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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The "Jesus Way" to Salvation

Jesus outlined the way to salvation when he explained to Nicodemus why his faith was not satisfactory. It was obvious Nicodemus had never experienced a spiritual birth, and Jesus seemed to find that astonishing, that a Jew who was a significant spiritual leader had never been born of the Spirit. You may be like Nicodemus or you may know someone like him, who is an earnest seeker after salvation and genuinely wants to know God in a personal way, but they are seeking it through their natural birth rather than a spiritual one. Let me explain what I see as the “Jesus way” to salvation.

Two Births are Required—
When Jesus told Nicodemus he needed to be re-born Nicodemus assumed he meant a second physical birth, and he found that to be beyond comprehension, so Jesus had to explain. “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’” (John 3:5) I emphasize the “and” because I believe that is how Jesus spoke this sentence. I am convinced “born of water” was Jesus’ way of defining physical birth. I don’t believe Jesus meant baptism, although some Christians interpret it this way and they could be right. I think Jesus was saying, that being human is not enough. You are a child of God by “creation” a relationship that begins at conception, if not before. But he wanted Nicodemus (and us) to understand we must also be born “spiritually” or of the Spirit. He makes this even more clear when he went on to say, in verse six, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

You must be born again….of the Spirit”
The Holy Spirit leads us to Jesus. Everyone who believes in Jesus (Verse 15) will have eternal life. This is not a general or half-hearted faith, but a confidence that Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection are all a part of God’s plan for our salvation through Christ. “The Son of Man must be lifted up.” (Verse 14) shows us the essential nature of Christ’s death for our salvation. Without it we could not have the personal relationship with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) that God makes possible through Christ. To be born of the Spirit is to allow the Holy Spirit of God to lead us into a personal relationship with the most high God. Verses 16-18 make it clear that until we experience that personal relationship with God, we exist in a state of condemnation through unbelief. Verse 21 shows us “whoever lives by the truth comes into the light” of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, our problem is that we sometimes let the “method” get in the way. Practically every different branch of the Christian church tends to have a different method to lead people into the light of Christ. Our methods also change with the times. Some use Christian Education, or catechism, some beginning almost from birth. Others use an altar of prayer or “mourner’s bench” and there are a multitude of other ways Christians use to profess our faith in Christ. The important thing, however, is the genuineness of faith and the relationship we have with God through faith.

The methods may vary and some may be better than others and each of us may prefer our method over others, but it is not the method, but the person that is most important. We must not place our faith in the method, but in the person—Jesus Christ. That’s why I call it the “Jesus Way” to salvation. And why I believe it is the only way there is.

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . .
and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

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