THE GOOD NEWS OF GOD'S GRACE
There is one God, who created all that exists. He is YHWH and Elohim of the Hebrew Scriptures -- the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. From the beginning, God made humankind for constant loving fellowship with himself. However, the first human being, Adam (both a proper name and the Hebrew word for humankind), chose autonomy over creaturely dependence and expressed that choice by disobeying. This act of human rebellion brought sin, death and ruin into the world, and our willingness to sin has given them a hospitable welcome. Our sins stand between us and the Creator, and we cannot remove them by our own achievement, performance or effort.
However, the very God who made us has also intervened to restore us to intimate fellowship with himself. He has sent his only Son as a human being, to be our representative, substitute and proxy. Wearing our names, Jesus did for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He lived a human life in faithful loving fellowship with the Father. By his death on the cross, Jesus offered the Father that perfect human life as the gift he always wanted from humankind but had never before received. Jesus' gift-offering made atonement for sin, satisfied God entirely and created a new relationship between the Father and us as his beloved children, now forgiven and fully accepted. The work that set us right with God is finished -- forever sealed in heaven. We cannot add to it and we dare not turn from it to lean, even partially, on our own faulty record of performance.
The gospel says to us all: See yourself as God sees you, fully acceptable to him and accepted by him -- because of Jesus' accomplishments and atonement as your representative. Genuinely repent of your sins. Look to Jesus in faith -- throw yourself completely upon him -- trust him as your sinless Substitute and Savior! Respond to this salvation, already accomplished on the earth, in joyful obedience and life. Publicly declare yourself a follower of Jesus by receiving water baptism in his name. Constantly rely on him alone, for every blessing of salvation now, and for God's approval and welcome on the Last Day.
Scripture sums it up like this. "In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. . . . We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to 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. Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain" (2 Cor. 5:18-6:1 ESV). To learn more about knowing Jesus personally and enjoying his grace and love, living in grateful fellowship with him each day, click here.