The Soapbox

A Personal Commentary by Mark Eidemiller


"Salvation's Inquiry: 'What's it all about?'"

Welcome.

If you've come this far, you're probably curious as to what this Christianity is all about.

One of the best ways to explain it is through four spiritual rules. Just as there are physical rules that govern the physical universe, so are there spiritual rules which govern your relationship with God.

The first spiritual rule is GOD LOVES YOU, AND HE HAS A WONDERFUL PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE.

God loves you. The one who made all Creation has a soft spot in His heart just for you. And He's willing to do anything He can to bring you closer to Him.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

Jesus Christ is God's Son. He was sent to give you a full life in Him (not in the garbage of this world). He said, "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10).

Sounds too good to be true? Wondering why everyone else isn't taking advantage of this?

The answer's found in the second rule, which explains about mankind: MAN IS SINFUL AND SEPARATED FROM GOD, THUS HE CANNOT KNOW AND EXPERIENCE GOD'S LOVE AND PLAN FOR HIS LIFE.

Bottom line: We're all screw-ups. Always have been, always will be. Can't get around it.

In other words, man is sinful: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

Man was created to have fellowship with God; but, because of his own stubborn self-will, he chose to go his own independent way, and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is an evidence of what the Bible calls sin.

As a result, man is spiritually separated from God: "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23a).

God is holy and man is sinful, period. A great chasm separates the two. Men are continually trying to reach God and the abundant life through their own efforts: good life, ethics, philosophy, etc. Yeah, sure. To barrow the phrase, "As if!"

The third rule gives us the only answer to this dilemma: JESUS CHRIST IS GOD'S ONLY PROVISION FOR MAN'S SIN. THROUGH HIM YOU CAN KNOW AND EXPERIENCE GOD'S LOVE AND PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE.

Fact #1 - JESUS CHRIST DIED IN OUR PLACE: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

Fact #2 - JESUS CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD: "Christ died for our sins...He was buried...He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures...He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred..." (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

Fact #3 - JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY: "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me'" (John 14:6)

There used to be an endless chasm separating us from God. No one could build the bridge. But then God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross, and pay the price for our sins. He BECAME the bridge back to God.

And that's it. Who we are, who God is, and why we need Him.

But knowing it doesn't make it happen. Knowing it doesn't give one eternal life.

And saying that there is still another way to heaven isn't the answer, although many would like you to believe that there is. Jesus Christ made the bold claim, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6, NIV)

Others have claimed to KNOW the way to God, and to heaven. Only Jesus Christ claimed to BE the way to God, and to heaven.

Now it's your turn. This is the hard part. You have to make a choice. Take a step.

What are you going to do with regards to Jesus Christ? Accept Him, or reject Him?

If you reject Him, take this link back to my home page. But you're welcome back anytime.

However, if you want to know more, keep reading.


Finally, we have the last of the four spiritual rules: WE MUST INDIVIDUALLY RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST AS LORD AND SAVIOR; THEN WE CAN KNOW AND EXPERIENCE GOD'S LOVE AND PLAN FOR OUR LIVES.

  • WE MUST RECEIVE CHRIST: "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)

  • WE RECEIVE CHRIST THROUGH FAITH: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9).

  • WE RECEIVE CHRIST BY PERSONAL INVITATION: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him" (Revelation 3:20).

  • WE REPENT (TURN FROM) ALL THE THINGS THAT HELD US BEFORE: "And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:15); "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;" (Acts 3:29)

Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self, trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and make us what He wants us to be. It is not enough to give intellectual assent to His claims or to have an emotional experience.

It's a commitment.

THE BOTTOM LINE is talking to God. Take it to the top. No need for shortcuts.

God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. The following is what's often called "the Sinner's Prayer." Start here. Read it first, and ask yourself if this expresses the desire of your heart. If so, pray it right now, and Christ will take it the rest of the way as He promised, and come into your life.

"Dear God. I come to the Father through Jesus Christ the Son. My life is a mess, and I know I need You to fill that empty place in me. Please forgive me for my sins, and cleanse my heart. Jesus, please come into my heart as my Lord, my Savior, my God and my King. Take control of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Thank You. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen."

Congratulations! The Bible says that all of heaven is rejoicing at this moment: "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." (Luke 15:7 NIV)


You've just been scratched off of Satan's roll sheet, and "Ol' Scratch" isn't going to like it. He'll try pounding you with doubt that what you did mattered. Don't go by your feelings, friend - they'll lie to you. Go in faith trusting the promises of God. Get yourself a Bible and check it out. According to His promise in Revelation 3:20, where is Christ right now in relation to you? Christ knocked. You opened. It's a done deal.

Still have doubts? Would God mislead you? Look at the authority of the One who has answered your prayer: "And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:11-13).

The moment that you, by an act of faith, received Christ, many things happened, including:

  • Christ came into your life (Revelation 3:20 and Colossians 1:27).
  • Your past sins were forgiven (Colossians 1:14).
  • You became a child of God (John 1:12, Romans 8:16).
  • You began the great adventure for which God created you (John 10:10, 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Can you think of anything more wonderful that could happen to you than receiving Christ? This is something that will last beyond today, beyond this week, and beyond your lifetime. Would you like to thank God in prayer right now for what He has done for you? Then do it! The very act of thanking God demonstrates faith. He has a lot of promises for you. The living Christ indwells you, and eternal life is yours, as you continue to trust and follow Him.


THE NEXT STEPS

Once you leave this web site, once you've switched off or walked away from your computer, you'll wonder what you did.

You made a commitment, friend. And it doesn't end once you put distance between you and this computer.

God is with you. He has promised He will never leave you (check out Romans 8:38,39, Hebrews 13:5, and in Jesus' own words in Matthew 28:20).

You might feel uneasy about what you should do next. Go to a church? Get a bible? Tell somebody?

  • The first thing you should do, and always do, is KEEP TRUSTING JESUS. He's just as close as a prayer - no long distance charges, no online waiting, never a busy signal. Talk to Him often, just as you'd talk to your best friend. Admit your weaknesses, and ask Him for help. And trust Him to take care of it. He's always ready to answer.

  • Next, get yourself a Bible. I prefer the popular King James, but get yourself a good translation that you can read. But just because it's easy to read, don't stop asking God to show you what it's all about, for you and your life. Study it - memorize it - it's your strength and it'll increase your faith (Romans 10:17, 2 Timothy 2:15).

  • Find yourself a good church. There's a lot of garbage out there, so you may have to look around a bit. Big church or small church, I can't tell you which is best for you, but God can. He will always lead you in peace if you wait on Him and let Him direct you. One thing, though: look for a church that follows the Bible without changing it. And don't get turned off on churches, and try to convince yourself that you can do well enough without it. We all need the fellowship of other Christians. We'll dry up and die without it.

  • Once you've found a church, follow God's command from Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Romans 6:4 and elsewhere, to be baptized as a public sign of your faith and an act of obedience.

  • Obey God, moment by moment: "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." (John 14:21, NIV)

  • Witness to others the love of Christ by your life and words: "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." (John 15:8; see also Proverbs 11:30, Romans 10:14, John 4:36, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23) Start here, by responding to me via email.

  • And, above all, TRUST GOD FOR EVERY DETAIL OF YOUR LIFE: "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" (1 Peter 5:6-8)


Let me leave you with this powerful chapter: Romans 12. "1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Trust God to take you every step of the way. He's done it for me, and for countless others. He can do it.

And I'll be here if you need anything. Email me at skylab@e-z.net.

God bless you on your new walk with Him.



Any comments? Feel free to email me.
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