The following post was written by our youngest son, Eric van Baarsel. Thanks, Eric for contributing to Gospel Apprentice!
The most important question you can ask yourself in life is, “Am I in Jesus?” So, what I want you to do right now is ask yourself, “Am I in Jesus, and if so, on what do I base my answer?” My biggest fear is if someone thinks they know Jesus, but in reality they don’t know Him. Jesus said, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you…’ ” (Matthew 7:22-23) Please don’t be one of the many who this will happen to on the day when you stand before Almighty God! So, my goal in this article is to give you a better understanding of who Jesus Christ is, who you are, and finally what He did for you.
First, we must try to get a glimpse of who Jesus is. Jesus is the Son of God and the world was created through Him (John 1:10). He is part of the Holy Trinity, God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus was sent into this world and was born from the virgin Mary, so we see Jesus is fully God and also fully man at the same time (Matthew 1:18). Jesus experienced many of the same things we do. He had and loved friends and family, felt hunger and pain, joy and happiness, shed tears and knew sadness. And even “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15b) Jesus never sinned once and was completely blameless.
In Revelation 4:8 it says, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was , and is, and is to come.” If you look closely you will see something interesting in that verse. First of all, today when we are trying to emphasize something in our language we will underline and/or bold the phrase or word that we are trying to emphasize. In Greek, which Revelation was written in, they would repeat the word they are trying to emphasize. So, the writer of Revelation was really trying to make a point here. So, you may wonder what does it exactly mean to be Holy? It means that He is completely spotless, absolutely perfect, and has never done anything that is wrong (I John 1:5). All it takes to be the opposite of holy is just a single sin. It is impossible to fully understand how holy Jesus is because of how sinful we are. Also, God is all-knowing (omniscient, Psalm 139:1-5), is present everywhere (omnipresent, Jeremiah 23:24), and all-powerful (omnipotent, Luke 1:37). Although I listed several attributes of God, there is still so much more to be said about God that even if I wrote twenty more pages on His attributes I wouldn’t even come close to how big He is.
Now that we have had a glimpse of who Jesus is, we now must look and see who man is. “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) So, clearly we see that God brought us into this world, and we were made in His image. He did this so that we may bring Him glory (I Corinthians 10:31). Before sin ever came into the world, man had a perfect relationship with God. but Adam and Eve sinned against God and brought suffering, wickedness, and death into the world. Sin caused a separation between God and man because God’s holiness does not fit with our wickedness. Because Adam and Eve were of the family of men and so are we, we inherited the sinful nature. Although we inherited Adam’s and Eve’s sinful nature, we are still accountable for our sin. Every one of us has sinned against God and deserve eternal punishment in hell for our actions. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) God absolutely hates sin, we see this in Hosea 9:15. “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds, I will drive them out of my house I will no longer love them; and all their leaders are rebellious.” The gravity of our sin is unfathomable. John Piper describes it like this: “The height of your sin is measured by the dignity of the one you are sinning against, and it is an infinite dignity.” So, we see that we are wicked creatures who are sinning against the absolutely Holy God. Because of this, we deserve death (Romans 6:23).
Now that we see how Holy God the Almighty is, and how sinful and evil we are and how we deserve eternal punishment for our transgressions, we must come to the understanding that we are facing a huge problem. In the Old Testament (before Jesus was sent into the world) men would have to find a spotless lamb and slaughter it to cover their sin. The blood of the animal temporarily (because this had to be done again and again and again) provided forgiveness for their sin (Leviticus 4:35). “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all sins are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22) So we see that the only way for our sins to be forgiven is by the shedding of blood This is where Jesus comes in. God sent Jesus as our spotless lamb, but instead of only taking care of our sin temporarily, Jesus’ sacrifice takes away all of our sins permanently (Hebrews 7:26-28, John 1:29)! Do you see how beautiful this is? We as men are evil and wicked and deserve eternal punishment and God sent His perfect and only Son to die for us! Jesus was crucified on the cross and God poured out His wrath that we deserve for our sin on His only Son so that we may be saved. After His death on the cross, Jesus then rose again, conquering death. This is what Jesus came for (Matthew 16:21). Only the blood of Jesus takes away every sin that we have done and He is the only way to be saved. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. Nobody comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) The blood of Jesus is a gift to us from God to wash away our sin.
You might be wondering how you can receive this awesome gift. Jesus said to believe in Him and you will be saved (John 3:16). This is by faith alone that you are justified (Romans 5:1). You can’t do anything to earn your salvation (good works), it is by God’s grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9). You must see your need for repentance, that you are wicked and need a Savior by trusting in Jesus alone to become saved. Luke 13:5 says, “I tell you, no! but unless you repent, you too will perish.” I pray with all my heart that you accept this truly beautiful and prefect gift by putting your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
You might be thinking that you already know this and you are saved which is great! But, there are a few ways that you can test yourself just to see if you are truly in Jesus (2 Peter 1:10). Matthew 7:16 says, “you will know them by their fruit.” So, do people see that you are producing fruit? If someone were to look at your life will they see that you have a passion for Jesus? Also, do you hate and fight your sin? In Psalm 97:10 it says, “Let those who love the Lord hate evil…” Also, what is Jesus to you? Do you believe in Him just so you won’t go to hell? Some people think Jesus is simply a ticket out of hell. Or, do you want Jesus just so that you will have good health or nice things? These are NOT the reasons why you should want Jesus The center of why you should want Him is because of your love for Him for what He has done for you! So, the ultimate question that I have left to ask you is ARE YOU IN JESUS?
In closing, I hope that this helped in any way possible and that you will think about your relationship with Christ. I pray that if you are not in Jesus that this will help give you an idea of what Jesus has really done for us!
Finally, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)