Archive for July, 2013


The Promise of the Helper

(John 16:5-16)

 John 16:5 “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 12 I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. 16 A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.”

 This instruction was given at a particularly significant point in Christ’s ministry. Just before He was betrayed by Judas into the hands of the Romans, Jesus spoke to His disciples regarding what they could expect as they continued to serve Him once He returned to His Father in heaven. These words of Jesus appear in that particular context—that of preparing the disciples for the challenges ahead. These verses contain three primary points, all of which have to do with the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

First, in verses 5 through 7, Jesus speaks of the connection between His ministry and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Savior teaches that the ministry of the Holy Spirit cannot commence until He has concluded His mission on earth and returned to heaven. Specifically, Jesus says that He must return “to Him who sent Me.” This is, of course, a reference to God the Father. (v. 5)

In a few short hours, Jesus will have been betrayed, arrested, interrogated, abused, and nailed to the cross. There will be no grand transformation of the landscape, no coronation of a new King, and no vanquishing of the oppressors. The battle that Jesus waged was one of a spiritual nature. What He was about to do would be the most wonderful and meaningful act ever witnessed in human history.

Far from being a sad defeat, Jesus teaches that His departure will be of great advantage to these men. The Savior adds: “for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (v. 7) Provision has been made for the ongoing edification and guidance of the disciples once Jesus has left the earth. Appropriately, therefore, He describes the Spirit as the “Helper.”

The Greek word, which is translated “Helper,” is parakletos. This term refers to one who serves as a comforter or an advocate. It was used to identify someone who might be called to one’s side in a time of great need. The word was also used to designate one who pleads the cause of another before a judge. Although Jesus will continue and give a more detailed explanation of the Helper’s role, the definition of parakletos already tells us much about the Spirit’s involvement with the disciples of Christ after Jesus returned to heaven.

Jesus is facing an unbearable experience, yet here He is ministering to His disciples so that they will be encouraged and hopeful as the events of the night began to unfold. He will be leaving this world, but He will not be leaving the disciples on their own. They will not be abandoned or left to fend for themselves. God the Spirit is coming to their assistance.

Following His ascension, the record of Scripture will focus on the arrival of the Helper. The book of Acts opens with the dramatic portrayal of the Spirit’s arrival and subsequent equipping of these same disciples for the work of the gospel. Jesus knows what has been ordained and He is giving the disciples a glimpse of what God has prepared for them. They soon will understand that the cross was necessary and that the death of Jesus had set in motion a plan by which all the nations of the earth would be blessed.

At this moment, these men could do little more than try to process what was happening and Jesus, of course, understood that this was the case. He does not chastise them, nor does Jesus demonstrate any frustration with the disciples. As I indicated, they could not see beyond that night and their fear temporarily robbed them of the ability to exercise discernment. That will come in time and the primary element that will allow the disciples to understand more clearly the plan of redemption is the Helper, the Holy Spirit who is being promised to them.

Eventually, the disciples will have no fear and no doubt about their calling. The transition that will occur in the thinking and conduct of these men will be undeniable testimony to the presence of the Helper and the transforming power of God. Instead of hiding themselves for fear of persecution, these disciples will soon stand in the streets of the same city where their Master has given His life so that sinners may be saved. When that time comes, the disciples will be wise, bold, and confident. And there will be no stopping the movement that is about to commence.

As already pointed out, Jesus establishes a connection here between His ministry and that of the Helper. One does not replace the other, but the ministry of the Helper will be a continuation of the ministry of our Savior. He will send the Spirit who will take what Jesus accomplished on the cross and apply it to the world, beginning with these few disciples.

Second, in verses 8 through 13, the Savior explains in greater detail what the Spirit will do once He arrives. As these verses indicate, the Holy Spirit will be active in revealing the righteousness and judgment of God. He will “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” (v. 8) All of this has to do with the revelation of God’s will in light of the sinfulness of mankind.

The Spirit will establish a definitive distinction between the lawlessness of the human race and the holiness of God. He will enable men to discern between good and evil, and between rebellion and living according to the will of God. That which the Spirit will reveal will be man’s true spiritual condition and what man faces as a result of his transgressions.

In particular, Jesus indicates that the Spirit will be responsible for revealing the truth about the Savior. He will disclose that those who do not believe in Christ are committing sin. (v. 9) Opinions about Jesus will matter. Rejection of the gospel will matter because Jesus is not just another man or teacher, but is God in the flesh. To refuse to believe in Him, therefore, is an offense to God.

