I'm a good person. Why would I need Jesus?
 
I'm a good person. Why would I need Jesus?

 

One of the things we find the most offensive about the message of Jesus is that it calls us all sinners – every one of us, from Hitler to humanitarian heroes. ‘Sin’ is this big, ugly, dirty word because we don’t like to be told we’re wrong, that we aren’t good enough or strong enough or something enough to save ourselves. 

You might say “I’m a good person. I don’t need Jesus to save me.” Well, it’s all a matter of whose standards you’re using. Yep, you probably are a decent person if you’re measuring against your own version of right and wrong, and there’s always someone in worse shape to compare yourself to, which feels good. But what if there’s a higher standard? And what if that standard is perfect? 

According to the Bible, God is absolute perfection and next to him we have no hope of measuring up. In fact, we don't even understand what perfection is. It even describes our attempts at being good as like filthy rags to God. We’ve been tainted by sin (the rejection of God and his way of life), and we can’t clean it off. It’s far deeper than skin deep, like a cancer riddled through our bodies. Nobody is any better or any worse than anybody else. The results might seem like it, like the difference between a white lie and murder, but to God the wrong was turning our backs on him. And we’ve all done that. 


The sickness

Sin is when we turn away from God. It's when we reject God’s way for our own way and demand our own version of right and wrong. 

We sin when we give the place of God to anything or anyone else (including ourselves). Giving our highest adoration and trust to any thing or person other than God is a rebellion against a perfect relationship of Creator and created – and it always ends badly. Because sin excludes us from relationship with God (from the source of life itself) the outcome is always death.

Way back near the start of the Bible God told us some things he didn't want us to do – things like don't lie, don't murder, don't steal, don't cheat on your spouse. He didn't want us to do these things because they hurt us and cut us off from him. The fact that nobody could stay innocent of all of them was meant to show us that human nature was corrupted by sin when the first people defied God, and the only way we can be good enough is by trusting in God – not by our own efforts. The rules show us how much we need God, the source of all that is good.

The symptoms

The devastating effect of sin is separation from God. It cuts us off from his presence and corrupts our relationship with God, other people, and the environment. 

Sin spills over into our relationships with other people. Instead of loving each other, we have become rivals who exploit and enslave. Since sin entered humanity, people have been using and abusing each other in ways God never wanted.

Another symptom of sin is the exploitation of the environment. Instead of looking after God’s creation, we have used it selfishly without care for the future.

It’s easy to see that we live in a broken and hurting world, and it’s also easy to see how a lot of it is caused by the stuff we do that is totally at odds with God’s character – that selfish, dishonest, greedy, abusive stuff. What’s harder to see or admit is that the big scale bad stuff we see out there in the world is actually inside us too. You might not have murdered anyone but you might have wished someone would hurt just a bit. The thought of the less than the best for the other person and the action have the same root – the heart sickness of sin that Jesus says we need to be saved from.

The cure

The only way to break free from sin's death grip is to turn to Jesus, the only one who is without sin yet who chose to take the full consequences of it in our place. We need to admit that our ways have been wrong, and we want God’s right ways instead. That’s called to repenting: turning back to God and away from our sin. If we do that, God says that we will be saved from the condemnation of our sin. 

We are saved from sin so that we can be free from sin. As we continue to belong to Jesus and trust in him, he will continue to set us free from sin – but we have to want to resist it, or we’ll keep choosing to live in captivity. Sometimes we get tricked into thinking that our own ways will offer us fulfilment, when actually every pleasure apart from God is empty. 

Claud C. Kluge says, “I have been saved from the penalty of sin. I am being saved from the power of sin. I will be saved from the presence of sin.” We won’t be completely free from the presence of sin in this life. But we are promised that one day what is corrupt and broken will be removed and only what is good will take its place. 

If we put our trust in Jesus, we can be happy that sin has lost the ultimate battle for us, and that as we learn to follow Jesus he will lead us into freedom from sin, starting now.

In a nutshell, sin = defiance of God = broken people = a broken world. The only antidote for our soul-deep brokeness is to turn back to God and trust him to heal us. And the only way to get back to God is through Jesus. The good news is that he’s asking you to do exactly that, right now.

 
Tessa Baty
Are all religions the same?
 
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 If something really is true, then anything that contradicts that must be false. All of the world religions can’t be completely right, since they say opposing things about history, morality, salvation and what God is like.

