Explain it to me
As a new believer, we understand you may have questions about what God expects from you and what you should expect from yourself.
Below are answers to a few questions you may have about the Christian life. It's our hope you are able to move forward with confidence, and grow into all God has for you.
In depth teachings will be featured in upcoming months.
Hebrew 1:1-4 "1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself[a] purged our[b] sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they."
Who is Jesus? The Bible says Jesus is God Himself. He is heaven's representation and embodiment of God. He is also the Son of God. All that exit were created through Him, and for Him. The depth of the person of Jesus is incomprehensible. For many, when they hear the name "Jesus Christ," they often think it's Jesus's first and last name. However, His name holds much deeper truths as to who He is. The Hebrew word for "Jesus" is "Yeshua" which means to "Rescue" or "Deliver." The word "Christ" is derived from the Greek term "Christos," and is often used in conjunction with the Hebrew word "Meschiac" meaning "Messiah" or "Anointed One." In Biblical times, Kings and Priests were usually anointed with oil as they were separated and called into God's service. Jesus lived a life in complete obedience and service to the Father's will. He was the "Anointed Deliverer" God chose to rescue and deliver us out an eternity of hell and eternal existence without Him. Jesus's crucifixion and death on the Cross was the price paid to set us free from the bondage of sin and eternal separation from God. The Cross was the instrument God used to bridge and restore the severed relationship between Himself and us. Jesus came to give us life - He is the 'Way,' the 'Truth,' and the 'Life.' Through the Cross, we have reconciliation with God.
Additional Scripture:John 1:14, Isaiah 53, Hebrews 2:9
John 3:3 "Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Salvation is all about our redemption, final destination, and a Father who laid His life down to bring His children home. God has given us the wonderful privilege of 'freewill' to choose Him or not. Contrary to popular belief that God is standing over our heads with a stick ready to whack us at any moment, the Bible speaks of a God who is all powerful, kind, patient, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and love. Above all, it paints a picture of a God desperately in love with His creation and a God who is always calling out to us, and is relentless in His pursuit of us. 1st John 4:19 says "We love Him[a] because He first loved us." In the Bible, the book of 'Hosea,' speaks to the depravity of who we are as fallen creation, and God's desire and passion to redeem our depraved souls. God tells Hosea (His anointed prophet) to marry a prostitute named Gomer. Hosea obeys only to have his wife break their marital vow several times after having children. She commits adultery and stabs him in the heart over and over again. Despite running after her and catching her in the act of adultery, Hosea still hopes Gomer will come to value his love over her lack of understanding her identity as his wife, and the temporary pleasure of her sinful ways. In the end, Gomer finds herself enslaved, engulfed, and exploited by her prostitution and adulterous ways, and was now physically being auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder in the sex industry. Hosea walks the streets with a broken heart searching for Gomer and willing to pay any price to redeem her from off the selling block. God instructs him, to redeem his wife in Hosea 3:1-3 "Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover[a]and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans."2 So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. 3 And I said to her, “You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man—so, too, will I be toward you.” Despite the fact that Gomer legally belonged to Hosea through their marital covenant, he is forced to physically pay a price to save her and win her back. God included the book of Hosea in the Bible to demonstrate how deep His love runs for us. So is the story of our lives - despite our constant treason and adulterous ways toward God, He still searches the streets today looking for those willing to be called "His Bride." Salvation is about God redeeming us from off the selling block of slavery to sin and eternal destruction. Sin always carries consequences and penalties. Satan's plan is to enslave our humanity into a place of despair, and our souls into eternal destruction. God loves us too much, and saw our powerlessness to set ourselves free. He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty in full for our mistakes. Despite the fact that God has all legal rights to our lives as His creation, because of our inherent sinful ways that rejected Him, it cost Him a price to win us back. Unlike Hosea, who paid in monetary terms, God paid with His blood to redeem us. Salvation is not free, but it is available to all of us through the acceptance and confession of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Jesus willingly went to the Cross to redeem us, even while we were yet sinners - Romans 5:6-11 "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."