Moreover, the Spirit will convict the world concerning righteousness, Jesus adds, “because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me.” (v. 10) Although this saying is a bit puzzling, I think it has to do with the vindication of Christ. He declared Himself to be the Son of God when He walked among men. But He was accused of blasphemy for such statements and eventually put to death.

As the Spirit works in the hearts of sinners, the true nature of Christ and His mission will be made known to them and the proclamations of Christ will be verified. Scripture does, in fact, teach that God’s acceptance of the atonement provided by His Son was vindication of His claims. Jesus said that He had come to give His life a ransom for many and that He was here to do the will of God. Upon the completion of His mission, Jesus was received back into heaven amid much glory, which spoke of the Father’s approval.

Paul, for example, wrote that God “raised [Jesus] from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Eph. 1:20, 21) In another place, the writer of Hebrews says: “When [Christ] had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high . . .” (Heb. 1:3) Again, the honor that Jesus received when He returned to heaven verified that He was who He claimed to be and did accomplish what He was sent to accomplish.

The ministry of the Helper will also involve revelation of God’s judgment against the ruler of this world. (v. 11) Through the followers of Christ, the Spirit will make known the defeat of Satan and the termination of his sway over fallen man. Through the preaching of the Church, the Holy Spirit will proclaim to the world that the devil has been subdued, just as God promised at the beginning of human history.

At this point, Jesus indicates that His instruction of the disciples is coming to an end, but the Spirit will continue educating the disciples once the Savior has completed His mission. (v. 12) The day will come when these men are ready to receive and act upon what remains to be revealed to them. It will be the Helper’s responsibility to provide that guidance and complete the equipping of the disciples for their labors for Christ’s kingdom. (v. 13)

Note in particular what Jesus says about the Spirit’s work in the second half of v. 13: “He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” This statement reinforces the notion that the Helper will be sent by Christ to serve the Savior’s interest. He will not come in order to reveal knowledge about Himself and thus bring glory to Himself. On the contrary, just as Jesus came to do the will of His Father, so the Holy Spirit will come to apply to sinners what Christ accomplished so that they might be saved.

Third, in verses 14 through 16, Jesus describes the manner in which the Spirit will relate to the Savior. This passage has already indicated that the Spirit will come as One sent from Christ to continue the work of the Savior. And in that capacity, the Spirit will serve the cause of Christ by applying the atonement to the fallen world. Now, in the last three verses of this passage, Jesus gives more specifics concerning how the Helper will relate to Christ.

The first thing that Jesus says is “He will glorify Me.” (v. 14) This statement alone clearly defines the role of the Spirit in relation to Christ. The Spirit will not come in order to draw attention to Himself. The Spirit will come in order to point sinners to Christ in whom they will find eternal life.

This is where we run into some controversy concerning how the Church has incorporated the doctrine of the Holy Spirit into our belief system. It seems perfectly clear that the Spirit should not be expected to promote Himself, yet this is precisely the point on which some ministries are based. They emphasize the person and work of the Holy Spirit to the point where His role as a servant of Christ is obscured. The result in many cases is that the Holy Spirit becomes the focus of ministry. This is clearly contrary to what Jesus teaches in this passage.

There are several negative consequences to be faced when a church or some other organization builds its ministry around the Holy Spirit rather than around or upon Christ. For example, those who count on such an organization for their spiritual instruction are going to be out of balance, so to speak. Christ and Christ alone is to be the foundation and focal point for Christian ministry. But an undue emphasis upon the Holy Spirit naturally eliminates that possibility. This kind of  faulty instruction can easily warp a person’s theological understanding.

Another regrettable consequence is that an unbiblical preoccupation with the work of the Spirit can easily lead to conflict with other bodies in which the work of the Spirit and the work of Christ are kept in proper balance with one another. This is what we have witnessed in the evangelical Church in the past century. Churches and even denominations have been torn apart because one group insisted that the Holy Spirit must be predominant in that organization’s confrontation with the world, while the other group insisted that such an approach is not supported by Scripture.

To be clear, let me say that I am not implying that churches should rarely mention the Holy Spirit. I am saying that the person work of the Holy Spirit should be kept in proper balance with other major doctrines. We should be careful to follow the pattern of Scripture itself when it comes to how we incorporate the ministry of the Spirit in our lives, both as congregations and as individuals.

The role of the Holy Spirit as a servant to Christ is further emphasized when Jesus adds: “for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has our Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (vv. 14, 15) As I said previously, this sounds much like the manner in which Jesus described His relationship to His Father who sent Him into the world. The Savior understood that He had been sent to do the will of the Father. And so the Holy Spirit will be sent to do the will of Christ by teaching us all that our Savior desires us to understand.

