Out of Darkness (Matthew 4:12-17)

If you would have asked any Jew during the day of Jesus, the majority of them would have assumed Israel’s Messiah would start His ministry in the religious epicenter of the world—Jerusalem. Israel’s capital is the city of God, the city of the great King and the location where all the religious elites spent their time. But our Lord didn’t inaugurate His ministry there. His ministry began in Galilee, an obscure and despised region in Israel.

After being tempted by Satan, Jesus left the wilderness when He heard that John the Baptist was arrested (see Matthew 4:12-17). I’m certain our Lord was avoiding facing the same fate. It was too early in His ministry to endure similar opposition.

When He arrived, His first stop was Nazareth (4:13), but we know from Luke’s gospel that Jesus didn’t spend much time there because He was rejected and nearly killed (Luke 4:16-30). Therefore, He left His hometown for a nearby village called Capernaum. It would seem many human circumstances were sending Jesus all around Israel. John is arrested. Jesus leaves for Galilee. His hometown rejects Him. Jesus leaves for Capernaum.

Though the human element is certainly a factor, you can be sure God’s sovereign will is being accomplished. Upon His arrival to Capernaum, Jesus fulfills ancient prophecy (4:14-16). Capernaum is the old territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, two of the twelve tribes of Israel.

A little background is helpful at this point. In the days of Joshua, Israel was commanded to overtake the land of Canaan. God also commanded them to drive out the inhabitants of the land lest their gods and false religions become a snare to the children of Israel. Israel obeyed God’s command to raid the land. However, they failed to drive out all of its inhabitants. Many Gentiles were left and this caused endless problems for the Jews. By the time Jesus came on the scene, this region is full of false religion and the worship of false gods. Galilee was called “Galilee of the Gentiles” (4:15). The religious established scorned them and steered clear of going there.

Jesus, on the other hand, began His ministry in the midst of spiritual darkness and death (4:16). The light of the world went to those who needed Him most. Our Lord called them out of the darkness and into the light, and He did this with a simple but profound message that still preaches today: “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus didn’t merely call these people out of darkness. He commanded them.

The way we come out of darkness is by repenting of the darkness we love so much. I’m talking about sin. If you’re like me, you know sin all too well. It’s a part of the fabric of our being. And if you’re honest, apart from God’s grace, you love your sin more than you love Christ. Left to our own devices, we would all choose our sin and perish apart from the Lord.

But Jesus shines a light into our lives. He lets us know there is a different way. If we repent and turn to Christ, we’ll be saved. Repentance consists of three things—confession, contrition and conversion. We confess our sins to God. We agree that we’re wrong and we ask for forgiveness. We also express genuine contrition and sorrow for our sin. And then we turn to Christ, we trust in Him and are converted.

When we do this, we find inclusion into this Kingdom that Jesus promises is so near. While the fullness of His Kingdom is a future reality yet to come, Jesus reigns upon the thrones of everyone’s hearts that trust in Him.

Reflection Questions:

  • What does it mean that Jesus calls us out of the darkness and into the light?
  • How does knowing the three elements of repentance bring us to a better understanding of how to deal with our sin in responding to the gospel?

This devotional was written by EBG Contributing Writer Brandon Sutton. He serves as the Lead Pastor of Blue Ridge Christian Union Church in Shelbyville, Indiana. He is currently a Master of Divinity student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the grateful husband of Sherrie and the proud father of Emma.

An ‘Entrusted’ Life with Jaquelle Crowe

This is the first interview in a series entitled An ‘Entrusted Life. This series serves to introduce you to Christians who display faithful stewardship amid an entitlement culture. This first interview is with Jaquelle Crowe. For those of you who may not be familiar, Jaquelle Crowe is a gifted 19-year-old writer and speaker from eastern Canada. She is the editor-in-chief of TheRebelution.com and a regular contributor to desiringGod.orgThe Gospel CoalitionUnlocking the Bible, and Beliefnet. She is the author of This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (Crossway), which releases this month.

Jaquelle, thank you for your willingness to take part in this interview. Before we discuss your first published book, I would like for you to share with us your story as a writer. First, what gave you such a passion for writing? Along with that, when did you start to get serious about your work as a writer?