Romans 5, John 3:16, Romans 10:9, Book of Hosea
Romans 12:1-2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
The greatest act of worship we can offer to God is our obedience. It's saying "Yes" to Him at His every request. Worship is a choice we make of unhindered abandonment of our lives into the hands of a holy God so His plan for us will be executed no matter the cost. It's a sacrificial act since we choose to stay in God's hand regardless of the price tag. Worship involves us intertwining the core of who we are and coming into agreement with God's divinity, sovereignty and governance over our lives. When we think of worship, the thought of music, singing and dancing comes to mind, but the truth is, those are outward expressions of a deeper truth. Genuine worship starts from the inside of us and is rooted in knowing God and His heart for us. It starts from an intimate place of communion and ends in a place on consummation with God. Before we even approach church or answer an altar call, our hearts are already bowed down and is in celebration of who God is and what He has done for us. We are perpetually in a place of adoration and awe of God. Worship is a matter of the heart rather than an aesthetic form of outward physical expression. John 4:24 says "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Jesus puts it this way in Mark 7:6 "Jesus answered them, "Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: 'These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me." Outward worship can be expressed in many ways - exuberant manifestation of dancing, singing, clapping, praising and praying - whether in an individual or corporate setting. Worship can also involve giving of our time, finances, or perhaps supporting someone through a difficult situation. In the end, worship maybe expressed in giving of ourselves to God and others, but it is deeply rooted in our recognition that God is creator and we are His creation - this heirarchy and truth will remain until the end of time - we were made to worship Him.
Colosions 3:14-14, John 4:23, Psalm 95:1-6
1st John 3:4 "Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness."
Sin is a complete disregard for the government and sovereign rule of God in our lives. Can you imagine a society without law or any form of righteous and just governance? The result would be a society plagued with chaos, corruption and unimaginable evil. Sad to say, sounds very much like many parts of the world we currently live in. Satan's number one strategy is to create chaos in our lives, and a disobedient heart towards God. Sin is rooted in our selfish motives, idolatrous hearts, and a misplaced identity of who we are as a creation. It is lawless behavior we entertain, encourage and engage in with our heart, mind and body. We are inherently sinful, and our heart is alway running after what is forbidden. In Romans 7:14-25, The Apostle Paul describes sin as a war constantly raging and battling within us to counter the peace and obedience God desires for us. It's a battle we are incapable of winning without a surrendered life and heart towards God. The Bible states that Satan's plan is to steal, kill and destroy and James gives a very clear visual of the power and entrapment of sin in the book of James 1:14-15 "14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.". Sin starts from the inside of us - it is a process with many stages. Our propensity to sin and trample the grace of God is a real battle. Sin captures us, drags us away, and imprisons us. We end up paying a price we cannot afford, and a price we never intended to pay. Our acts of rebellion towards God always carries a price tag. Many times it will cost us a life of peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, and it will certainly destroy our destiny in God. Are you willing to pay such a price?
Additional Scripture: Galations 5:19-21, Psalm 119:11, Romans 5:12, Mark 7:20-23, James 4:17
Psalm 51:3-4 "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight"
Sin separates us from God. For new believers, our initial repentance is an act of confession that comes from an internal realization that grips our entire heart, mind, will, and emotions that we have sinned against God, is in need of His forgiveness, and is trusting in the Cross for reconciliation with Him. You are coming to the Cross as the ONLY hope for a right relationship with God. It flows from a heart that is genuinely remorseful, and determined to renounce a life of sin. It's important to note that 'repentance' runs deeper than a heartfelt confession, and it is not related to feeling sorry for our mistakes. Many times we are sorry for what we've done, and for being caught, but God is not interested that that kind of worldly sorrow. 2nd Corinthians 7:10 says "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. Repentance, and a lifestyle of repentance, can best be thought of as a '180 degree' turn in our lives. It's the determination to walk in the opposite direction of sinful habits we engage in. God and sin cannot coexist in the same temple, and a lifestyle contrary and sinful towards God should quickly be repented of. 1st John 3:9 "Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God." Through the power of the Holy Spirit, our godly sorrow and our confession of sin should be backed up with a lifestyle that walks in the opposite direction of sin and sinful ways. 1st John 5:18 ""We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him." Overall, as Christians, we will sin, and perhaps find ourselves in situations that doesn't please God. Savoring a lifestyle of sin and entertaining habitual patterns of sin that deflect our lives away from God will cost us more that what we are willing to pay. God is here to help us in our moments of failure. If you find yourself struggling in an area of your life, run to God, He is waiting to meet you in the place of repentance. There is no place too deep or too dark that God cannot reach. 1st John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1st John 2:1 "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."
