This does not mean that God has a body of flesh and bones. Image means the likeness of God's character, rationality, etc. Because we are made in the image of God, every person is worthy of respect and honor. Furthermore, this means that we did not evolve through random processes from a single celled organism into rational, emotion beings.
God created Adam and Eve and put them in the Garden of Eden and gave them the freedom to choose between right and wrong. They chose to sin. Sin is doing that which is contrary to the nature and will of God. For example, God cannot lie; therefore, lying is sin. The sin of disobeying God that Adam and Eve committed resulted in them being expelled from the Garden of Eden as well as suffering the effect of death.
As a result of their sin, their children and all of us inherited a sinful nature. In other words, our offspring are not perfect in nature -- we don't have to teach children to be selfish. They know it naturally. That which is sinful cannot produce that which is not sinful.
Christianity teaches that God is a Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, not three Gods), that Jesus Christ is second person of the Trinity, that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead physically, that all people are under the righteous judgment of God because all people have sinned against God. It teaches that Jesus is the only way be saved from the coming judgment of God and that salvation is received by faith in the work of Christ on the cross and not by anything that we can do to please God.
Where all other religions in the world teach that we must do some sort of good in cooperation with God in order to achieve the right to be in God's presence, Christianity is the only religion that teaches salvation by grace. This means that we are not made right before God by our efforts, sincerity, or works. Instead, we are made right before God by faith in what Christ did on the cross.
Christianity further teaches that once a person is "born again" (becomes saved) that the Holy Spirit lives in that person and the person is changed: "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come," (2 Cor. 5:17). This means that God actually lives in the person and the Christian then experiences a true and living relationship with God.
Therefore, "What is Christianity?" is best answered by saying that it is a relationship with the true and living God through the person of Jesus Christ by whom we are forgiven of our sins and escape the righteous judgment of God.
God leaves no doubt about our condition. While we set our standards of right and wrong by society's values, God’s standard is His own holiness. How do we measure up? "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). It is only fair that God demands holiness; that is how He first created mankind. We have rebelled against Him as a race and as individuals.
Our pathway away from God has brought its consequences. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23a). The Bible compares sin to a cruel slave master. There is no mercy in suffering, no freedom from bondage, no lasting joy, no hope for the future. Most frightening is the final consequence of sin. The Bible warns that without God’s salvation, death is the doorway to eternal punishment (Hebrews 9:27).
It is from this that we need to be saved. From our own sin. From its bondage. From its consequences. "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" (Hebrews 2:3).
Salvation is being saved from the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner.
A lot of people think that salvation means being saved from yourself or the devil. But that is not accurate. All who have sinned against God are under the judgment of God. This judgment is known as damnation where God condemns to eternal hell all those who have offended Him by breaking His Law.
This does not mean that God is unfair. It shows that God is holy. God must punish the sinner. But, He has provided a way of escape so that people will not face His righteous judgment. This means that God is both holy and loving. He must manifest each quality equally. So, being saved from the wrath of God is called salvation.
"Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,"
This is how salvation works: All of us have sinned against God and deserve judgment. But Jesus never sinned (1 Pet. 2:22). He lived the Law of God perfectly. In this He has a perfectly righteous standing before God. When the corrupt Jewish leaders forced Rome's hand into crucifying Jesus, God used this crucifixion as the means to place the sins of the world upon Jesus (1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:2). This is when Jesus became sin on our behalf. 2 Cor. 5:21 says,
"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
The crucifixion became the place where Jesus bore our sins in His body and suffered in our place. "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed," (Isaiah 53:5). Remember, it no sinner could please God perfectly and no sinner could offer a perfect sacrifice to God. Only God in flesh, Jesus, could do that.
So, since there is nothing we can do that is righteous before God (Isaiah 64:6 says our righteous deeds are filthy rags), then we cannot please an infinitely holy and righteous God by anything we do. But, Jesus who is perfectly righteous before God the Father, died in our place. What we could not do, He did.
If you want to escape the righteous judgment of God, then you need to trust in the sacrifice of God. You need to be made right before God, by God. This righteousness of Christ is given to you if you accept it, if you trust and belief in what Jesus did. This is why the Bible says that we are saved by grace through faith. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8).
When you trust in what Christ has done on the cross, and in no works of your own (since they aren't good enough anyway), then the righteousness of Christ is given to you -- even as your sins were "given" to Jesus. It’s like a trade. He gets your sin. You get His righteousness.
Once you have trusted in what Christ has done, then you possess eternal life and you will never face the judgment of God.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand," (John 10:27-28)
God is holy and God is love. His holiness demands that our sin be punished in full. His love provides a way for us to be saved from this punishment. How is this possible? Someone was willing to suffer what we deserve. Our substitute had to be a sinless man, able to suffer the full wrath of God against our sin. The only one able to take our place was God’s Son.
The greatest display of God’s love unfolded as His Son left heaven to become a man. Born of a virgin 2000 years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ lived with His creation. He was unable to sin, yet He showed compassion to sinners all around Him. Men hated Christ because His holiness exposed their sinfulness. They decided to remove Him by crucifying Him. He willingly allowed them to nail Him to a cross of wood outside Jerusalem. They suspended Him so they could sit and watch Him die. The climax of God’s plan of salvation had arrived as God covered the earth with darkness. The Bible tells us that for three hours He laid on His Son the full punishment we deserve to receive for our sin. The darkness was broken when Jesus Christ called out with a loud voice, "It is finished". He had accomplished the mighty work, God’s great plan of salvation.
After three days in death, Christ Jesus rose from the dead. This is evidence to all who saw Him and to all who read God’s word that Christ’s suffering completely satisfied His father. He was victorious over death itself – the ultimate consequence of our sin.
