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Will you let the Holy Spirit guide you?








Why did Jesus die?


















Do you want to identify with Jesus?

































Will you allow the Holy Spirit to transform you?















And make you into the image of Jesus?













Will you submit to Jesus as your Lord and your God?















Texts












1 Timothy 2:5












John 14:26













Colossians 1:19,20



















Galatians 2:20

























Romans 8:9













Galatians 5:22















John 10:30

The Way to Eternity

What Must I Know?

2. The Answer

To find or return to God we need a mediator, someone who will bring about a reconciliation between us and our Heavenly Father. God has provided the one and only mediator, and his name is Jesus. He alone can stand between us because only he is perfect man, and he alone is the begotten Son of God. We call him the Son of God, because he is one with God, the Father. We know about him from the New Testament Scriptures, but it is God's Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus as our spiritual companion, who, if we ask, makes Jesus real to us. So it is that God can bring us back to himself. We have to have the desire and the willingness, and then be open to the Holy Spirit. He will guide us and bring us to an understanding of the truth, and particularly of the redeeming love of Jesus.

On our journey of faith we have to begin by believing that God is good, and that in his love for us he wants to build a lasting relationship with us. If our desire is for that goodness, then the Holy Spirit will reveal to us the character and purpose of Jesus, who is essential for the building of that relationship. Our journey to God and to his kingdom is a step by step progression. Each stage of that journey brings a revelation of an essential truth which opens up the next step of the journey. Eventually we will come to meet with God, whom we have accepted by faith, but then face to face.

The Holy Spirit leads us to Jesus, and specifically to the death of Jesus. Jesus was crucified. He was nailed to a cross, and there with terrible suffering he bled and died. The significant fact about Jesus in this context is that his life was without any sin. Innocent of any wrongdoing, he did nothing to defend himself and went willingly to his death. This was a truly sacrificial death, made potentially on behalf of all mankind, and specifically for those of us who, believing in him, confess and repent of our wrong-doing. Then, seeking his forgiveness, we must be willing to forgive those who have wronged us. Wrong-doing must be punished, because God's perfect justice demands it. However, Jesus on the Cross was taking that punishment for all of us. He was our substitute, bearing instead of us the consequences of our sins. Our forgiveness had to be paid for, and Jesus was the only one able (because he was sinless) and willing to pay the price. We need to be willing to acknowledge our guilt, and be grateful for his act of redeeming love.

The death of Jesus has another aspect. As well as dealing with our guilt for all the sins which we confess, Jesus on the Cross also dealt with the on-going power of sin in our lives. The two things need to be distinguished. Forgiveness of sins does not deal with the underlying cause and nature of sin, and this has to be dealt with too. We sin because we have a sinful nature, that is a continuing propensity to think, speak and behave wrongly. This sinful nature is in all of us and is a consequence of several factors. We are born with an innate propensity to wrong-doing, which is there because of our natural inheritance or genetic make-up, coming from our parents and ancestors. It also results from the influence of the world around us. We learn from what other people value and what they do, and we follow their example. What the world values, that is wealth, possessions, power, popularity and lustful pleasures become the things we desire and seek after. There is a constant temptation to these things, which comes to us through the personified power of evil which we call Satan. All these influences enslave us to a lifestyle of wrong-doing, and their power within us has to be destroyed. Not only do we have to confess our sins, we have to renounce and be rid of our sinful nature. This issue is also dealt with on the Cross, but the imagery is different. To ensure our forgiveness we saw Jesus identifying with us, taking our sins upon himself. To break the power of sin we must see ourselves identifying with Jesus. Identifying with Jesus on the Cross means that we can have this wayward nature of ours nailed to the Cross, put to death and rooted out from our lives.

Our identification with Jesus should be based on our recognition of his perfect goodness. His actions, teachings, lifestyle and relationships all mirrored that goodness. Our desire to be like Jesus in word and deed is because we want to know, experience and live in that goodness. We cannot do this on our own, no matter how hard we try. It is accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit, not just by coming alongside us to reveal the truth, but by living in our lives and working within us. We have to want it, and put up no barriers against it. This, our being born of the Spirit, results when we commit our lives totally to Jesus. If we do, the actual task of transforming our lives into the likeness of Jesus becomes an on-going process, undertaken by the now indwelling Holy Spirit as we allow him to work within us day by day.

This transformation has two aspects. There has to be a taking out of all that is evil, and there has to be the putting in of all that is good. We have seen how our sinful nature is dealt with as we identify with Jesus on the Cross and have it put to death. Now this identification must be continued in a positive vein. This means bringing into our lives the goodness of Jesus. We have to be born to a newness of life, in which can develop all those things which are of Christ such as goodness, love, kindness, truth, beauty, justice and faithfulness. When we become born of the Spirit, this is the work that he starts within us, and it is a gradual and life-long experience.

Our new birth and consequent transformation into the likeness of Jesus begin now, as we acknowledge and affirm our relationship with him. This affirmation needs to be of what Jesus has done for us, on the Cross and in the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is also an affirmation of who Jesus is. A man, yes, but because of his sinless nature he also shares the divine nature and is called the Son of God. When we call him Lord we are acknowledging that he is of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is indeed our Lord and so merits our submission to him. Our desire should be to be worthy servants, learning our obedience from him, and bending our wills to his. We have to be aware of his call upon our lives, do his bidding, be his messengers and do the tasks he requires. Serving him is not burdensome but real joy, because the empowering of it all comes from God.