By Nathan Jones
Are you an heir of hope?
New Year's greetings to all of you! To ring in this new year, Dr. David Reagan, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries and I discussed on television's Christ in Prophecy why you should be looking forward to the future with great hope.
Heir of Hope
Dr. Reagan: Let's turn our attention for a moment to what it is that a person must do in order to be an heir of the hope that is offered by Jesus Christ. A great Christian hymn has these words, "My faith is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." What in the world does that mean?
Dennis Pollock: That statement gets right to the heart of Evangelical Christianity. Evangelical Christianity stands on the fact that we just take the Bible seriously. We read the New Testament and we believe what it says. At the heart of that is the fact that we can only be acceptable in God's eyes through faith in who Christ is and what He has done for us by sacrificing Himself on our behalf on the cross.
Man's natural inclination is to try to find acceptance before God by his own works, his own deeds, and by being a good guy. We'll compare, "I'm not as bad as my neighbor. I'm a lot better than these people I see in the news. And, those Hollywood people, oh my, I'm so much superior to them. So, surely God will accept me." But, the Bible says regardless of whether you are a pristine little PTA President, an old lady who wears a white bun in her hair, or whether you are a motorcycle gang member that's done horrific things like shoots drugs into your veins, we are all sinners and we all need Christ.
The only hope we have is in Jesus Christ by putting our faith in Christ, His Death, the His shedding of His own blood for us. The Bible says so much about blood, and that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. The Bible also says so much about faith. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through faith. It's through faith alone. It's through faith in Christ alone. Because of the power of Jesus' shed blood, and by receiving Christ through belief in that His death and His resurrection were for our sins, we are then received in God's sight. We are accepted. It's an amazing thing!
We are made as if we had never sinned. The Bible says, "He made Him who knew no sin" (that is Christ) "to become sin for us." He was hanging on that cross becoming sin for everyone of us. And, the Bible goes on to say, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." So, there's a tremendous transfer of our sins to Christ, but His righteousness is transferred back to us.
We've got to get life right, but that's only possible through faith in Christ, not faith in Christ plus being a good guy or doing lots of good deeds; but simply faith in Christ. Once we have that faith and we are born again, we will want to do good works. We live a good life as best as we can, but we are only before the Father made justified by faith in Christ.
Nathan Jones: It reminds me of that very Christianese word "atonement." Atonement, dictionary.com describes means, "satisfaction, or reprobation for a wrong or injury," and basically in Christianity this word means "being reconciled back to God."
And, what does reconciliation mean? Back in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve walked with God and talked with God and there was intimate fellowship between them all. But sin came, a rebellion against God that separated man from God, and ever since then God has worked all of history through Christ's death on the cross to bring us back in Heaven one day to that total reconciliation and relationship with God again. That's what human history is all about. It's about getting us back to where we can walk with God and talk with God and have fellowship with God once more, looking at Him face to face again. We can only achieve that by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Apostasy Kills Hope
Dr. Reagan: The Bible says we'll know we are in the End Times because one of the identifying signs will be gross apostasy. I'd say that we are in the midst of such gross apostasy right now, as there are many evidences of it.
I ran across one instance of apostasy the other day that directly relates to this sign. The pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in New York City, who's also a woman, called a press conference and she said something to the effect, "I just want to let you know that I'm sick and tired of a bloody religion, and so we've taken our hymn book and we've cut every song out of the hymn book that refers to blood, because we don't want people to think we are a vampire religion." Of course, they are going to have to change the name of the church, because it's Calvary Baptist.
Dr. Reagan: What's your reaction to her claim, that we've got to get the blood out of Christianity?
Dennis Pollock: If you do that with the Bible, then you basically throw the whole Bible out. The Bible makes it clear that Christ's shed blood is necessary for our salvation. The only question is this, "Are you going to make up your own religion, or are you going to accept the religion of Jesus and Paul and Peter and what they had to teach? Who is the better theologian? Is it Christ and Paul, or is it this gal from New York City who says we are going to do away with the blood?" The Bible makes it clear it is by Jesus' shed blood that we are justified, and by His blood that we are forgiven. We either go with the Bible, or we throw it out and create our own religion. I'm not willing to do that.
Nathan Jones: I think we Christians use the word blood without giving its proper context. Christians are always talking about blood, blood, blood to the point where in the past people watched the Christians who took Communion and thought Christians were cannibals. I think we have to explain what we mean when we say blood. The blood isn't just the flowing of blood, or that we have to have blood all over the place. It means sacrifice of one's life in place for your life. So, in the Old Testament we're taught that one's sins separated us from God. God temporarily gave us the death of an animal in place of our death. But, when Jesus died on the cross, His sacrifice and the shedding of His blood finally took our place so that belief in Him made final payment for the penalty of our sins. Justice was paid in full.
Dr. Reagan: And, the sacrifice had to have been paid by a perfect human being, and Jesus was that human being. His blood paid the price. How can you get away from the blood of Christ if you are truly a Christian?
Dennis Pollock: You cannot. That's what makes Evangelicals, well, Evangelicals. We believe what Paul had to teach. We believe what Peter said he saw. We believe what Christ Himself claimed and taught, that you must be born again through faith in Christ and the shedding of His blood.
Dr. Reagan: Praise God for the sacrifice that Jesus made!
Becoming an Heir of Hope
Dennis Pollock: I'd like to extend to you an invitation to become an heir of the hopeful promises of God. You may feel like you have no hope, but there is hope for you in Jesus Christ. You can do that by reaching out to God in prayer, accepting His Son Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and repenting of your sins.
The Bible says the only reason Jesus has not yet returned is because God does not wish any to perish but that all should come to repentance. The Creator of this universe is a God of love, grace and mercy. He is also a God of hope. He wants you to have hope. You cannot find that hope in politicians or in wealth. The only true hope comes as a gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Put your faith in Jesus today as your Lord and Savior and your heart will be flooded with hope.