Additional Scripture: Acts 3:19, Matthew 3:8, Isiah 30:15, Acts 20:21
John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Christianity is a way of life - it starts from the inside of us. It's not something we do - it is who we are. Christianity doesn't involve abstract acts of religious rituals in hopes of pleasing and communing with God - it has never been about what we can do for God. The Gospel has and will always be about what God has done for us. It's about having a heart to heart relationship with a loving and holy God. A Christian's identity doesn't derive from their social, cultural or economic status - it is fundamentally and solely rooted in the person of Jesus Christ. Our value and worth is completely engulfed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. As a Christian, all we do, and all of who we are, is captured and capsuled by this truth. We chose to embrace the truth that a Holy God loves us so much that He himself willingly substituted His life to pay the penalty for the sin that initially broke our relationship and separated us from Him. God laid His life down as a bridge to provide a way of reconciliation with Him. Sometimes, there's the misconceptions that Christians have to follow a set of rules, and breaking those rules somehow forfeits the right to be called Christians. The truth is, Christians will fail, stumble and make mistakes. However, we continue to strive and aspire to be more like Jesus Christ. Christianity is about yielding our entire lives including the good, the bad, and the ugly in repentance as we come to a Holy God for cleansing, deliverance and restoration. The issue of our sin and sinfulness doesn't make Christians different from anyone else, however, as a Christian, we choose to trust that the penalty of our sin have been paid for by the substitutionary work of Jesus's crucifixion on the Cross, and out of a grateful heart, we desire to live for God in obedience to His word. A Christian life should emulate holiness, faithfulness and loyalty towards God. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see."
John 14:6, John 3:16-18, Acts 4:12, John 3:17-21
1st Peter 1:23-25 23 "having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,[a] 24 because. All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man[b] as the flower of the grass. The grass withers. And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the Lord endures forever."
Regeneration is closely intertwined with our salvation. While salvation deals with the penalty of our sin, regeneration deals with our triune man (spirit, mind and body) and our ability to navigate towards sinful behavior. It addresses our sinfulness. The human race in inherently sinful. From the physical aspect, we all carry an individual make-up that is identifiable through our DNA. This genetic information tells who we are and where we came from. Through the process of regeneration, God deals with our spiritual DNA and identity. 2nd Corinthian 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!". At the point of salvation, our spiritual DNA changes, and who we are and the outcome of our eternal destination changes. God is a holy God and desires His children live in holiness and harmony with His Spirit. Because we still live in a world full of temptation, God literally has to infuse us with His DNA in order to help us overcome the temptations sitting at our door. Ezekiel 36:26-27 "26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them." He fills us with His Holy Spirit to help us lead a life that is pleasing to Him. Through the process of regeneration, all of who we are changes, and we begin to focus on things divine. Since the power of sin is always raging against us, we need to put to death the old man in us. God doesn't refurbish, renovate or reform us - He slays the old man in us, and gives us a new life. We are desperately in need of this 'Rebirth.' The corruptible seed has to die so the incorruptible seed can take new life in us.
John 3:3, John 3:6, Ephesians 2:1, Titus 3:5,
1st John 3:9
2nd Timothy 2:21 - "Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work."
As a new believer, we often struggle with the thought of "what if I fail God in my mind, my heart and my deeds after dedicating my life to Jesus?". The truth is, we will fail God even after initially trusting in His saving grace. The question is, what do you do at that point in time? Do you give up? Do you forfeit your relationship with God? Sanctification is an ongoing process and work by the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is the process of us setting apart ourselves unto God so He is able to work through us for His purposes. It helps to refer to it in the way that "our life is a cup that God drinks from that one else uses, or has access to." When we genuinely accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, God begins to work through the power of the Holy Spirit to refine, chisel and mold us into the image of His son. Sanctification is the process of God applying pressure and fire to our lives to refine, redefine and raise us up to accomplish His plans. It is God's hands working to change our inner man into the likeness, character and disposition of Jesus Christ. We begin to hate what He hates, and love what He loves. This process often times will bring the ugliness of our lives to the surface to be dealt with - we will come face to face with our mental patterns of unrighteous thinking, attitude problems, our unkind reactionary ways to those around us, our unethical work habits and the list goes on and on. Overtime, as we surrender to God's refining fire, there's a tangible and distinct change that translates into our obedience to God. We find ourselves letting go of sin, the works of the flesh and the desires that are temporarily filled by things of this world. Sanctification is about our growth process. Like a little child learning to walk, we will stumble and fall, but eventually we will be able to walk on our own. Like a potter molding clay, if the clay doesn't bend and mold as he wills because of impediments, he doesn't throw away the clay, he gently applies pressure to remove the impediments and start the process again - so is God with our lives. As long as we are alive, this process will continue until the day we die. When we do fail God (and we will), He has made wonderful provisions and promises in His word that makes a way for us to run to Him and find shelter in those moments. The Bible says that when we are tempted, God provides a way of escape. Sanctification is about our holiness - it's not about a set of rules to follow on a checklist, but our commitment to God should flow from a place of love and desire to please Him in every area of our lives.
Additional Scripture: 2nd Thessalonians 2:13, 1st Corinthians 6:11, 1st Corinthians 6:19-20, 1st John 1:9
1st Corinthians 10:13
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