Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:13, 20). Who is Jesus and how do we know He is who He claims to be? This may very well be the most important question ever asked, for if He is who He says He is, ones whole eternal future is at stake. The answer to that question is grounded in absolute truth – the Bible. The Bible teaches us everything we know about the person and work of Jesus Christ. This is important because in a world of profound uncertainty, relativism, and deception, the Bible proclaims absolute truth. The Bible reveals the truth about how the universe began, and how it will end; about why people behave the way they do; about what is always right and what is always wrong; about heaven and hell, and how people get to those places; about what makes for good human relationships; about God’s promises; and, most significant, about the Lord Jesus Christ, including His virgin birth, sinless life, unparalleled teaching, substitutionary death, literal resurrection, bodily ascension, and second coming.
If the Bible is true then its claims about Jesus are also true. But how do we know the Bible is true? This is equally as important in answering our original question, for if the Bible is true, then it is true to the exclusion of all other so called writings that claim to be of divine origin. Think about it. The Bible is a book that is supported by over five thousand ancient manuscripts, pieces of manuscripts, and fragments of manuscripts. The sixty-six books that make up the Bible were written by at least forty different authors over a period of 1500 to 2000 years, in three different languages, on three different continents. Yet its message is unique and each book compliments the other. Furthermore, archeological discoveries have proven the cities, peoples and events chronicled in the Bible are right on target. We know the Bible is true, that it is God’s revealed truth to humanity. It is objective rather than subjective because it originates with God. It is rational rather than mystical. There are no hidden meanings accessible only to the religious elite. Properly interpreted it yields divine truth. Because it is the revelation of divine truth, anything that contradicts it is wrong. It is exclusive truth in an inclusive world. As such, it is the final authority; and therefore it is binding on all people, whether it is acknowledged as such or not. But perhaps the greatest proof of the Bible’s divine origin is the accuracy of fulfilled biblical prophecy. The Hebrew prophets had to meet a very stringent requirement at the pain of death—100 percent accuracy, 100 percent of the time—no exceptions! There are over one thousand prophecies in the Bible, half of which have already been literally fulfilled. There are 108 prophecies dealing with Jesus’ first coming and He alone fulfilled all 108—the odds of which are astronomical. One such prophecy is found in Daniel 9:24-27. In this passage, God outlines for the prophet Daniel the entire history of the Jewish people. The most amazing part of this prophecy is verse 25. It basically says from the time a decree is given to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem” until Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and His subsequent death (see Luke 19:37-40) there would be 483 years, or 173,880 days. We know this decree was issued by Artaxerxes on March 14, 445 B.C. We also know Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey on April 6, 32 A.D. If you do the math, you arrive at exactly 483 years, or 173,880 days to the day. How’s that for 100 percent accuracy, 100 percent of the time! No other book that claims to be of divine origin even comes close. The Bible is clearly the Word of God as it has proven itself to be such over and over again. Why people continue to reject it is beyond me, other than they “loved the darkness rather than the Light” (John 3:19).
So that brings us back to our original question—who is Jesus and how do we know He is who He claims to be? He is God and the Savior of all who will believe—claims He made over and over again in the Bible. Since the Bible has proven itself to be true then we know its teachings about Jesus are true as well. This is what the writer of 1 John meant by the phrase, “so that you may know” (1 John 5:13). We can know for absolute certainty that the Bible is true and its claims about Jesus are true. This knowledge about Christ would include the historic facts about the person and work of Christ. This is the gospel—the good news! It can be summed up in the passage, “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:2-3). However, mere knowledge is not enough, after all, the devil has knowledge of Christ. We must also assent to Christ. In other words, we must be convinced that these historic facts (knowledge) about Christ are true. We must believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be and that He is able to do what He said He could do—forgive sins and guarantee eternal life! However, just as mere knowledge is not enough, neither is mere assent. There is a third element known as commitment. By commitment I mean a whole-hearted committal to Jesus Christ. In John’s gospel, the Bible says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). Believe here means to believe “in, into,” or “upon”. You must believe in, into, and upon Jesus Christ. It is a belief that brings about a change. This change is known as conversion (salvation). This belief is faith in action. When a person is saved, he or she does not take three distinct steps. However, that person’s salvation does begin with knowledge of the Savior leading to assent to the Savior, which brings about commitment to the Savior. Saving faith is simply committing oneself to Jesus Christ. This is clearly expressed in Acts 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” When we put the sum total of our hope in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation, then we pass from spiritual death to spiritual life. We experience conversion and received the gift of eternal life. This is crucial as such is our eternal hope—we walk with Christ in this life and when we die we go immediately into the presence of Christ. The opposite is true when it comes to the unbeliever—at death they go immediately into torment.
So, Jesus is God come in human flesh to save sinners. Think about it. You and I are sinners deserving of death and eternal separation from God and everything that is good. In fact, God would be well justified to kill you right now and send you to hell for all eternity. But He is a gracious God as well, “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The problem arises in that most simply do not believe the gospel message. Even if they believe they are sinners as the Bible says, they somehow fail to believe that only through faith in Christ can they be forgiven. Perhaps you are one of those who considers the gospel to be somewhat foolish—the very idea that God would die for the sins of humanity. This is what the Bible says: “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). God so desires that you be saved that He gave the One whom He loved most, His Son, and sent Him to die on a cross. That is the measure of His love, and that indicates how much He loves you and wills that you be saved! Have you been saved? Are you ready to be saved? It is a decision you must make right now, for to put it off is to reject it in this moment. We all would like to think we have another day, another week, and another year. But we must remember none of us is promised another day. We are all one heartbeat away from eternity. Your time may indeed be short.
Remember the accuracy of fulfilled biblical prophecy? Think about this. The alignment of nations, the events in Jerusalem, the Middle East, and the world that were foretold would take place in the last days just prior to Christ’s second coming are coming into place as never before. With each passing day it is becoming clearer that we are the generation who will see the return of Christ. Still not convince? Well, chew on this for awhile: For the first time in 1,600 years, there exists a modern version of the ancient Roman Empire (the European Union), “partly strong and partly weak,” as Daniel predicted in chapter two would be the case just prior to Christ’s return. There exists, for the first time since before Daniel was born, a nation called “Israel.” Neither of these existed until this generation. Israel was reborn in one day in 1948 (see Isaiah 66:7-9). The Benelux Treaty that began the modern movement for the reunification of Europe was signed in 1948. Also in 1948, Bell Laboratories introduced the transistor, an invention which marked the beginning of the computer age. Daniel further predicted the increase of knowledge—probably the best description of our modern age. All these things, the Bible says, would be a reality when the time came for the fulfillment of all remaining biblical prophecy. Again, we have greater evidence to the divine origin of the Bible as the Word of God to the exclusion of all others, and the reality of who Christ is. What is this telling you and me? First of all, God’s Word is true. Secondly, its message about salvation “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8) is true as well. Jesus is the only way (John 14) to salvation. And finally, He is coming again—first, in the air for His Church at the Rapture (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), and then literally to this earth at the second coming (see Acts 1:9-11). The question is: Are you ready? If Jesus came for His Church today, would you be caught up with all the saints of all the ages or would you be left behind? The Bible is true. Jesus is who He claimed to be. He is your’s and my only hope for forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Do you believe?
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