No matter where you stand, whether you believe in the existence of God or not, whether you believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or any other gods, you will someday have to make a decision about what the Cross of Jesus Christ means to you. 1 Corinthians 1:17-19 says, “For Christ (the Messiah) sent me out not to baptize but [to evangelize by] preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel), and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain (fruitless, void of value, and of no effect).
For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God.
For it is written, I will baffle and render useless and destroy the learning of the learned and the philosophy of the philosophers and the cleverness of the clever and the discernment of the discerning; I will frustrate and nullify [them] and bring [them] to nothing.” Amplified Bible
You have a choice to make. This is a choice that will determine your remaining life on earth and also the life after this one, some call it the ‘after life’ and Christians call it ‘eternal life’. Choose well for this choice cannot be undone after you pass away from this world.
Life without God
There are many people who choose life without God because they don’t like ‘rules’, ‘obeying commandments’ and the like. They want a ‘free’ life and some would even say they want to be their own ‘god.’ Sure. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, do a quick search online and you will find that many of those who thought like that found success and everything they wanted and yet took their life or ended up in rehab after badly messing up their lives. Even the most successful person can find their life unravelling and difficult without finding meaning and purpose in their existence.
What is the meaning and purpose of life if I am only living for myself? I come into this world, live and die. What is this life about? When I am dead will fame and fortune mean anything to me?
Psalm 49:8-10 says, “For the ransom of a life is too costly, and [the price one can pay] can never suffice— So that he should live on forever and never see the pit (the grave) and corruption. For he sees that even wise men die; the [self-confident] fool and the stupid alike perish and leave their wealth to others.“
Are you really ‘free’?
What is the use of all the wealth a person has after they die? No one can take it with them. Yet most people spend their whole life hoarding it, cheating and deceiving others to make a fast buck and then blow it on senseless things. They want to be ‘free‘ yet they end up addicted and becoming a slave to sex, gaming, gambling, alcohol, drugs or other things.
The sad thing is they ‘choose’ their own prisons and live in them happily until they realize what their real condition is. Some die in it and pay the ultimate price by suffering the consequences of what they did while they lived in their ‘after life’. Some die everyday even though they are alive because ‘guilt’ eats away at their heart robbing of them of their peace of mind.
Every human has a conscience which makes them aware that they have done something wrong. Proverbs 28:17 says, “If a man willfully sheds the blood of a person [and keeps the guilt of murder upon his conscience], he is fleeing to the pit (the grave) and hastening to his own destruction; let no man stop him!”
Those who like to live ‘free’ from following norms of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ultimately pay a very high price. They find it difficult to live with themselves due to guilt as their own conscience will repeatedly tell them that they did wrong. Some people like drink so that they can forget, others risk their lives mindlessly living as if their life had no worth at all, squandering it away until disease or death meets them down the road.
This is why Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages which sin pays is death” but it doesn’t stop there, we are given an alternative to it too. It says further, “but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The alternative to an empty life
No one on this earth can claim to be perfect. No one can say they obeyed every single rule and have never done anything wrong. Romans 3:23 tells us that, “All have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.” Every single person does wrong. Even those who believe in God and want to obey His commands often end up doing wrong. So the fact is that everyone has some guilt to deal with.
This is where the cross comes in. Long before Jesus Christ was born, God said through the prophet Jeremiah, “And I will cleanse them from all the guilt and iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will forgive all their guilt and iniquities by which they have sinned and rebelled against Me.” Jeremiah 33: 8
Before the birth of Jesus, an angel of the Lord told Joseph, the bethrothed husband of Mary His mother, “She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus [the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means Savior], for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God].” Matthew 1:21 Amp
There was a reason why God sent Jesus on earth. His life had a purpose. There are more than 300 prophecies about birth of Jesus, His life and death which were all fulfilled. Some of these prophecies were written more than 800 years before His actual birth. John 3:16 shares the reason why God sent Jesus, “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.”
