In order to understand what salvation is and why we need it, there are certain truths that we must know and believe about both God and ourselves.
Who is God?
God is holy, righteous, and just.
"Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is He!" Psalm 99:3
"For the LORD is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face." Psalm 11:7
"The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice." Deuteronomy 32:4
Who are we?
Human beings were made by God in His image to know, love, and glorify Him.
"Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness." Psalm 115:1
"Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." Westminster Shorter Catechism, #1
What is the problem?
We have all chosen to reject God, disobey His commands, and ignore His purpose for our lives. The Bible calls this sin.
"We all like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way…." Isaiah 53:6a
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
Because God is holy, righteous, and just, He must punish sin.
"Behold, all souls are mine, the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine. The soul who sins shall die." Ezekiel 18:4
There is nothing we can do to fix this problem.
"For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight..." Romans 3:20
What Is the solution?
Not because God was obligated but as a demonstration of His own great mercy and love, God made the way to save lost sinners through His own Son Jesus Christ.
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved..." Ephesians. 2:4-5
What did Jesus do?
Though he is God, he took on our humanity.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1, 14
He lived the life we should have lived, resisting every temptation.
"For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous." Romans 5:19
He endured the punishment and died the death we deserve.
"Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God." Romans 5:9
"But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities." Isaiah 53:5
He was raised from the dead to conquer the grave.
"Christ died for sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
What is the result?
God gives us a new record to save us from the penalty of sin. God credits our sins to Jesus and his righteousness to us so that we are forgiven and reconciled with God.
"For our sake He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21
God gives a new heart to save us from the power of sin. Through His Spirit dwelling within us, God strengthens us to live as He created us to live.
"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26
God gives a new hope to save us from the power of sin. We have the assurance of everlasting life with God and without sin, suffering, or death.
"In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:13-14
What is your response?
Repent of your sin and ask God to forgive you.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from of all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
Believe that Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins, that he rose again, and he is alive today reigning over heaven and earth.
"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:31
Faith is not merely intellectual agreement with the gospel truths. Faith is turning from sin and self-trust, and trusting in Jesus Christ alone for complete forgiveness and acceptance with God. Faith looks to the person and work of Jesus alone for salvation--his perfect life lived out for his people, and his perfect sacrifice to satisfy God’s justice.
Receive God's free gift of salvation. Don't try to earn it.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8
Submit to Christ as the Lord of your life and ask him to guide you in His will.
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope the glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ..." Titus 2:11-13
If you do this, you will become an adopted son or daughter of God, received into His royal family. Your willingness to now trust in Jesus is evidence that God's Holy Spirit has come to dwell within you and is now beginning the work of changing you to become more like Christ. God will progressively restore His image within you so that you will glorify Him until you are glorified in heaven forever.
Through His Holy Spirit, God will help your faith to grow. He gives you what are called "means of grace" to strengthen and encourage you. These include:
The Word (the Bible and particulary its preaching)
Sacraments (Baptism and the Lord's Supper)
God intends for Christians to practice each of these means within the fellowship of believers called the church. We would love to have you visit Ebenezer and see if this is family of faith God wants you to be a part of.