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Salvation- What does it mean?

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23, NKJV).

No one in the history of humanity is without sin. The Greek word for "sin" literally means to "miss the mark." It describes a bowman who drew back his string, released his arrow, but failed to hit the bull's-eye. Similarly, sin involves missing the target.

The verse we just looked at tells us: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Sin is falling short of God’s standard. To help you understand this concept, let us first challenge the idea that sin can be measured by degree. For instance, many of us see criminals as the “big bad” sinners, while those of us who tell little white lies are not that bad. It appears logical to believe that those in the county jail have not sinned as seriously as those in the state penitentiary. But sin looks different from God's perspective. In God’s word, the Bible, sin is not measured by degree. Either we fall short of God's glory, or we don't.

Since the entire sin question is based on the idea of falling short of God’s glory, let's explore what “glory” means. The word "glory" means to put something on display, to show it off. Sin is missing the mark, and the mark is to "put God on display" according to His rightful image. When we view the issue from this perspective, our understanding of sin begins to change. When we have ever done anything that did not reveal accurately who and what God is, anytime we fail to reflect the character of God, then we have sinned.

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned… (Romans 5:12, NKJV).

As you read this passage, you may be thinking, “If sin entered the world through one man (Adam), it isn’t fair to punish the rest of us.” Yet, death spread to all men because “all have sinned.” We are not punished simply because Adam sinned, but because we inherited Adam’s propensity to sin, and we have sinned ourselves. Have you ever noticed that you don’t need to teach your children how to sin? Can you imagine sitting down with your child and saying, “Here’s how to lie successfully,” or “Let me show you how to be selfish,”? Those things come naturally.

God is holy. As such, He cannot tolerate sin without responding to it. Sin demands a penalty. That penalty, according to Scripture, is death. That means physical death (where the soul is separated from the body) and spiritual death (where the soul is separated from God).

Yes, God is holy. Yes, through our sin we have separated ourselves from Him; however, in His merciful grace, He provided an answer to our problem.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, (Romans 5:8, NKJV).

We find here two very powerful words, “but God.” God can restore and revolutionize any situation. He is bigger and more powerful than any life challenge or any predicament that results from sin. We should recognize, “I’m a sinner condemned to eternal separation from God, but God...” Even while we were still sinners, God proved His love for us by sending Jesus Christ to die in our place.

The Bible tells us that this is precisely what happened on Calvary. God loves you so much that He stepped out of heaven in the person of Jesus Christ and took the penalty in your place on Calvary. Jesus hung on the cross, not for His own sin, but for sinners. Because Jesus Christ is without sin (not a sinner), His death paid the penalty. The innocent took the place of the guilty. How do we know that Jesus’ death on the cross really took care of the sin problem? Because three days later on Sunday morning, when Mary Magdalene came to Jesus’ tomb that morning, she couldn’t find Him. She saw someone and, thinking it was a gardener, asked Him where the Lord’s body had been taken. When the gardener turned and removed His cloak, Mary realized it was Jesus. Jesus was not held by death. Jesus is alive.

Because He rose from the tomb, Christians are alive in Him. If not for the resurrection, our faith would be empty and useless. As the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:14-19, “… if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty… we are of all men the most pitiable." But the fact is, Jesus is raised. How will you respond? What are you going to do with that?

"…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation, (Romans 10:9-10, NKJV).

If good works could save anyone, there would have been no point in Jesus’ death. But Jesus knew we couldn’t pay sin’s price. That’s why His sacrifice was vital. In order for His sacrifice to secure pardon, we must trust Him for salvation. Believing in Jesus means a great deal more than believing about Jesus. Knowing the facts about His life and death is not enough. Believing in Jesus demands that we trust in, cling to, and rely upon Him only- with total confidence- for salvation. 

It isn’t a “see how it goes” approach. That’s how many people view salvation. They’re reasonably sure that Jesus is who He said He is; however, they “hedge their bet” by putting some of their trust in their efforts at good behavior, their church traditions, or anything else they can do. They may even rest some of their hopes in other ‘gods,’ using the “the more the merrier’ approach. You must understand that if you depend on anything beyond Jesus for your salvation, then what you’re really saying is that Jesus Christ is not enough.

Salvation means you commit the entire weight of your existence to Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross. Your complete eternal destiny must rest upon Him. Christianity has nothing to do with your heritage, tradition, biology, nor the name of the church you attend. It has to do with whether you have placed absolute confidence in the work of Christ alone.

Are you ready to start your journey with Jesus? We've already been looking at some Bible verses (see above). These few verses are just the beginning of learning how to become a follower of Jesus Christ.

Have you ever confessed your sin to God and trusted in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation? If not, there’s no better time than right now. It all begins with a simple prayer. The exact wording isn’t important. What matters is your sincerity. Use your own words. Have a conversation with God through Jesus Christ, the Son. This is a private conversation. At GMCC, we can make the introduction, but the prayer of belief, repentance, and confession has to come from you.

If you have asked God for His forgiveness through Christ alone, we would love to welcome you into the family of God. Let us know about your decision. We stand ready to encourage you and help your spiritual growth. Visit us to learn more about the Bible and get involved with a caring Christian fellowship. Newborn Christians need this kind of care and attention. Do you still have questions? No question or concern is foolish or out of bounds. All any of us need is an open mind, a willingness to challenge and be challenged. Contact us through the link.'m-new/contact-us!.cfm

What can I expect at a GMCC service?

At our Sunday morning worship service, the first thing you will notice is how happy we are to see you! We are a very welcoming community of believers. We sing from the hymnal, and we sing modern worship songs as well. It's the heart that matters, not the style of music. We have responsive readings, public prayers, and calls to confession. We are a very casual group as far as dress, but you will probably see a few folks “dressed-up”. Come as you are and make yourself at home. All are welcome to attend our services! We follow an order of worship, and you can follow along from a paper copy available when you walk in, or you can download the bulletin from this site.

Pastor James preaches and teaches through the Bible-- verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book. Morning worship lasts about an hour to an hour and a half. A “coffee break” follows every Sunday morning service, and you're welcome to come downstairs and enjoy a snack. It will give you a chance to meet us in a relaxed atmosphere.

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    James Reed

    Lead Pastor Pastor James