How did we get here? (Creation)
Among the basic beliefs of Christianity is that God created all that there is. He created all things for his own purposes and he created Men and Women in his image or likeness. This means we were designed to live according to his ways and for his purposes. He was motived by his love to do this so humankind might live in loving relationship with him.
So what went wrong? (Corruption)
Everyone can look at their own lives and the whole creation and see that something has gone wrong. Things don’t work like they should and we often don’t live like we should. Christians refer to this “going wrong” with the word sin. Sin is a state of turning away from God in which we naturally live. It’s seen as running from God, rebelling against God, and disobeying God, and it ultimately leads to death. Sins are the actions we do that place ourselves and our own desires before who God is and what he desires for us. This is what has caused things to be messed up and not work how they are supposed to work in life. He created us to live according to his ways and when we go against this, we do it to our own peril. It has separated us from God and apart from God doing something about it, we would be separated from him forever.
What has God done about this? (Rescue)
Throughout history, God has been calling a People to himself. At the appointed time, God stepped into humanity as a Man. We know him as Jesus. Jesus is God and Man at the same time. This is what we celebrate at Christmas. Jesus lived faithfully before God when humanity never could and never did. Jesus obeyed perfectly and never sinned. He called people to believe in him and follow him. Yet, he was crucified because of his teaching and claim to be God and King. Just when all seemed lost, 3 days later Jesus rose from the dead. This is what we celebrate at Easter. The Resurrection is the demonstration that all he said and did was true and right. He is, in fact, God in the flesh. He was seen by his disciples and many others resurrected.
What does this mean for me? (Restoration)
The death that he did not deserve to die is then given to us as a payment for our sin. He offers us reconciliation and relationship with God because he died in our place. In the Resurrection of Jesus, God is beginning to set everything back to rights that has gone wrong in the created order. He died in our place so we can be raised from the dead like he was. This is the eternal life God offers us. He is restoring all things and the day will come when he will finish it. It began with Jesus’ resurrection and will end with his return to establish his Kingdom finally. But his restoration is taking place now in the lives of those who believe in Jesus known as the Church.
How do I become a Christian? (Response)
God desires to restore you to proper relationship with himself. This can only happen if you come to him through the work of Jesus, not your own works. Nobody is perfect, but God’s work in us will renew us. He will finally remake us the way we were intended to be when we are raised to eternal life. We become Christians (literally meaning “little Christs”) when we turn from our sinfulness and commit our lives to following his ways rather than our own. Jesus established the church as his people to grow in this new life together. No one is perfect, but we are growing together to become more like Jesus. Here’s how this begins:
1. Admit your sin has separated you from God.
2. Ask him to forgive you because of what Jesus has done and restore you to a right relationship with him.
3. Follow Jesus, seeking to love and obey him in all that you do from your heart.
4. Join with other Christians in the church to learn how to live in this new way of life Jesus makes possible for us.
There’s much more to this and it takes a lifetime to learn it. You may still have lots of questions, and that’s normal. Commit yourself to God, join in seeking him with others, and he will work his great power in your life.
If you are thinking of becoming a Christian or have recently become one, here are a few books you may find helpful:
Am I A Christian– NY Times interview between Nicholas Kristof and Timothy Keller (from 12/23/2016)
Simply Christian by N.T. Wright
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Confessions by Augustine
Why Jesus? by Ravi Zacharias
There are certainly many other books that could be recommended, but these are very good. They are not “easy reading” books as you will find. Some of them you may find at your local library.
Email us with any questions or comments, or if you want further recommendations.