Who Is Driving?
Presenting The Christian Message
This is an important chapter. It addresses the most important question of all time. But first, let’s summarize what has been covered up to now.
In a Nutshell
First was the big picture. In the beginning God created people to live forever and enjoy a close personal relationship with Him. But because of sin, that relationship was spoiled; death and destruction entered the earth. However, God has a plan to restore the earth from the destruction brought about by sin. That plan is progressing to this day.
Next, we identified four aspects of the Christian message.
The Dilemma. The first two aspects, (1) the holiness of God and (2) the sinful condition of man, present all humanity with a dilemma. In short, the dilemma is that a holy God must be true to His law and judge all sin. Therefore, having no ability to change his own condition, sinful man is doomed to suffer the penalty of sin—eternal death.
The Answer to Man’s Dilemma. The next two aspects of the Christian message, (3) the redeeming work of Christ and (4) the coming kingdom, present the answer to man’s dilemma. God Himself became a man (Jesus Christ) and sacrificed His own life to save ours. Jesus paid the penalty of sin by dying on the cross. He then rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit as a promise, a kind of down payment on eternal life. Jesus also promised to return again to establish His kingdom on earth and fulfill the promise of eternal life to all who serve Him as Lord and King.
If God condemned all of us to eternal damnation, that would be called justice. But because of His great love, God provided a way for us to escape the just reward of our sin. That provision is called mercy.
It’s Not His Nickname
People everywhere refer to Jesus as “the Lord.” But “Lord” is not His nickname; it is who He is! Have you ever considered what the word “Lord” really means?” Generally, a lord is one who has authority over others—a master. Jesus is certainly Lord—but here is the big question: Is He your Lord?
On the day of judgment, those who serve Jesus as Lord will receive mercy. But there will be many on that day who will say something like, “Lord, we did all kinds of religious deeds in your name.” But Jesus will say to them, “Depart from me, you wicked person!” (See Matt 7:21–23)
Imagine your life to be like a car which you are driving. If you have not surrendered to Jesus as Lord, you are steering your life as you choose. You may even be religious enough to have Jesus in the car with you, but you are still the one in the driver’s seat. To have Jesus as Lord means you become the passenger and surrender the control and direction of your life to Him.
The Logic of Surrender
Believing in Jesus Christ is not simply an addition to our lives, like an insurance policy kept until the day it is needed. Believing in Jesus Christ is the surrender of our life to Him. After all, it only logical to to do so.
- First, He is God and that means He is infinitely more wise and more powerful than we are.
- Secondly, He loves us so much that He laid down His life for us.
Therefore, if someone that wise and powerful, who loves us that much, is the one guiding our lives, things will certainly turn our better us that when we try to guide our own lives. So, who is in the driver’s seat in your life? If it is not Jesus, then by all means, surrender to Him and ask Him to drive. All it takes is a step of faith.
Have you ever considered what true belief is? If you were told the roof of your house would fall any second, and you believed it, what would you do? You would get out of that house! Therefore, true belief is that which produces action. The Bible tells us that faith without works is dead and cannot save us (see James 2:14-17). Many who call themselves Christians do not have saving faith because their faith has no action. It is really quite practical. Only those who believe enough to act really believe. A decision to follow Jesus is demonstrated by the action described in these Scripture verses:
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. —Romans 10:9–10
Therefore, the most basic action to demonstrate saving faith is declaring out loud that Jesus is your Lord.
The Big Question
Will you trust Jesus to be the driver in your life? Will you surrender to Him as Lord? You can ask Jesus to take the driver’s seat in your life right now. Below is a sample prayer but, remember, it does no good to pray this, or any other prayer, without a surrendered heart and belief that takes action.
“Jesus, I believe You are God in the flesh, the Savior of the world. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I have been directing my own life, but now I surrender my life to You. I ask You to forgive me of my sin and be my Lord. Please change my heart. I choose to follow You. I want to be baptized, and I want to receive your Holy Spirit. I want to be part of Your plan.”
Who Will You Tell?
Now, it is time to take action. Who will you tell? Maybe a friend or relative. Send them a text, an email, or simply speak to someone near you and tell them what you have done. You will have many chances to tell others that you have decided to follow Jesus. Maybe they will notice a change in you and begin to ask questions.
Water baptism is another action that should be taken as soon as possible after declaring Jesus to be your Lord. Jesus said, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). If you have given your life to Jesus and have not yet been baptized, do not delay in learning about this step of faith and taking action. By being baptized, you are acting on your belief that Jesus died for you, was raised from the dead, and now lives in you. The Bible says, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16).
Baptism is like a burial of the old life and a resurrection to the new (see Rom 6:4). Like a funeral, water baptism can only be valid if the person is first dead—dead to sin through repentance. Do not assume that infant baptism or other religious ceremonies have served the same purpose. Infant baptism is often a meaningful expression of faith by parents dedicating their children to God. But what we are talking about here is different. (If you are unsure, take some time to explore this issue so that it is done in faith with clear understanding).
- What is the definition of “Lord”?
- Because of His great love, God provided a way for us to escape the just reward of our sin which is death. What is the provision called?
- Do you desire justice or mercy?
- What accompanies true belief?
- What is one of the first actions of a new believer?
- What is water baptism likened to?
Next: Strengthening Your Grip