Jesus clearly set himself apart from all other religions when he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) If, as Jesus says, there is only one way to God, it can’t also be true that there are many ways to God. 

To say that all religions are the same, just alternative perspectives or pathways to the same reality, is a disrespectful distortion of those faiths. On the surface it sounds kind of nice and all-inclusive, but it’s actually pretty offensive to lump everyone’s beliefs into one box and say that they’re just different labels for the same thing. Have you found evidence to support the belief that all religions are true, or is accepting them all really a convenient way to dismiss them all?

 

 
Tessa Baty
Is religion a crutch for the weak?
 
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It's a popular one-liner to throw at Christianity, bandied about to shut down the argument before it begins: “Religion is just a crutch for the weak.”

The unspoken implication is, “I'm not weak, so I don't need religion – and don't you dare call me weak by suggesting I do!” We hate anyone telling us that we're not good enough or strong enough or smart enough by ourselves. 

It is horrifyingly true that Jesus demands we admit our weakness and failures if we want to allow him to save us from them.

We have no hope of earning eternal life by ourselves. We can’t hold onto this life any longer than our time. We can’t maintain enough control over our lives to avoid hurting other people or being hurt ourselves. We’ve seen it in our personal lives, and we’ve seen it in history. Despite the ‘progress’ of science and philosophy and human achievements, our world is just as rife as ever with sickness, poverty, injustice, pollution, decay and death. 

To follow Jesus, we have to be willing to say to him, “I’m weak, broken, wrong. I can’t make this work. I need you.” It’s an insurmountable hurdle for many people: we’re too proud to admit that we’re not strong enough, not right enough, not God enough. But it’s what God demands, because he can’t transform us into what we’re made to be when we refuse to accept that our Creator’s ways are better than ours.

And strangely, those who (bravely, in my perspective) surrender their perceived self-salvation believe that they are not shackled by this 'crutch' they rely on, but instead are liberated by it. Christians believe that to lean on God is to embrace the way we were created to be – making life fuller, more beautiful, more free and more right than we could achieve with our own huffing and puffing.

What if the Bible is right and we're all weak? What if we're all crippled? What if we all need God? If that's true, would it be strength or stupidity to refuse the 'crutch' that Jesus offers you? 

Would you rather be a cripple with pride intact or rely on God to make you strong?

 

 
Tessa Baty
What about Christians?
 
Christians

 

Maybe the message of Jesus sounds okay to you, but you’re put off by the people who call themselves his followers. We get it, we really do. Maybe you relate to one or both of these objections to Christians. 

"Christians have done some really bad stuff." 

It’s heartbreaking when we hear stories of people in church leadership who have taken advantage of other people, or Christians doing stuff that is dishonest or unethical. Not only do we hate it when people don’t practice what they preach (and therefore expect of others), we find it sickening when trust is abused. 

But it’s not just public news scandals. We all make mistakes – and that means all Christians. Christians don’t claim to be better than anyone else. In fact, Christians of all people should be most in touch with how unqualified they are to earn God's acceptance – knowing that the love God has for us is his extravagant gift, not our wages.

Of course, we expect to see Christians acting like Christ. Unfortunately, just because somebody is representing God doesn’t mean they always do what God wants. We’re all given the dangerous freedom to reject God’s ways and follow our own (called sin). When we put our trust in Jesus, the eternal penalty of our sin is dissolved. However, until we die, we live in a corrupted world that keeps offering the temptation to act selfishly.

And Christians do make mistakes. It’s shocking, hurtful, wrong and especially disappointing when somebody violates their own moral standards, when they don’t practice what they preach. But even though people aren’t perfect, God is.  

Jesus preached and displayed a message of radical love. Most Christians fall short of anything like it. In fact, some Christians are known as judgemental and hateful. Does that change God's character? No. It just means that we're not there yet. Our failures are not God's failures. They show us how entirely dependent we are on him.

You wouldn't cut off your parents because you don't like your sister, so why would you write off God because you're hurt by his children? Don’t let your disappointment with other people rob you of relationship with the only one who won’t hurt, fail or abandon you.

"Being a Christian makes you weird."

Well… sometimes. But it would probably be fairer to say that being a human makes you weird. Christians are people, and people do weird stuff. Most of what contemporary Christians do today – in church or out of it – is not specifically what Jesus told his followers to do. They're just applying their interpretation of Jesus’ message to their time and place. And of course that’s going to get a little bit strange sometimes. 

