Mankind’s salvation, redemption and atonement can only be through Jesus. So much more happened at the cross than just being forgiven for our sin. What Jesus did for us at Calvary is a miracle in itself. God out of mercy, love and grace, allowed this as the only way of saving and rescuing us from being totally separated from Him. Jesus made a way that no other man has ever done, nor could ever do. God did not send Jesus to the world to judge it, He sent Jesus into the world in order that it may be saved.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved — John 3:17
So what does it mean to work out your salvation?
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. – John 14:6
Our faith in Jesus, His death and His resurrection allow us to receive salvation by grace. Jesus not only made a way for us, He is the way. It is in Him that we receive the promise of eternal life and adoption into God’s family, being sons and daughters of God our Father. Our faith without works is empty. The power of God’s redemption requires us to act in obedience to what we hold in faith. We, therefore, need to act upon our faith, by obeying His word and following Jesus as our example to a Christian life.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross — Philippians 2:5-8
Jesus is the only way (the exclusivity of the cross)
We are by birth slaves of sin, destined to complete separation from God. This separation happened when Adam and Eve fell to the scheme of Satan, who caused all of mankind to fall. The penalty of sin is death (complete separation from life), and there is nothing we can do as mankind, to save ourselves.
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die — Genesis 2:17
We cannot be saved through works or the law. We cannot be saved by science or our human endeavours of goodness.
God’s final judgement of mankind is not out of malice, hatred or His desire to punish mankind. He is righteous and He is just. He is merciful and good. He has made a way that can free us from that day and it is His desire that all should be saved.
Rejecting Jesus is rooted in a love of evil, and when death or judgement comes, the consequence will be total separation from God for all time. This is the most terrifying thought. All life, all goodness, all love, all hope, all peace, all joy, all righteousness, all justice, all light is in Him. Separation from Him is unbearable to imagine.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord — Romans 6:23
For mankind to be saved, there needed to be a new creation; a new way; we needed to be born again. God’s plan from the beginning was Jesus. Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of justice to be a substitution for our sin and reunite us with God. He had to live a sinless life; He had to endure being tortured; He had to lay down His own life; He had to take on the curse; He had to take on our punishment for sin; He had to forgive us; He had to overcome Death and Hades; He had to rise again; and He had to ascend to heaven.
The exclusivity of the cross (Jesus is the only way), is due to the impossibility for any man to ever achieve what Jesus did for us. Jesus endured the cross with love, joy and humility. God has not condemned us, He has saved us. The only description for this is absolute GRACE!!!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16
Salvation is by grace through faith that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He died for us and was raised from the dead.
I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death — Revelation 1:18
Born again, but nowhere to go
Jesus is not only the path or way to follow, but He is also the model we are to measure our lives against. He forgives our sin and gives us eternal life, but He also calls us to follow Him. He calls us to become like Him. Reaching heaven is impossible without Christ, but to live a Christian life without submission to Christ is also impossible. It is not in our nature to be good, to love one another, to forgive each other or to bless our enemies. Jesus did not take us out of the world, instead, we are given a new spirit and left in the world to become disciples of Christ.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God — Romans 12:2
Being born again is literally the starting point of our walk with Jesus, not the end result. The process of renewing your mind by studying the word along with the Holy Spirit is a critical foundation. Seeking God, waiting on God, repentance, deliverance, learning to pray effectively, worship, serving, discipling others and allowing God to build His character in us, are all part of the amazing journey.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. – Philippians 2:12-13
This is the beautiful exchange. He died for me so that I can inherit eternal life. Now I must lay down my life for Him, so that He can live through me here on earth (His kingdom come), to reach the broken and lost. The laying down of flesh and surrendering fully to His will can be a painful process, but it is a glorious one. The riches of His glory, living in you, the truth, the peace, the joy, the love are beyond measure.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me — Galatians 2:20
So what’s the purpose?
The purpose, apart from being born again, having our sins forgiven and going to heaven one day, is to live out God’s plan and purpose here on earth as disciples of Christ, in a relationship with Him as sons and daughters. Jesus made it clear, love God, love one another, heal the sick, deliver the oppressed, raise the dead, proclaim the gospel, manifest the kingdom of God, look after the widow and orphan, feed the poor, be a light, pray, seek Him, worship, and destroy the works of darkness, and the list goes on. We are called to be His disciples on earth.
We are to continue the work that Jesus began. He showed us the way. We are not worthy of wearing His shoes, but we are called to walk in His footsteps.
Love God – Love People
In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen — Matthew 6:9–13