Jesus closes this section with a word of encouragement to His disciples. Soon, as He has been telling them, they will no longer see Him. But that is not the end of the Savior. After the passage of time, He adds, “you will see Me.” (v. 16) Christ is referring to the post-resurrection encounters that these disciples will have with their Savior before He ascends to heaven.

It is worth noting that Jesus made provision for the spiritual welfare of His redeemed so that they would not be without reliable spiritual guidance once He returned to heaven. This unique ministry of the Spirit will continue until He has fully and perfectly applied the atonement attained by our Savior.

Advertisements

The Gospel of Our Salvation

(Rom. 5:6-11)

Part 2

 Romans 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

In part 1 of this study, I noted that the gospel is a message concerning two primary issues: the spiritual condition of human beings and God’s response to that condition. In response to man’s need, God set in motion a plan of redemption by which the human race would be rescued and delivered from condemnation through the work of Jesus Christ. I noted that the entire Bible is about this unfolding decree of God whereby He appointed us to eternal life.

I called attention to the way in which Paul begins this section of his letter to the Romans. He describes a sinner’s condition at the point where the ministry of Christ becomes relevant. While we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. (v.6) Paul uses a Greek term (asthenes) that means” to be weak, sick, feeble, without strength.” Paul is speaking of our spiritual condition. He is teaching that the sinner is incapable of delivering himself from the judgment of God.

Paul uses another term to describe fallen man’s condition apart from Christ. In verse 8, he refers to us as “sinners.” This is the simplest and most prevalent term used to identify fallen man in his relationship to God. As we continued working through these verses, we found that Paul uses yet another phrase to explain fallen man’s condition. In v. 9, Paul refers to us as being “saved from the wrath of God through Him.” If we are saved from the wrath of God in Christ, that means that we existed under the wrath of God prior to our deliverance.

One other descriptive term of man in sin is found in verse 10: “[W]hile we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” I suggested that it is quite unsettling to think of ourselves as enemies of God. He made us and yet we are declared to be hostile toward Him. To be an enemy of God is to be doomed. It is to have no hope of deliverance.

Having worked through Paul’s description of man apart from Christ, or man in sin, we began looking at the second primary element of the gospel, which is God’s response to our need. While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (v. 6) The first component of God’s response to fallen man’s need is recorded in this verse. God responded to our need by taking our guilt from us and placing it on the back of His own Son. And then, bearing our sin Himself, Jesus Christ gave His life as a payment for our transgressions.

A second aspect of God’s response to our need is found in verse 8 where Paul says that the coming of Christ for us was a demonstration of God’s love toward us. We must always remember that God’s response to our need was grounded in His love for us. God loves us; therefore, He did not require us to answer for our rebellion against Him. His love revealed itself in His plan for our deliverance, which, as we know, involved Another taking our place.

We are now ready to examine the remainder of this passage as we continue looking at how God responded to man’s lost condition.

A third aspect of God’s response to our condition has to do with our standing before God. As I have said several times, outside of Christ, we are condemned before God because of our sin. But the death of Christ on our behalf changes our status before God because the Savior took upon Himself our guilt and paid the required penalty, which was His own life.

As result, God declares and we have been justified by Christ’s blood.(v. 9) To be justified means that we are pronounced guilt-free and no charge remains pending against us. All of our sin is pardoned because our Savior died for it. Before, we were condemned with no means of escape. But after Christ, we are free and God views us as those for whom His Son made atonement.

This is an incredibly encouraging truth. At one time, we faced only the judgment of God and our condemnation was completely just. That judgment, however, fell on our Substitute. This is a change that only God by His grace could bring about. We could never have altered our standing before a holy God and, therefore, had no hope whatsoever while looking only to ourselves.

But when we look to Christ, we find a loving Savior who was willing to receive what truly belonged to us. Being pure and without sin Himself, Jesus became sin for us. With our guilt credited to Him, Jesus allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross where, in due time, He surrendered His life in our place. Only a sacrifice of infinite worth could atone for our offense against infinitely holy God. Jesus was that infinitely worthy sacrifice because He was God in the flesh.

So far, then, we have seen three aspects or elements in God’s response to man’s need: He sent His Son to die for the ungodly, He manifested His love for us in Christ, and He declares us justified as a result of having the blood of His own Son shed in order to atone for our sin.

That brings us to a fourth aspect of God’s response to our condition. It is found in v. 10. Previously, I noted that in this verse, we are referred to as the “enemies” of God. That was one of the terms Paul used to describe our status outside of Christ. Now, notice what follows that statement: “we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” Note also that the same truth is stated in verse 11.

