God Loves You!
Agape (a-ga-pay) is the word God used to describe His love for us in giving His son Jesus Christ to die as the substitutionary payment for our sins (Jn. 3:16; Eph. 2:4). His love is self-determined, forgiving, unconditional and self sacrificial. His acts of love are not dependent upon subjective feelings and emotions or determined by the recipient’s worthiness. This is demonstrated by Christ’s giving of Himself for His enemies—mankind, described as ungodly sinners, undeserving and completely without spiritual strength or ability to satisfy God’s righteous judgment of sin (Rom. 5:6-10; 3:9-20).
This attitude and agreement with God concerning our lost condition is a requirement for salvation which Paul declared as “repentance toward God” (Acts 20:21; 17:30). This repentance is coupled with and is part of “belief” or saving faith in Christ. To “trust in Christ” for salvation is to rest our confidence fully in Him and what He accomplished for us on the cross, apart from any merit or goodness of our own (Jn. 1:12; Rom. 4:4-5; Eph. 2:8-9).
Have you receive the love of God and His gift of salvation by trusting in Jesus Christ by faith alone? “The Lord is … not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9)”.
The Bridge to Life Illustration
The First Truth – GOD
The One and Only True God is our all-powerful Creator and perfectly righteous Judge. He has made all things, including us, by Himself and for Himself. He is perfect and pure, without limit or fault, and it is He who made all things perfect and pure at the beginning. He knows everything. He sustains everything. We are accountable to obey and serve Him, and He is fully worthy of our love, trust and obedience. Every individual will stand before Him at death, to give an account for their every thought, word and deed.
We must believe that God is, that He is our Creator and Judge, and that we are accountable to Him, to take the first step on this bridge that leads from death to life.
- Hebrews 11:6
- But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
The Second Truth – MAN
God created the first man, named Adam, and the first woman, named Eve. God made them perfect and pure, and placed them in the garden of Eden, the perfect place he had prepared for them. Adam and Eve were created as living souls with physical bodies. The soul of man is his essential being, his “personality” where he thinks, feels and decides. Man acts out with his body what he thinks and decides in his soul. God gave Adam and Eve everything they needed for life, peace, joy and fulfillment. Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with God and each other. God gave Adam and Eve authority over the earth and the animals. God commanded Adam and Eve to care for the garden and to enjoy everything God had made for them. God also commanded that they must not eat of one certain tree. By obeying this command, Adam and Eve would have proved their loving loyalty to God their Creator.
We must believe that we are made by God, loved by God, and owe to God our full obedience, to take the second step on this bridge that leads from death to life.
- Genesis 2:7
- And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
The Third Truth – SIN
Even though God created, loved and provided for Adam and Eve, they rebelled against Him. They disobeyed, eating of that one tree of which God commanded them not to eat. The act of disobeying God is called “sin”. God warned them that if they disobeyed, they would die. God is a perfectly righteous Judge. He always does what He says He will do. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God and disobeyed, God placed the curse of death on them, on their descendents, and on the world in which we all live. Their sin ruined the perfect relationship mankind had with God and with each other. Their sin resulted in a physical and spiritual change for all mankind. As Adam’s descendants, all of us are born with rebellious souls having inherited this sinful nature. We rebel against God, parents, and other authorities. Fighting, war, anger, selfishness, cruelty, arrogance and stubbornness are all the results of our inner rebellion against God. We all make these same kinds of sinful choices, doing what we know in our hearts is wrong.
We must believe that we have sinned against God and deserve His punishment, to take the third step on this bridge that leads from death to life.
- Romans 3:23
- for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
The Fourth Truth – DEATH
Death is the righteous judgment that we deserve from God because of our sin. This death is spiritual, physical and eternal.
Adam and Eve died spiritually the moment they sinned. Fear, guilt, shame, and blaming of others for their own sinful choices all resulted from being spiritually dead. As their descendants, we are born spiritually dead. We are rebels against God. A physically dead man is unresponsive to others. In the same way, spiritually dead people are unresponsive to God. We are “dead in sin” and separated from God. This is why we do not know God personally and have no relationship with Him. Physical death followed spiritual death.
Physical death is obvious and universal. When our hearts stop beating and we draw our final breath, this is physical death. It is not the end of our existence. It is the end of our existence on earth
The moment we die physically, our souls leave our bodies and come before God for judgment.
If we are not rescued from spiritual death, after physical death we will face a final and eternal death. Eternal death is separation from God in everlasting conscious punishment. Eternal death is the final and unchangeable result of our sin against God.