When you think about it, most things that people do are weird. If an alien dropped in from another planet and watched us, we’d look like maniacs. We spend millions of dollars to fight over a ball on a rectangle of grass with crowds cheering from the sidelines, when actually we have squillions of balls in the world – we could all just have one each without the fight. Or how about our habit of ignoring the people we’re surrounded by so we can socialise on our phones with people we’re not with? Our perception of weirdness is all to do with how foreign the activity is to us.

And yep, some of the things that some Christians do are pretty foreign. They might dress differently, use interesting language, be oddly touchy-feely, spend their time on things you don’t understand, or have strange taste in music. But then again, there are other Christians who might not be so different from you. They might be interested in the same things as you. They might do things with other Christians that you'd enjoy. How do you know without checking it out for yourself? There are thousands of different churches out there and millions of Christians trying to follow Jesus in their own way. And there is a place for you among them.

Do you dare have a look for yourself, rather than relying on generalisations or caricatures from the media? Anyway, how scary can it really be? There are no secret handshakes, and church is not weekly karaoke. It’s a group of people – no more or less weird than you – who believe they have found the source of life. And that liberating truth is worth celebrating, protecting and sharing.

Maybe Christians aren’t especially weird, or maybe they are. But what does it matter? As Jesus said, “do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” How valuable is being normal or cool if Jesus’ message is actually true and he is the only way to find true, free, full life? Would you miss out on the only relationship that can fulfil you and save you, just to avoid whatever it is you’re afraid of?


Whether you’re put off God because of a Christian you’ve heard about or known, that’s not really the issue. Your relationship with God is between you and him, not anyone else.

We can’t judge God based on people, just like we can’t know somebody based on a drawing of them. Even the most beautiful artwork can only describe a person in a limited way – or it might totally misrepresent them! Like a drawing, people can only reflect God in a limited way, and we often get it wrong. Maybe it’s time to stop being the critic and meet the subject yourself.

 

 

 
Tessa Baty
Who is Jesus?
 
Who is Jesus?

 

Jesus is the Son of God. He also is God. He existed before time began. With God the Father and the Holy Spirit, he created the universe and everything in it.  

Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Jewish people, the one prophets knew would come centuries before his arrival. He broke down the barrier between God and people when he came to earth as a man. The invisible God took visible shape in Jesus so that you and me could know God.

His mother was a virgin when she gave birth to him, showing us that this child was not made by us, but by God. Even though he grew up with the same struggles we have, he lived a perfect life. 

For three years, Jesus travelled among the Jewish people, showing them the way to God. He healed the sick, raised the dead, turfed out demons and did great miracles. He stood up for the underdogs, the abused and the disadvantaged. He demonstrated what the kingdom of God looks like: freedom from sickness, death, evil and poverty, and instead God will give all good things to all of his people.  

He announced the good news that God’s kingdom has arrived – that people could turn away from their failure and brokenness and live under a new king. Instead of being ruled by oppressive sin and its effects, they could be ruled by God, who is always good. 

And then came the twist his followers didn’t see coming: Jesus surrendered his own life to make it possible for people to follow this new king. He was willingly crucified on a Roman cross, dying a slow and brutal death. It was the punishment of rebels and outlaws, the punishment we should have had but he took instead. In one perfect, infinite sacrifice of the perfect, infinite God as a human, Jesus paid for all of our sins so that we don’t have to. 

But even more shocking was Jesus’ return to life three days later. In defeating death, Jesus showed that he is the new king – that he is God. Even though our bodies will pass away like this world, his resurrection shows us that he will give us new bodies and new life in his renewed creation. 

After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and over 500 others. People talked with him, touched him, and ate with him. He had the same body that people knew, still carrying the wounds of crucifixion. But he was also different. He could miraculously appear in locked rooms, and ascended to heaven in front of his followers. 

He now lives in heaven, apart from us for now so that his Holy Spirit can work in us. But he will return and reign as king not just in our spiritual lives but in the physical world that will be restored.

Before he left, he told his followers to share what he had taught and showed them with the world. And that was the beginning of Christianity, a following of Jesus that has spanned more than 2000 years. It’s the reason you’re reading this right now.

And Jesus wants you to be a part of this good news. God came to earth and changed everything 2000 years ago, and today he stands at the door of your heart and knocks. Will you let Jesus in?

 

 
Tessa Baty
How can God allow such pain in the world?
 
How can God allow such pain in the world?

