This dying to self is both a one-time event when we are first saved and a lifelong process of growing and being changed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. In this new life you will come to experience a love and joy that far surpasses anything you could have ever imagined for yourself. The blessings of God are amazing. Live in His hope and peace!
So, what is stopping you?
Jesus loves you! He gave up His own life for you. God raised Him from the dead in victory over sin and death, so that you and I can have new life—now and forever more.
- Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?
- Will you put your faith (trust) in Him and in Him alone?
- Are you willing to turn your back on your old life and come to God for a new life?
- Believing and repenting, you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
Why not just admit it right now, “I’m tired of living a life separated from God. I am ready to accept God’s love and forgiveness. I will give my life to Him through Jesus, and after being baptized I will strive with God’s help to live in obedience to God’s Word from here on out. I am going to embrace God’s blessings for me in Jesus Christ!”
Friend, now is the time and today is the day! Don’t make any more excuses. You now know the will of God for you, and He is now giving you the opportunity to live in Him. Enjoy forgiveness today! Live a new life in Christ! Accept God’s love for you! Accept the free gift of God! Know hope and peace today!
The Chesapeake Church of Christ wants to encourage you to give your life to Jesus. Please contact us if you would like to study further.