We must believe that we are facing God’s judgment and cannot escape it on our own, to take the fourth step on this bridge that leads from death to life.
- Hebrews 9:27
- And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
The Fifth Truth – CHRIST
We were created by God to have a special relationship with Him. We rebelled against God and, consequently, are separated from Him, facing eternal judgment. The “good news” is that God has provided a way to rescue us from death, forgive our sins, and restore us to a relationship with Himself. He has done this by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God’s eternal Son who lived with God in heaven from eternity past. God sent Him to earth to become a man who would live a perfect life of love and obedience to God’s commands. Jesus Christ is the only perfect man who ever lived a completely perfect life of love and obedience to God. He is both God and man, in one perfect person. He is the only way to eternal life.
We must believe that Jesus Christ is the perfect Son of God, the only way to eternal life, to take the fifth step on this bridge that leads from death to life.
- John 14:6
- Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
The Sixth Truth – CROSS
The consequence of and punishment for our sin is eternal death and separation from God. God sent Jesus Christ, His only Son, to rescue us from death. Jesus did this by dying in our place, taking the punishment we deserved for our sins. Jesus became the perfect, sinless man. He lived the perfect life of love and obedience. He had no sin in Himself, but took our sin and punishment, dying in our place on the cross. God is righteous. He will not overlook the breaking of His commandments. Because He loves us, He satisfied His own justice by sending His Son to die in our place. Jesus loved His Father and willingly laid down His life to rescue us. Three days after He died, Jesus rose to life again. He is alive forevermore with God in heaven. He is coming back one day to judge the world. He loves us and he is able to save us from death and eternal punishment for our sins.
We must believe that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, died for our sins and rose from the dead to rescue us from death and give us eternal life, to take the sixth step on this bridge to eternal life.
- 1 Peter 2:24
- who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
The Seventh Truth – FAITH
We cannot earn the forgiveness of sins. Our good deeds, acts of kindness and generosity, even religious ceremonies cannot rescue us from death and judgment. We must admit to God that we deserve His punishment, and that we are helpless to rescue ourselves. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can receive forgiveness and be reconciled to God.
The death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection from the dead fully satisfied God’s righteous judgment against our rebellion and sin. We must admit our sins and turn away (repent) from our sins and rebellion against God. We must come to God, believing that His Son can and will forgive our sins. God promises to forgive our sins, to give us His righteousness, and to restore our relationship with Himself if we repent and believe in His Son. We must trust Christ as our only Savior and Lord, and give our lives to Him to follow and obey.
Our faith must grow from a general belief in God’s existence, to a specific belief in Jesus Christ as our only Savior and Lord. Faith includes confessing our sins to Him, turning away from our old life of rebellion against God, humbly trusting Christ, asking Him to save us and giving our lives to Him in loving obedience.
We must personally turn from our rebellion and sin, trust Christ to save us, and give our lives to follow Him, to take the seventh step on this bridge to eternal life.
Do you understand why you need Jesus Christ? Do you believe He is God’s Son and the only way of eternal life? Are willing to turn from your sin and place your trust in Him to rescue you from death and give you eternal life? If the answer to all of these is “Yes,” then put your trust in the One True God and ask His Son to forgive your sins and give you the gift of eternal life. In Romans 10:13 God has promised, “For whoever will call (in faith) on the name of The Lord (Jesus) will be saved (rescued from eternal death).”
- Ephesians 2:8-9
- For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
The Eighth Truth – LIFE
When we understand the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross and rose to life again and place our faith in Him as our Lord and Savior, we enter the life that God has promised. We now possess spiritual life. We are no longer in rebellion against God. We are now His children through faith in Christ. God is our Father. Even physical death will not separate us from God. If we die physically, God will raise our bodies from the grave and make them perfect when Jesus comes back. This new life we have in Christ will never come to an end. It is eternal life. It is eternal life in relationship with God through Christ.
If we have understood and believed the message of Jesus Christ, God’s bridge to life, we have crossed over from death to life through faith in Him. God my Creator and Judge is now God my Savior and Father forever. This is good news indeed!
As believers, it is our joy to learn from the Bible, memorize its verses and obey its commands. We learn to pray to God and spend time worshiping Him with others. We love to tell others the wonderful story of God’s love and forgiveness, because Jesus Christ restores the life, love, joy and fulfillment God created us to enjoy from the beginning of time.
- John 11:25-26
- Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”