 

The problem of pain is a wide and mysterious topic that we don’t have all of the answers to. It’s hard to understand from our perspective how God can be both infinitely powerful and loving, yet allow the suffering we see... but we do know that things look very different from his infinite viewpoint.

God does not want us to suffer, and he is not distant or passive in our suffering. He left his throne in heaven to come to earth and suffer with us and for us. He walked the earth, sharing our tears and weeping in our pain (look in the Bible at John 11:32–35, Luke 19:41–44). He reduced himself to the level of his creation and endured the worst of human oppression in order to set all people free – including the ones who hated and rejected him (which is all of us). He took on himself our physical and emotional pain so that he could destroy its power (Isaiah 53:4–6). He sends his Holy Spirit, called the Comforter, to live inside us (John 14:26). 

God is not far away. He is very, very near. And he cares. 

Why is there suffering?

We have been given real freedom to choose in our lives. We are free to choose God and his ways that lead to life, wholeness, wonder and joy. Or we can refuse God’s generosity and choose our own ways that will end in hurting ourselves and others. God doesn’t force us to obey him: he wants us to choose to love him. Pain is possible because God refuses to keep his children in moral straightjackets – he wants us to be free. Suffering is a result of humanity's misuse of the dangerous freedom we've been given.

At its simplest, sin (the turning away from God and his good ways) causes suffering. It’s a cause and effect that we can see in our lives. But we aren’t the only players in this game: we live with the choices of seven billion living humans and more than five thousand years of human choice. We carry the consequences of many before us who have chosen their own way instead of God’s, starting with the first humans. This doesn't mean that people who suffer more have sinned more – we all pay the price for a world separated from God's perfect design.

Suffering and death are not part of God’s design. This world has been corrupted; it was not created this way. We’ve inherited a broken world through the sin of Adam and Eve. Death entered the world through their sin, a curse that every human has been born into. People became alienated from God, out of kilter with each other and at odds with creation. We’ve excluded ourselves from the abundant life God made us for.

Is there hope beyond suffering?

The good news is that death and suffering are not part of God’s future. Jesus came and died to release us from the power of sin, in both our lives on earth as well as a future completely removed from sin and suffering. 

Everybody who accepts God’s outrageously generous offer can have abundant eternal life with him. Suffering and corruption will be banished from God’s kingdom. Sin will have no home in God’s restored world, and neither will anybody who chooses to cling to sin, because God won’t compromise the beautiful future he has for us. God’s kingdom will not be replanted with the seeds of suffering. 

So we are left with a choice, like we always have been: we can choose God, and trust him through the suffering in this broken world to bring us into a future more glorious than we can imagine. Or we can choose our own ways, and live with the consequences in this world and beyond.

The God who was broken for you longs for you to choose his life. What will you choose?   


Some of the ideas in this section come from the episode ‘Suffering’ in the Towards Belief series by Olive Tree Media. To watch the related video, go to: https://ssl.olivetreemedia.com.au/products/towards-belief-episode-1-suffering/

 
Tessa Baty
Does science prove that God doesn't exist?
 
Science and God

 

Science has not proven or disproven the existence of a creator God or offered a solution in which the natural world is completely self-creating. Therefore, in our unlikely universe the possibility of a creator is wide open.

For many people, including great scientists and thinkers, the idea of an intelligent creator makes much more sense than an accidental process, given the ever-increasing complexity we discover in our world.  

To believe either in a world created by God or a world created by chance demands faith. One of those options invites you to personally discover the source of the universe through relationship. What’s holding you back from exploring that option? 


Science as we know it emerged from thinkers of Christian faith who believed that a deeper knowledge of how the world worked would help them greater appreciate the God who made it – it was their faith that motivated their scientific enquiry. There are many Christian scientists today who still feel this way. Instead of undermining their belief as the secular world assumes, science confirms their faith. 

Science itself is neutral: it’s a method of enquiry. It’s the conclusions people draw from the discoveries of science that are not philosophically or theologically neutral. So the argument is not science versus religion, but between those who have a theistic worldview (believing a higher being created and sustains the world), and those who have a naturalist worldview (believing that this universe is all that exists and that it is self-creating). 

Science is simply the method that people with both theistic and naturalist worldviews can use to explore their ideas – and it has not proven either one. To believe either worldview requires faith, because both are absurd to human logic.

