Last week we looked at the basic understanding of the Triune God, and this week we will explore the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus the Christ. Last week we looked at the fact that there has never been a time and never will be a time when God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit has not existed. They are eternal.

Now God is love and humanity was made in His image. The entire creation was made to love God, give glory to Him, and point to His existence. But God did not want humanity to offer Him false love and worship. He didn’t want a bunch of robots that just acted like they loved and obeyed Him. He truly wanted us to love Him in a way that leads to glorifying Him in everything that we do. And like we discussed last week, please remember that God cannot go back on His promise. God promised to all humanity that as long as we loved and obeyed Him, we could live with Him forever. But if we sinned, or disobeyed Him, the penalty of sinning was death. And death means an eternal separation from God, or what we commonly refer to as spending eternity in hell. He then left it up to us to make a choice. Well, as you have probably heard, Adam and Eve chose to go their own way and as a result, all of their descendants are separated from God. In other words, we are all destined for an eternal existence in hell.

By Pastor Mike Gudka, St. Paul United Methodist Church

Now despite the “thumbing of our nose” at the Creator of the entire universe, God still loved us. So over time He has tried over and over to cleanse us and have us return to what He originally intended for us to be. So after Adam and Eve got kicked out of their eternal life with God in the Garden of Eden, God gave us a conscience. This is God’s voice in our heads telling us how to live. But of course, God gave us a choice to listen to the voice or go our own way. And once again, we defied God’s guidance and we had the whole “Cain murdering Able” incident.

As humanity began to grow, God gave us government to help us do the right thing. But oops, we didn’t listen again and an entire city decided that they would defy God and build a tower so they could sit on God’s throne. So God tried another way. He decided to set a group of people aside and have them live according to His way. He hoped these people would live so differently from the world, that others would be drawn to Him through these people. But once again, we failed. This group of people got so hung up on the laws of how they were supposed to live, that they forgot about love and mercy for those that don’t. So that led to God’s final attempt to bring us back to Him. Jesus decided that He would empty Himself of His divine will, and lower Himself into becoming one of us.

In other words, God came right down among us to tell us directly what we are supposed to do. But we didn’t get that right either and we tried to kill God. But of course, God cannot be killed. And God used what Satan thought was a victory, and opened the once and final path to restoring our relationship with God. Remember, God had said that if we sin, we must die? Well God Himself took the penalty that we deserve and died in our place. He paid the penalty. And for all of those who “believe” in the Son, or Jesus the Christ, our penalty has been paid in full and we restored in our eternal relationship with God.

Now over the next three weeks, I am going to explore this concept of “believing.” You see,  our culture has cheapened what “believing in Christ” means. And as a result, Satan is smiling. The tough news is that many people who buy into this cheap grace and say, “I believe in Jesus” will not end up in heaven.  So, we will explore this concept of what “belief in Christ” really means.

My prayers are that you will spend some time this week contemplating how wonderful it is to have a God that loves you so much that He will never give up on trying to bring you home.