Reconciliation is one of the leading themes of the Bible. When this term is used in the context of redemption, it means that those who were enemies of God, those who were separated from Him due to sin, have been brought back into a peaceful and loving relationship with God. It was not God who needed to be reconciled to us, but we who needed to be reconciled to God. That has taken place, according to Paul, through the death of Christ.

We find ourselves in a relationship of peace instead of adversity. We have the assurance of everlasting life instead of assurance of inevitable judgment. And we relate to God as our heavenly Father instead of our offended Judge. In Christ, our eternal destinies have been settled.

This is the gospel. It is a message of profound implications for us as we live out our days in this world. If you have believed the gospel and have called upon Christ to be your Savior, then you may lead a life of contentment in a world of chaos.

To have peace with God is to have the peace that truly matters most. Knowing that God has received us as one of His redeemed, gives us joy and a steadfastness of heart. Our life is one of living in the saving love of God. Everything we experience is within the amazing love of God. This is life in the gospel.

The Gospel of Our Salvation

(Rom. 5:6-11)

Part 1

Romans 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

The gospel is a message concerning two primary issues: the spiritual condition of human beings and God’s response to that condition. One of the chief aims of Paul in the book of Romans is communicating the fact that all people, Jews and Gentiles, come into the world alienated from God. We all have inherited the corrupt nature of our father Adam.

In response to man’s need, God set in motion a plan of redemption by which the human race would be rescued and delivered from condemnation through the work of Jesus Christ. The entire Bible is about this unfolding decree of God whereby He appointed us to eternal life.

The passage above comes from a section where the apostle is explaining how Christ served as our Savior. Having established the fact that all people are in need of the Savior because all people are, as I said earlier, alienated from God, Paul takes up the matter of our common Redeemer. God has appointed only one way of salvation and that is through His Son.

Please notice how Paul begins this section of his letter to the Romans. He describes a sinner’s condition at the point where the ministry of Christ becomes relevant. While we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. (v.6) The first phrase of this verse speaks to the spiritual condition of man. We were “helpless.”

The context confirms that Paul is speaking of our status before God as we come into this world. He is addressing the results of man’s fall into sin. As a race, we were left “helpless.” Paul uses a Greek term (asthenes) that means” to be weak, sick, feeble, without strength.” Remember that Paul is not speaking of our physical condition, but of our spiritual condition. He is teaching that the sinner is incapable of delivering himself from the judgment of God. We do not have the ability to overcome the effects of man’s corruption due to the fall of Adam.

Adam was our representative and his conduct had immediate and critical consequences for all of those human beings who would descend from him. Right at the beginning of human history, therefore, mankind was confirmed in a spiritual state that left him estranged from God and liable only for God’s judgment.

Notice how Paul describes us, in our fallen state, as this passage continues. In verse 8, he refers to us as “sinners.” This is the simplest and most prevalent term used to identify fallen man in his relationship to God. While God is holy, man is unholy. God is unmarked by sin, but we are corrupt in every facet of our existence.

In the next verse, Paul refers to us as being “saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (v 9) If we are saved from the wrath of God in Christ, that means that we existed under the wrath of God prior to our deliverance. Apart from Christ, we are not in neutral territory, so to speak. From the point of Adam’s disobedience, every human being is conceived in a state of separation from God.

At no time during our lives do we escape the sentence of judgment that hangs over us. As Paul has already stated, the only way of escape is for us to have a Substitute to receive that judgment in our place. That Substitute, as already stated, is Jesus Christ.

The wrath of God does not disappear, nor is it simply set aside. The wrath of God must fall upon sin and all transgressions against a holy God must be atoned for. That is what happens for us in our Savior. In Christ, the necessary and unavoidable justice of God finds its fulfillment in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. And those represented by Christ, just like those represented by Adam, receive the benefits of what He attained.

One other descriptive term of man in sin is found in verse 10: “[W]hile we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” It is an unsettling thing to think of ourselves as enemies of God. He made us and yet we are declared to be hostile toward Him. We fall into a category of hopelessness because no enemy of God can ever overcome Him. God’s enemies are always defeated and destroyed because there is no wisdom or power in all the universe that can successfully contend with the wisdom and the power of God.

To be an enemy of God, therefore, is to be doomed. It is to have no hope of deliverance, no hope of escaping the inevitable wrath that a righteous God must inflict upon His enemies. It is not difficult to understand why Paul begins this passage by saying that we were “helpless.” There was nothing we could do to change our condition. Compounding this frightening truth is the fact that a fallen man has no desire to be reconciled to God, no desire to serve his Maker, and no desire to please God. (cf. Rom. 3:10-18)

Theologians use the term “depravity” to describe fallen man’s spiritual condition apart from Christ. This word means that there is no aspect of our nature that has gone untouched by sin. There is only one way of salvation and that is through Jesus Christ. By receiving His work as our own, our sins are paid for and we are granted eternal life in Him. In the Savior, God’s condemnation falls on Him as our Substitute.

