But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge. – Psalm 73:38
“If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9
In the beginning, we were in perfect relationship with God. Sin had not entered the world and nothing separated us from Him (Genesis 1-2). When Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:6) she disobeyed God and sin entered the world. God hates sin because it separates us from Him and He created us to live in perfect communion with Him.
Fortunately, God had a plan to save us all and restore our relationship with Him!
His plan consisted of making a perfect, one-time sacrifice for all of our sins so that we could spend eternity with Him. We needed God to save us because, despite our good or bad behavior we are all in the same spiritual boat– we all have sinned, and the punishment for sin is death, i.e. eternal separation from God (Romans 3:23).
The Old Testament law established the fact that cleansing from sin can only happen through the bloody sacrifice of an innocent life (Hebrews 9:22). In the Old Testament, people had to follow 613 laws to spend eternity in heaven and each time someone sinned (lied, lusted, stole, complained, argued, gossiped etc.) they had to sacrifice an unblemished animal to pay for their sin.
Fortunately, God understood we could never live up to this standard of perfection indefinitely so He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, as a one time sacrifice for all of us (Mathew 5:17).
Jesus lived a sinless, blameless life and thus His death on the cross was the perfect sacrifice. In other words, Jesus died in our place! When He died on the cross His last words were, “It is finished “ (John 19:30) which means He paid the price for our sins completely.
Three days after the Romans crucified Him, Jesus rose from the grave and He walked the earth for 40 days (Acts 1:3). In fact, on 12 separate occasions, over 500 people saw Jesus alive and well after His crucifixion (1 Corinthians 15:6).
Jesus was fully God and fully human, therefore His death on the cross paid our debts entirely. His resurrection proves to us that He is who He says He is, God in the flesh.
The Bible tells us that everyone who trusts in Jesus alone has eternal life through Him. God gave us this incredible gift for free! This means that our good deeds don’t get us into Heaven, but our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ does (Ephesians 2:8,9 & John 5:24).
Jesus not only paid the ultimate price to get us into heaven, but He also paid the price to get heaven into us! His death and resurrection mark a new covenant with God.
In the old covenant (the Old Testament) we had to follow 613 laws and only one high priest a year could enter the inner temple to pray and hear from God. After hearing from God and encountering His Holy Spirit, which dwelled in the Arc of the Covenant, He would then report to the other priests who would then tell the public what God said. Thus, very few people ever encountered the Lord. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would also come and go from the saints, empowering them for service but not necessarily remaining with them.
Fortunately, Jesus changed all of this for His believers! Since Jesus paid for our sins and washed us clean, we are now in a new covenant with God. Since He cleansed us, the Bible tells us we are now a temple for the Holy Spirit (John 14:17, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Jesus promises to fill us with His mighty Holy Spirit when we believe in Him (2 Peter 1:4). This means we can have a PERSONAL relationship with God because His Holy Spirit lives in us!
When His Spirit dwells in us, He fills us with: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). The Bible calls these the fruits of the Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit lives in us, we naturally start to walk, love, and live like Jesus.
When you accept Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit resides in your heart, bringing with Him an entirely new life of love, relationship, and service to the Lord (Romans 10:9-13).