Category Archives: Salvation

The Story of Jesus—God’s Parable

A parable is an earthly story used to teach some heavenly meaning. If you think about it, you’ll discover that Jesus’ whole life is a parable given to us by God.

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God’s parable is a story about a god—the one and only God—sending a part of Himself to earth in a child’s body. The child, known as Jesus, God’s Son, grew up the personification of God, possessing all of His power, love, and wisdom. This part of God, the man Jesus, became an earthly example of a godly life. Then, God allowed Jesus, this part of Himself, to experience every imaginable sin that we humans can commit past, present, and future. God allowed Jesus’ body to be crucified and suffer excruciating pain until, finally, the body died. BUT, the parable doesn’t end there. God, our eternal God in the form of His Son, Jesus, did not die. HE LIVED. Jesus’ body arose from the grave and He ascended into heaven.

There are many lessons in God’s parable, but the most important is this: there is no place for sin in heaven. To claim our place there, we must believe that God loves us so much that He sacrificed Himself to guarantee us eternal life in heaven when our bodies die.

9c6573dfff65de3d68075359d135df31What did sacrifice mean in Jesus’ time?
God commanded His people to perform numerous animal sacrifices according to certain procedures prescribed by Him. Instead of humans suffering eternal death for their own sins, God was willing to accept a substitute.

First, the animal had to be spotless.

Second, the person offering the sacrifice had to need the animal—remember animals were the most important commodity providing food, clothing, and wealth in trade.

Third, the person offering the animal had to kill it. When done in faith, this sacrifice provided a temporary covering of sins.

Sacrifices had to be done multiple times to keep cleansing sin so God’s people might one day have eternal life in heaven.

BUT, THEN:

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Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice, the ETERNAL covering of sin, the ONLY way for souls to be guaranteed sin-free when bodies die. God didn’t have to sacrifice Himself multiple times to free us from sin, but only once.

Jesus told us the meaning of God’s parable:

For God so loved the world
that he gave 
his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.”

(Read the rest of what Jesus said in John 3: 1–21.)

If you are a believer, praise God! If you are a non-believer, think about God’s parable and then decide.

Will you believe?
What do you have to lose?

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Filed under Easter, Good Friday, Salvation, Sin, Uncategorized

Shingles

This was one of those mornings, the kind where you lay in bed hearing strange sounds and you wonder if you’re awake or dreaming.

Hispanic music blares from the clouds, then voices.

“Hola!”

“Que tal?”

Hello!

How’s it going?

A vague recollection from high school Spanish, and the rest is gibberish. Men holler back and forth in Spanish from somewhere above me. Am I sleeping? Am I dead? Maybe I’d landed wrongly in heaven far from my family. “Excuse me, God, but this might as well be the Tower of Babel. Please open my ears to understand, or replant me with my English ancestors, even the German ones, I can understand some German.”

In my brain fog, hammers thump and something makes loud scraping sounds. Then a deep, male voice shouts in English. “Lots of bird doo-doo!” (Only he didn’t say “doo-doo.”)

I opened my eyes. My cat lay next to me on the bed. I stroked his fur. Yup, he was real all right, and so were those sounds. I dragged myself, half asleep, to the window.

There it was. Mystery solved. My neighbors were having their roof re-shingled. Several tan, sweaty, shirtless men stood on top, scraping and shoveling the old shingles right down to the bare wood.

If you think about it, God does that, too. He peels off worn layers of a person’s character and replaces them with something better. When God peels back all the layers and gets down to bare wood, it’s called being “born again.” He gets right to the heart of things, literally, by giving a person a new heart, a new character, one in which Christ is at the center of everything.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

A new roof is a good thing. It protects us from foul weather. But a new heart, a heart for Jesus, that’s a wonderful thing, and it’s all the protection we need.

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Filed under God's greatness, God's Love, God's provision, Salvation, Uncategorized

Snips and Snails

Do you know that some species of snails are hermaphrodites and can reproduce on their own? I found out the hard way.

It all started when I put a floating plant in my tropical fish tank. When I bought the plant, I had no idea that it was loaded with snail eggs. You guessed it, the hermaphrodite kind. Before long, dozens of tiny snails crept along the gravel bottom and up and down the aquarium glass. They did a great job cleaning up the fish waste and algae, so I left them alone. Big mistake. Soon, there were hundreds. I tried picking the little snips off the sides of the glass, but there were too many to keep up with. They kept multiplying, really fast, and I had to do something before I ended up with thousands of little pea-sized snails.

So, I set out some bait. I got an empty spice jar, the kind with a shake and pour lid, and I tucked some lettuce inside. Then I opened the pour spout, and I sunk the jar to the aquarium bottom. It worked! The snails S-L-O-W-L-Y crept into the jar, and when the jar was full, I pulled it up and got rid of them.* After about a week of snail baiting, I had a snail-free tank, and I was a happy fish hobbyist until . . .one evening when I noticed the gravel stirring gently in a corner of the tank. Then up from the depths slunk an endless parade of snails, itty-bitty clones of their pea-sized ancestors. Escargot anyone?

If you think about it, sin is a lot like snails. If you don’t get rid of it right away, it multiplies. Even if you think you are rid of it, sin finds a way of creeping back into your life. God knew this from the beginning. In fact, we’re lucky to be here at all. Genesis 6:5-7 (ESV) tells us:

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

God understood that if we humans were to continue, He had to do something desperate to get rid of our sin once and for all, and, of course His answer was Jesus, the One who paid for our sins and paved the way to eternal life.

The Bible says that everyone is guilty of sin (1 John 1:8). We can bait sin with good intentions, but no matter how much we pick at it and try to get rid of it, sin will continue to trouble us as long as we live. Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus came into the world to save us?

(* Safely transferred to my garden pond)

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Filed under Salvation, Sin