Science is not in opposition to religion, because they doing different things. Science seeks to answer the ‘how’ questions and religion seeks to answer the ‘why’ questions. The point of the Bible isn’t to be a science textbook (although there are things that can be learned about the natural world through the Bible), but to tell us who we are, who God is, why we’re here and where we’re going. 

Because of this, the Bible is poetic, mystical and vague about the mechanics of how our universe came to exist. It is resoundingly clear that everything was created by God – through him, for him and sustained by him. It is not surprising that people can use science to paint a better picture of this mind-blowing miracle. 

There is fierce debate between people of different beliefs about how we got here, making various points through science and logic. It’s a huge argument covering many topics and is too big to go into here. Why don’t you see where your own genuine explorations take you?

 
Tessa Baty
How can I have a relationship with God?
 
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As followers of Jesus, we have been brought near to God. He is no longer unreachable, but close. He wants to have an intimate relationship with us. 

Our relationship with God grows like human relationships do, through quality time, true communication and honour. You will reap what you sow. If you invest your time into your relationship with God, you will see God’s transforming work in your life take shape. The more of yourself you give to him, the more of your life he will transform. 

Reading the Bible

We can hear God speak through reading the Bible, which is the word of God given to us to show us who God is, who we are in him, and how to live in his life. It’s God message to us delivered by historians, prophets, poets, preachers and followers of Jesus. It’s the ultimate standard on what we know about God. Everything else we hear from people or ourselves must match up to what God says in the Bible, because we know God doesn’t lie. 

It’s a big book that can be overwhelming to begin, but they are the words that keep us alive, like the staple of our diet in relationship with God. So ask him to fill you with hunger for his message. Even though it was written thousands of years ago, this book has a lot to say to you personally about living your life. A great place to get started is in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Prayer

We can get close to God through prayer, which is simply talking with him. Prayer is bringing whatever is in your heart to God: your needs, fears, ideas, desires – everything! It can be spoken out loud, an inner thought dialogue, written like letters, drawn, sang, danced, or communicated in any way that is a sincere sharing of yourself with God.

Like any good conversation, you need to listen for what he has to say. Make time to be quiet and hear him speak. Carve out time in your day to share and listen in the presence of God, and you won’t stay the same.

Worship

Another important part of relating to God is worship. Worship is giving God the centre of your attention and adoration. It is expressing to him, in any way you want, how much you love him and are thankful for who he is and what he’s done. The most obvious and common form of worship is through songs, especially in a church gathering. Music is a powerful way to join together and honour our Creator.

But music isn’t the only way we can express our adoration of God. Whatever you do as an offering to him is worship. From your work to your wonder in creation, from painting to performing, from caring to creating: God has wired us to enjoy worshipping him with the special gifts he’s given us. So whatever you want to give to God, give it with joy.

Another important part of relating to God is worship. Worship is giving God the centre of your attention and adoration. It is expressing to him, in any way you want, how much you love him and are thankful for who he is and what he’s done. The most obvious and common form of worship is through songs, especially in a church gathering. Music is a powerful way to join together and honour our Creator.

But music isn’t the only way we can express our adoration of God. Whatever you do as an offering to him is worship. From your work to your wonder in creation, from painting to performing, from caring to creating: God has wired us to enjoy worshipping him with the special gifts he’s given us. So whatever you want to give to God, give it with joy.

 
Tessa Baty
God, Jesus, Holy Spirit – what?!
 
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Christians talk about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – but then claim that there's only one God. How does it work?

Within that God is a community of three distinct persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. These persons of God are not parts of God: they are all completely God, yet they are all completely one. We call this relationship of God with himself the trinity.

The trinity is a mysterious concept to us. Living within the dimensions of the physical world, our minds can’t stretch to understand how something can be singular and multiple at the same time. The best we can do is find parallels from the world we know. For example, some people suggest that the trinity of God is like H20, which has three states: water, ice and steam. That’s a helpful picture in showing something that can be the same but different, although it falls flat in describing how those distinct personalities have a dynamic and personal relationship. 

Even though we don’t understand exactly how the trinity works, we can see it at work in the Bible. One of those times was at the baptism of Jesus, when the Father spoke his approval of Jesus from heaven, and the Holy Spirit came down to rest on Jesus. 

At the end of his time on earth, Jesus told the people with him, ‘Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.’ When followers are baptised, they show they belong to the family of God: that they have entered a relationship with God as the Father, the Son and the Spirit. 