Luke 24:46-47 also says, “Thus it is written that the Christ (the Messiah) should suffer and on the third day rise from (among) the dead, And that repentance [with a view to and as the condition of] forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
Jesus came to pay the price
We know that when someone is arrested, someone known to them can pay bail for them to be released temporarily. Bail is defined as, “the temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial, sometimes on condition that a sum of money is lodged to guarantee their appearance in court.” An amount is paid on behalf of the accused person to purchase his or her temporary freedom till the court decides its verdict on the case.
Jesus came to pay the price so that we don’t suffer the consequences for our sins and wrongdoings. He came to pay the price for the rich and poor without any discrimination. The best part about this is that everyone can benefit from this without doing anything. What Jesus did on the cross by sacrificing His life in exchange for our freedom from sin and guilt is a free gift and it is permanent too!
“For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]” Ephesians 2:8-9
Everyone can benefit from the cross
Jesus didn’t lay any conditions on who can receive the benefit of freedom from sin and the consequences of sin and who cannot receive it. He could have said only the people of Israel can receive it, but He didn’t do anything like that. He didn’t exclude anyone from receiving this wonderful gift. Even the Pharisees who were enemies of Jesus said this about Him, “Teacher, we know that You are sincere and what You profess to be and that You teach the way of God truthfully, regardless of consequences and being afraid of no man; for You are impartial and do not regard either the person or the position of anyone.” Matthew 22:16
Anyone who accepts Jesus can receive this free gift which relieves them of the burden of guilt and the distresses of life. Wherever Jesus went, people got healed, received miracles and were delivered from impossible situations. He offers us all these things if we accept Him as our personal Savior. Acts 13:39 says, “And that through Him everyone who believes [who acknowledges Jesus as his Savior and devotes himself to Him] is absolved (cleared and freed) from every charge from which he could not be justified and freed by the Law of Moses and given right standing with God.”
When we handover all the wrongdoing we committed to Jesus with a repentant heart, we become free to live a new life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says this clearly, “Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!”
Some Pharisees once brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery before Jesus, they expected Him to stone her to death as the custom was at that time. He instead said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 Each of them left for they too had sinned. Jesus then said to the woman, “I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more.” John 8:11
Jesus forgave the sins of a person even when someone else prayed for them. A man who was paralyzed was brought into His meeting by his friends and since the room was very crowded, they lowered him from the roof. Mark 2:5 says, “When Jesus saw their faith [their confidence in God through Him], He said to the paralyzed man, Son, your sins are forgiven [you] and put away [that is, the penalty is remitted, the sense of guilt removed, and you are made upright and in right standing with God].”
You can be free!
Freedom is something everyone desires. A criminal who has a ‘bounty’ on his head is never free. No matter where he is, he knows that he is wanted and will be hunted down. He know that eventually he will be captured or die at the hands of law enforcement agents. In the same way, those who wilfully do wrong or evil cannot live in peace, their conscience knows that someday their deeds will catch up with them and their secrets may come out. They cannot even trust their own family members and closest friends as someone may give them away.
On the other hand those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior, have repented of their wrongdoing and surrendered all their misdeeds to Him. When Jesus died on the cross in Calvary He washed all our wrongdoings and sins on the cross, He did a one time payment for all the sins of those who will receive Him as Savior even in the present time. Once our guilt is washed away, we are set free from sin and we begin a brand new life. It is a wonderful feeling to be freed from the cage of a condemning conscience.
Once we are set free, we can live a better life without repeating the mistakes that messed us up in the first place. If we struggle with becoming better, Jesus is able to strengthen us too. What do we have to do to receive freedom through Jesus? Call on Him! Romans 10:13 says, “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved.” It doesn’t say ‘may be saved’ but says they ‘will be saved’ with certainty.
1 John 1: 9 says, “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].“
If you want to be set free from guilt and sickness, just ask Jesus to help you. You don’t need a formula prayer, you can say it to Him in your own words. Speak to Him in your heart, He can hear you and He will respond to you personally. Since He knows every person individually, the way He responds to you may be different from the way He responds to someone else. Do it and you will be amazed to see the difference He will make in your life!