God’s plan of salvation brings us into the good of Christ’s suffering, death, and victory. "For when we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6). "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
How do you become a Christian? First of all, you don't become a Christian by joining a church, adopting a creed, or by believing in God. There are lots of false churches, false creeds, and even the devil believes in God. Becoming a Christian means you need to understand what the real issues are. Let's take a look.
Hopefully, you've already read the page on Jesus. But by way of review, Jesus is the most important figure in all of human history. He is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9), physically risen from the dead, Lord (Luke 24:34; John 2:19-21) and Savior (Acts 5:30-32). He came to die for sinners (Rom. 5:8) to deliver people from the righteous wrath of God upon us.
Are you a sinner?
I ask you, are you a sinner? Have you ever lied, stolen, lusted, coveted, or been angry with someone unjustly? If so, then you have broken the Law of God. God has said "You shall not steal; You shall not lie; You shall have no other gods before Me; You shall not murder, etc.," (Exodus 20). He has given the standard of righteousness and if you have broken any of God's commandments then you have fallen short of that standard and are under the inevitable judgment of God. When you die you will face Him and on the Day of Judgment He will punish all sinners.
If you do not like this teaching, then throw away your Bible and turn from Christ, for this is the message of God's word -- that Jesus came to die for sinners and to save them from the wrath to come. God is holy and righteous and He must deal with those who sin against Him.
Jesus is the One you need. He alone. Not your works (Rom. 3:10-12; Isaiah 64:6). Not your sincerity. Not your goodness. You have nothing to offer God except your sinfulness. It is only by the love and grace of God found in Jesus and His sacrifice that you can be delivered from the righteous wrath of God upon all who have broken His law. Jesus saves you from God.
God's wrath on the Day of Judgment is upon sinners
On the Day of Judgment God will judge all people for their sins against Him. He will judge all who have lied, stolen, cheated, lusted, dishonored their parents, etc. He will do this because He is holy and righteous. God must punish the sinner. God cannot and will not ignore the person who has broken His righteous law. The Law is a reflection of the character of God. Therefore, to break God's law is to offend God and deny the holiness of His character. He will be vindicated. He will judge.
The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). That means that your sins have caused a separation between you and God (Isaiah 59:2) and the result is death (Rom. 6:23) and wrath (Eph. 2:3). The only way to be saved from the wrath of God, is to be saved from it by faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 5:1). You must trust in what Jesus did on the cross to forgive you of your sins and not trust anything else, not even your own sincerity or works. It is Jesus and only Jesus who can turn away the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner.
The gospel is that Jesus died for sinners on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4). His death was a sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God (1 John 2:2). This is the only way to be saved.
Jesus is the one who died for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). He is the only way to the God the Father (John 14;6). He alone reveals God (Matt. 11:27). He has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). It is only through Him that you can be saved from God's wrath (Eph. 2:3). He can forgive you of your sin (Luke 5:20; Matt. 9:2). He can remove the guilt that is upon your soul. Jesus can set you free from the bondage of sin that blinds your eyes, weakens your soul, and brings you to despair. He can do this because He bore sin in His body on the cross (1 Peter. 2:24) that those who trust in Him would be saved.
If you are not a Christian, and want to be delivered from the righteous judgment of God upon you due to your sin against Him, then come to the One who died for the sins of the world. Come to the One who died for sinners (Matt. 11:28). Turn from your sins. Believe and trust in Jesus. Receive Jesus, who is God in flesh, who died and rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4) as your Lord and Savior. Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins. Receive Christ (John 1:12). Only He can wash you clean from your sins and only Jesus can deliver you from the righteous judgment of a holy and infinite God. Pray to Jesus. Seek Him. Ask Him to save you.
Here is a sample prayer you can offer to Jesus. It does not have to be exact, but you will get the idea.
Lord Jesus, I know that I have sinned against you. I know that I am not perfect and that I cannot please you through my own efforts. I know that I deserve to be judged according to my sins. And, I know that I have nothing to offer you.
Lord Jesus, I ask you to forgive me of my sins. Please cleanse me and make me right before you. I trust in what you have done on the cross. I do not rely on myself but only on you and I receive you as Lord of my life and as savior of my soul. Lord Jesus, save me. I look to you alone.
I would like to note, that the Jesus of Mormonism (the brother of the devil), the Jesus of the Jehovah's Witnesses (an angel made into a man), the Jesus of the New Age (a man in tune with the divine consciousness), etc., cannot save you from your sins. Faith is only as good as who you put it in. Only the Jesus of the Bible can do that. Jesus is God in flesh, the creator. God is a trinity and Jesus is the second person of the trinity.
If you have prayed and asked Jesus to deliver you from your sins and save you from God's wrath, then please email us at CARM and let us know.
Christianity is a religion based upon the teachings and miracles of Jesus. Jesus is the Christ. The word "Christ" means anointed one. Christ is not Jesus' last name. Jesus is the anointed one from God the Father who came to this world, fulfilled the Old Testament laws and prophecies, died on the cross, and rose from the dead physically. He performed many miracles, which were recorded in the Gospels by the eyewitnesses. He is divine in nature as well as human. Thus, He has two natures and is worthy of worship and prayer.
Christianity teaches that there is only one God in all existence, that God made the universe, the Earth, and created Adam and Eve. God created man in His image.
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Freedom Rains Ministries is a nonprofit organization existing to promote the ministry of reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ and to disciple His church to walk in Scriptural integrity and in the freedom that Christ purchased for His people when He was crucified, buried, and rose again.