The relationship of the three members of the trinity shows the character of God as well as giving us a pattern for how we should relate to God and others. God is love, and he didn’t need us so that he could live in love: he already existed in a self-contained community of love. We were invited to join this relationship because of his abundant, self-giving generosity. 

In the Bible, we see each of the persons of God honouring, serving and submitting to the others. The wonder is not just that we have this perfect model of love to follow, but also that we are invited to join this family. When we give ourselves to Jesus, we become sons and daughters of God by adoption – brothers and sisters of Jesus! And when the Holy Spirit lives in us, we have full access to God.

The Father

God the Father is sometimes seen as the personal but separate being that the people of the Old Testament knew as God. This is the being who is perfect, supreme, infinite and completely above and beyond the limited understanding of the human heart and mind. This is the God who is incomprehensible to us, yet who seeks a relationship with us.

The Son

In order to forge that relationship, God sent himself as Jesus, the human expression of God, the visible form of the invisible God. Jesus is all of God represented in a man. He is completely perfect, supreme and infinite, but he has made himself visible to human perception. In Jesus, God provided the way to reconcile people to himself. 

The Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the person that relates to us from inside us when we enter a relationship with God. He helps to know God, because we have God inside us to help us talk with God. He is the one that helps us understand and experience the Father and the Son. Jesus sent him to us when he left earth, so that the Spirit would help, empower, teach, reveal, comfort, and strengthen us. He gives us everything we need to live God’s life and relate to God.

 

 
Tessa Baty
How can Jesus change my life?
 
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The decision to follow Jesus isn’t about ticking a box to ‘get into heaven’, but giving him all of your life, from this point on. It’s an act of trust, knowing that his version of life is better than ours. Jesus hasn’t saved us to live half-lives: he came to give us abundant life, starting now! 

In his new life, we are given the strength and ability to live God’s way. We are able to give him all of our anxieties and fears and live in full confidence of his love and good plans for us. We are given assurance that death will be a great beginning, not an end, and that we will enjoy him forever. We can benefit from the spiritual gifts and blessings that he showers upon us. We can be secure in his love that has made us his sons and daughters, and bask in his delight to call us his chosen and beloved. 

Below are some of the characteristics of our new life in Jesus.

Relationship

When we accept Jesus, we are given access to a personal relationship with God. God is no longer unreachable: he is near (Ephesians 2:13). We are invited into a relationship with him more intimate, more beautiful, more loving than any other human relationship could ever be. 

Our relationship with God grows as we invest into it. The best ways to do this are through conversation with him (called prayer), feeding on his words (through reading the Bible), and expressing our love (called worship).

Belonging

Participating in a community of believers is a vital part of following Jesus, something we’ve been told not to give up on (Hebrews 10:25).

Local churches are the structure that God has given us so that we can learn about him, worship him and stay strong in faith together. Church families give us opportunities to support, inspire, encourage and learn from each other, and we can experience God in a special way when we are together.

Character

Jesus modelled the kind of life that God wants us to live (1 John 2:3–6). He lived without sin, perfectly pleasing to God. And he redefined our identity by telling us to be like him (1 Peter 1:14–16, Matthew 5:48, Luke 6:36). That’s made possible when the Holy Spirit makes his home in us and empowers and equips us to live God’s way. 

Jesus didn’t save us from sin to continue to live in slavery to sin, but to be free to live in his wonderful purpose for us (Galatians 5:13, 1 John 3:4–8, John 8:31–32, 34–36). When we follow Jesus, we live the way he told us to – not to earn our salvation or perform for God’s love, but in love and gratefulness we embrace the freedom lavished on us, since we know how much it cost (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, 1 Peter 1 : 18). We obey Jesus’ commandments because we love him (John 14:15).

You can read about how God wants us to live in the words of Jesus found in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Bible. The rest of the New Testament also tells us how to live a holy life empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Purpose

Jesus gave us the mission of sharing his good news (telling people about the salvation available to them) and being his good news (helping people in need). 

Jesus healed people, brought dead people back to life, delivered people from demonic oppression and did great miracles. And he told us to welcome his kingdom of heaven on earth, giving us the authority to do what he did – right here and now, as we are, by the power of his Spirit living in us (John 14:12–17, Matthew 10:8). 

As we live as Jesus did, in relationship with God and others, we are pointers to the world around us towards the kingdom of heaven that is to come. As he transforms us through his Spirit, we are a living demonstration of God’s plans for the world, and begin the transformation that will be completed when he returns.

 

 
Tessa Baty