I choose this to be the first question in my answers blog. I think that it is the most significant question, one that every Christian should be prepared to answer.
1. God created a perfect world, and then made two humans (Adam and Eve) to have dominion over the world and to begin the “be fruitful and multiply” process.(Genesis 1,2)
2. Satan was granted permission to tempt Adam and Eve, and his victory won him the right to have dominion and principalities over all of the kingdoms of the earth. (Genesis 3) This part of the message is often skipped over when Christians tell the story of Christ, but is important to explain why we are separated from God, and why we needed Christ’s blood. This world has become a fallen and renegade place because of Satan’s dominion and power over it.
All of the humans born into this fallen world are born with a sinful nature, and this nature causes us to sin, which makes us guilty. The only payment for cleansing us from sin is innocent blood. Yes, that is another part of the story that Christians often leave out, but it explains why God required His people in the Old Testament to sacrifice animals. The blood of animals was only a temporary solution. The whole Old Testament points to God’s plan to send a perfect sacrifice – His own blood.
3. Jesus Christ was the combination of God (one third of the Triune God) and innocent human flesh (why the virgin birth was required). Satan was again permitted a chance to tempt a perfect human. Luke 4:5 -8 tells us that the devil led Jesus to a high place and showed him all of the kingdoms of the world. He offered to give back all of the authority and splendour that he had been given way back in Genesis 3, on the condition that Jesus would bow down and worship him.
4. Satan was unsuccessful in getting Jesus to sin, so when Jesus died, his blood was innocent – and so can be used by humans as the currency to pay for all of our sins, and redeem our souls from the original sin that polluted our blood. At the end of Jesus’ time on earth, he told his disciples that all authority on earth had been restored to Him. According to Matthew, who was there, Jesus’ last words to the eleven were:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age. ( Matthew 28: 19-20)
5. The way to become a Christian is to confess that we are sinners, believe that Jesus gave His blood as payment for our sins, and accept the gift of Christ’s blood. That is it! All of our sins – past, present, and future are forgiven, and we are set free from the bondage of sin.
Some will say that just saying a prayer is too easy. What would keep someone from living his life for himself and then saying this prayer just before we die? What if someone says the prayer but doesn’t really mean it? And doesn’t the Bible say that faith without works is dead?
Ah, but that is where the third part of the Triune God comes into the picture. In 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul tells us what happens when we accept Christ’s blood:
He (Christ) anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.(2 Corinthians 2:21,22)
Works done for God do not earn our salvation, they are an effect of the presence of the Spirit in us. As we allow the Spirit to influence us, we learn how to listen to Him, and we become more like him. The ‘fruit of the Spirit’ is evidence of the Holy Spirit in us: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.”
It’s a process. None of us are there yet.