With Christ as my personal Savior, God accepts His work on my behalf. As my Redeemer, Jesus was nailed to the cross where He suffered and died in my place. He paid the price necessary for me to be reconciled to God. When God came to this world in the flesh, He gave himself as a sacrifice of infinite worth. His death atoned for my sin.

Before I continue, let me emphasize that what has been said so far about man apart from Christ is true of everyone. Paul is not speaking about exceptionally wicked people only, he is speaking about all people. The helplessness Paul mentions applies to every human being, past, present, and future. Absolute helplessness is the state of all people—every man, woman, and child—outside of Christ.

If you will meditate on these disturbing truths about your spiritual condition, you will find great comfort and joy in the other aspect of the gospel that I mentioned earlier, namely, God’s response to our need. While we were still helpless, Paul writes, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Consider the implications of that opening verse. Christ died for us while we were in a state of estrangement from God. We did not love Him, nor did we have a desire to please Him, as I noted before. Christ did not die for us after we began to make an effort to reach God.

Christ did not come along and help us find our way back to our Creator. Jesus Christ came for us and delivered us while we hated Him and wanted nothing to do with the righteousness of God.

The word that is used to describe this act of selflessness on the part of our Savior is grace. Grace refers to God showing the unworthy sinner mercy even when that sinner was an enemy. Grace is seen in God’s willingness to receive the work of His Son in our place. Grace is in operation when the sinner receives the blessings of redemption without any demands made upon him.

Above all else, therefore, we must keep in mind that the gospel is a declaration of God’s grace toward us in Christ. We did not deserve deliverance from God’s judgment, nor could we ever achieve deliverance from God’s judgment on our own. It had to be done for us and it had to be done without requiring anything of us because we had nothing to give in exchange for the salvation of our souls.

While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (v. 6) God responded to our need by taking our guilt from us and placing it on the back of His own Son. And then, bearing our sin Himself, Jesus Christ, the blessed Lamb of God, gave His life as a payment for our transgressions. God in the flesh came to us in our misery. This was His response to our horrible dilemma. We had nothing to entice Him, nothing to give Him, yet He came from heaven to earth to save us.

A second aspect of God’s response to our need is found in verse 8 where Paul says that the coming of Christ for us was a demonstration of God’s love toward us. Talk about God’s plan of redemption and Christ’s work of atonement can become quite technical and, to a degree, academic. This is because we have to have absolute precision in our interpretation of these matters.

We must always, however, work within the context of God’s love. Christ’s ministry on our behalf was grounded in the love of God. The truths that we hold dear as believers, the joy that we experience in worship and fellowship with one another, the peace we have when contemplating our security in Christ—all these wonderful elements in our Christian experience are aspects of God’s love for us.

God loves us; therefore, He did not require us to answer for our rebellion against Him. His love revealed itself in His plan for our deliverance, which, as we know, involved Another taking our place. The love of God was not only declared to us, it was manifested, Paul writes, in the Person of Jesus Christ.

The love of God can be observed. It is not just a concept. God’s promises are followed by His actions. While walking the earth, Jesus referred to His mission many times. He taught His disciples that He was the promised Messiah who had come to deliver them from their spiritual bondage. And Jesus went to the cross to fulfill the things He had promised. I will say again, therefore, that the love of God can be observed.

As I conclude part one of this study, I want you to personalize the teaching of the apostle. I want you to think about the fact that you were helpless—helpless when it came to escaping that dreaded sentence of condemnation. You would still be under that judgment were it not for Christ. Without Him, your spiritual condition would never change.

You will never know the displeasure of God. You will never experience even a taste of his righteous judgment. You will only know the peace of God, the comfort of God, the patience of God, and the forgiveness of God.

If you have embraced Christ as Savior, then all of God’s displeasure with you was transferred to Him on the cross. And His righteous judgment was directed away from you and to His own Son. And what is true for you, is true for all those who have believed God’s promise of salvation in Christ. Together, we praise God for His saving love. Together, we worship Him each week and strive to live for His glory each day. We live a truly blessed life. We know God, we know His Son, and we know where we are going.

If you hear these words, but realize that they do not describe your life, you can change that today. God offers salvation to all who will receive it. It is a gift in the most magnificent sense of the term. You may call upon the Savior even now and ask Him to save you, to fill your heart with joy, and to grant you eternal life.