From the moment that God created the universe, he knew the plan of salvation he had in mind for us. He spoke, and through his Word the world was brought into existence. His Spirit hovered over the waters and when it was done, God declared it all to be good. Even today, that one God made up of Creator, Word and Spirit, still speaks to his creation and seeks a relationship with us. In fact, we were created for that very purpose. Unfortunately, through the sin of those first two people, God’s creation was corrupted and our relationship with him was broken. People often talk of seeking God, and how humanity has nearly always done so. But the story of history is not so much one of us seeking Him, but rather Him bringing about his plan to restore that broken relationship and reconcile the world to Himself.
When we experience pain and suffering and loss, we are experiencing the taint on existence that is the power of sin. It doesn’t help matters that we so often are the source of our own problems. It seems like we know the right thing to do, but are incapable of doing it. We can all point to bad decisions we make, sometimes repeatedly, that negatively impact our lives.
The worst effect these bad decisions have is when they hurt our relationships with those around us. We see the effects immediately, through the loss of friendships, marriages and family closeness. What may not be so easy to see, however, is how our sin harms our relationship with God. It draws us away from his love and mercy, and the comfort we receive from Him.
God refuses to give up on us despite our sin. Instead of simply condemning us, he created a way that we can have our relationship with him restored, and be set free from that negative influence in our life which is sin. That way is Jesus Christ.
He is the Word of God that was present at the creation of the world, and he came to earth, born as one of us, in order to save us. He taught a new way of living which, though based on the things God had already taught his people, was different from the way people had come to understand them. His teachings remain the same today as they were then. They challenge us to live a life of love and forgiveness, where we seek the good of others before the good of ourselves.
His Ultimate purpose was to sacrifice himself in order to pay the divine price for the sin that entered the world, and to pay the price for our own sins. But it didn’t end there on that cross, because Jesus, the Son of God, rose from the dead. In so doing he freed us to have a relationship with Him, and through him, with the God the Father. Based on a relationship with God that has been restored, we can find hope and healing in all our relationships, and within ourselves.
Salvation & Grace
God gives us everything we need for our salvation and to be able to have a relationship with him through Jesus Christ. And he does this without our first having done anything to deserve it. That’s grace! Rather than creating a problem for us, realizing that God is ultimately the one responsible for saving us is a relief. As we live our life we frequently find ourselves falling short of the things we want to do and should be doing. Because God is responsible for giving us the gift of faith and Jesus is responsible for doing the work of saving us, we never have to worry that because we are still imperfect, that we might somehow mess up God’s plan for us.
Having our relationship with God restored, we continue to live in that relationship. Through the work of God’s spirit in our lives, we gradually learn to live as the people of God. We grow closer to him, and begin to live the way he has called us to live. Sin remains in our life, as we continue to make mistakes and sometimes fail to do the right thing, but we know that God continues to love us and walk with us. Ultimately, love is what this is all about. God loves us and we love others. Faith, hope and love remain, but the greatest of these is love.
Why should I serve?
We don’t serve to earn God’s love, which we already have. Neither do we serve to earn the thanks of our fellow man. We serve through our time, talents and treasure because God has first graciously given to us. We serve because we love those around us and want to help them, the way we have been helped.