The Way of Life or How Can I Become a Christian?
The way of salvation is to be found in the Word of God and only there. This is why the Bible is the unique Book in the world; it sets forth the way from death to life and no other Book has this message. The Author is the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. However vague may be your ideas concerning Him, He is the only one who can show you the truth of the Book and enable you to receive the life to which the Book bears witness
What is this life? It is simply the life the Lord Jesus now has in heaven. When our Lord rose from the dead He came forth with a life that death could never touch. Since His resurrection He has lived in the body of His glory in endless life; death has no dominion over Him. Such a life is not naturally ours.Though no man has it by nature, it is certain that God desires that every one should have it by grace.
I want to shew you from the Scriptures how you may receive this life that Jesus the Man in Heaven now has. God does not intend that we should be uncertain as to whether or not we possess this life. "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life," (1 John v.13) What is the difference between the life of this body and the eternal life of Jesus?
The life we have is subject to death but His life cannot be touched by death. What does death mean to us? Let us find our answer in God's Word. In Romans 5 v.12 we read" Through one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all sinned." The fact of death that distinguishes the life of this body from the present life of Jesus is due then to another fact, the fact of sin. Concerning sin it is declared, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3 v.23) What is the glory of God? It is the perfect sinless man on His Throne in Heaven. That perfect man is Jesus. He never sinned and therefore never"came short." On the contrary God raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand. If He did not sin however, why did He die?
This question brings us to the heart of the gospel. The Scriptures very clearly supply the answer: "But God commendeth His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5 v.8) Hence the reason why He died was not because He had sinned but because we had sinned. He died because sin had brought death into the world. You may read the story of His death on the Cross in the gospels. It may be years since you read the account in Scripture. It may be you have read it so often that its appeal has been lost. Turn to it now, for example in Luke's gospel, ch. 22 and 23. then quietly enter into the truth of Scripture that His death on the Cross is intimately connected with the sin that is so strong in the human heart.
In Isaiah ch53 v.6 we read" All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way: and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Here is a very important verse.. It begins and ends with that word:"ALL." Let us thank God that if we are in the first "ALL" we are also in the second! Look at the verse in its three sentences. "All we like sheep have gone astray." Is that true of you? "We have turned every one to his own way." Can anyone deny the power of self-will in our hearts and lives? Self-will has brought unhappiness to others as well as to ourselves, and most of all has greatly grieved God.
If we believe this verse of Scripture is true for us,shall we not believe it as true of Him? Let us note carefully, however exactly what the Scripture declares. Iniquity has been laid on Him. How could we do it? For another, what right have we to place our penalties and pains on another? Far greater, more wonderful and profound is the truth to which Scripture testifies, that God is responsible for the action whereby our iniquity is laid upon Him. Our sin, then is a matter dealt with entirely by God and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. How God laid the burden on Jesus we do not know. That is a mystery beyond our understanding. It is a mystery like many others. In the same way I do not understand how God laid the iniquity of us all on Jesus, but I believe what God in Christ has done for me
My salvation has nothing whatever to do with anything I have done or may be trying to do. My salvation is in what Christ has done. "Who loved me and gave Himself for me." This is the very heart of the Gospel: what Jesus has done. So many endeavour to save themselves by trying to live the Christian life. But this is bound to end in failure and disappointment. Stop trying to make yourself a christian. Kneel down and thank your Heavenly Father for laying your sin upon Jesus and henceforth you name Jesus as your personal Saviour because He has saved you from the judgment and penalty of your sin.
When you see what God in Christ has done, what sin evidently means to God, what it means to Jesus, you will realise that sin must be hateful to God. Hence, because it is hateful to Him, ask Him to make it hateful to you. Our hearts are incapable by themselves of hating sin. Indeed we have to admit that sin greatly appeals to us. God, however will answer your prayer. He will constantly make us to see that subtle appealing sin against the background of Calvary and its appeal will be broken. We shall truly and sincerely repent and turn from our sin, thanking Jesus that He is our Saviour.
Let us now look at some interesting verses in the epistles to the Galatians, ch.4., three great truths each of special importance, are set forth in verses 4 to 6.
The first is that God sent forth His Son into the world to redeem us. That we have seen and believe, but when God redeemed us it was "that we might receive the adoption of sons." What is adoption? It is the public acceptance of a child as being in the family of a man and woman even though that child is not theirs by nature. What does it mean to us in relation to God? In this life rank and station are often determined by blood. The son of a king is a prince. The son of a peer has an appropriate rank. The children do not deternmine their rank it is settled for them by the blood of the one who gave them life. Even so when we are redeemed by the blood of God's only begotten Son we take the same relation to God as Jesus has. He is God's only begotten son by inherent Sonship from all eternity. We are the sons of God because He is God's Son and has redeemed us by His blood. Hence we have received the adoption of sons. When therefore by faith, I accept Jesus as my Saviour, God welcomes me into His family of the redeemed as a son who abides for ever. It is a relationship of grace that can never be broken.
This brings us to the third great step. "Because ye are sons," e.g. having been adopted into sonship through our Lord Jesus Christ, God confers a third blessing. He sends forth "the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying Abba Father." Into the heart of every redeemed person God sends the Holy Spirit, the Spirit which brings to us the life Jesus now has in heaven. The moment we trust the blood for our salvation, God names us His sons and there and then, sends the Spirit into our hearts. This is not an experience for us to feel but to know and accept by faith from God in His Word. It should be remembered that God sends the Spirit into our heart whether we are aware of it or not. Some Christians do not enter into the truth of this fact for years.
From the moment I know His presence within me I face temptation in a new way. Hitherto, as a true Christian, I may have been trying to live a Christian life, but now I see the true Christian life is the Holy Spirit living in and through me. Up to now I have struggled hard against temptation. Now I turn to my Heavenly Father and tell Him I am the same weak helpless person that ever I was, but I take up the attitude of resistance, trusting the Holy Spirit to carry me through to victory. I may be sure He will, for remember the promise of God in 1 John ch 4 v4. "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." Here then, I see something of what the Holy Spirit means to me. He is the Third Person of the Trinity maintaining in me the life that Jesus now has in heaven. He is to be my certain and reliable comforter for every need for victory over sin.
What is the issue between God and myself? It is sin. On my side my sin has made me a rebel against the will of God. On God's side it has meant the death of His Son. At the Cross where Jesus died I meet God with true repentance in my heart, thanking Him for Jesus my Saviour. In His infinite grace and mercy God forgives me and receives me as His child, bestowing upon me, in the person of the Holy Spirit, the life of the Beloved Son, even life eternal. I am saved eternally by the grace and mercy of God. I am saved not by anything I have done, but by what Jesus my Saviour has done. His life in heaven is mine! What a wonderful truth! And now reader are you able to say it is yours? Are you truly sorry for your sin, will you place your trust in the blood of Jesus? If you will then God will most surely give you the Holy Spirit to live in you and through you the life of His Beloved Son in heaven. This is salvation. Trust Him now. Thank Him for the blood He shed and the Spirit He gives and live moment by moment in His power.
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Acknowledging myself in God's sight to be a sinner, I do accept the revelation of God's Word that God has laid my sin upon Jesus and I accept Him with gratitude as my Saviour. I thank Him for making me His child, adopting me in Jesus His Beloved Son and I praise Him with all my heart because He has given me His Holy Spirit to live in me the life of Jesus my Saviour in heaven.
From the abridged tract "The Way of Life" by Theo M. Bamber
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