My love for writing really started with a love for storytelling. As a little kid, I was constantly making up elaborate stories with my dolls (even before I could write) and as I got older, this naturally led into a love for writing these stories down. Non-fiction was something I dabbled in throughout elementary school but got passionate about the summer I turned 12. This was when I started a blog (largely from the encouragement of my parents) and began to record reflections of what I was learning in God’s Word and in his world. I was captivated by the art of making beautiful sentences and drawn to the capacity of non-fiction to tell truth compellingly.

I started to get increasingly more serious about writing when I was 16 and formally decided to pursue it vocationally when I was 17. Shortly before I turned 18, God provided an idea for a book and an incredible literary agent – and then a few months later, he provided a publisher and a book contract!

Now, here you are at 19 years old with your first published book, This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms Our Teen Years. What were your motivating factors in writing a book on this subject?

For me, the desire to write a book existed before the idea of what book to write. Because of that, I found myself routinely asking, “What kind of book should I write?” And eventually the question turned into, “If I could only write one book, what would it be?” And I realized it was this: a book for fellow Christian teenagers who wanted encouragement and instruction on how to follow Jesus as a teen. This was the book I wanted to read. Since I started the book at 17, it was (and still is) deeply relevant for the stage of life I was at.

Furthermore, I knew so many teens who were pursuing holiness or wanted to pursue holiness, and they were left to read books by adults and for adults. I also knew teens who were struggling in their Christian walk, who wanted to read something written for them, something robust but not exhaustive, something theological yet practical, something fun but deep. They wanted something specific – a book on how the gospel transforms the season of life they’re in right now.

Your book is said to be a “deeply theological and yet practical and accessible book on how the gospel radically transforms every aspect of the teen years”. As a young adult and as a youth pastor, this book timely. Even for teenagers who profess to trust in Christ as Lord and Savior, there seems to be a disconnect between their life as a Christian and their relationships and habits. Why do you think that disconnect exists?

I think culture plays a big part in this disconnect. They’ve subtly fed teenagers the lie that Christianity is not transformative. You can call yourself a Christian and do whatever you want.

Sadly, I think the church has played a part as well. There are often stunningly low spiritual expectations for teens – it’s thought that if they’re coming to church and showing some positive interest in Christianity, they’re living a gospel-centered life. But this is in radical opposition to the demanding, self-sacrificing, totally revolutionizing message of the cross.

In D.A. Carson’s endorsement of your book, he remarks, “In a culture where many young people feel entitled and struggle through the swamps of victimization, Jaquelle Crowe calls her fellow teens to Christian discipline…in response to the gospel of grace.” Based on your study of and meditation on Scripture, how does the gospel counteract an entitled mindset?

From beginning to end, the gospel is a message of grace. It’s a story of us getting what we don’t deserve. We never deserved mercy, forgiveness, redemption. We never even deserved creation. We exist purely and solely because of the goodness of God. Entitlement is a self-focused framework that rejects this truth, that hates grace, and that boasts in itself. I really believe it’s an enemy of the gospel.

Where many young people are tempted to buy into an entitled mindset, you seem to work from an entrusted framework. One of the posts on your website sums it up, “That the day you hold in your grasp doesn’t belong to you. That your time is not your own. That every minute you breathe, every morning you wake up, every day you live is God’s. That you are only a steward of the time God has given you, and that you are entrusted to care for it well.” How has understanding this biblical truth affected your teenage years?

The realization that my time is not my own completely changed the lens through which I viewed my teen years. I only have one life, one youth, and one fast and fleeting opportunity to make it count. I’m accountable to God for how I use this life, this uniquely precious resource he’s given me, and that means I don’t have the “freedom” (if we could call it that) to live for myself. I must live for his fame. I must use this life for his glory. It has to be about him, not me. And that perspective organically changed what I watched, what I read, how I treated my family, what kinds of friends I had, what I bought, how I dressed, how I spoke, and how I viewed things like dating and school and work.

The biblical concept of stewardship comes up not only in your life generally; it also comes up in your writing. As God has entrusted you with a gift, you are equipping and entrusting others to use the gifts God has given them. You are the co-founder of a program for young writers that you lead with Brett Harris called “The Young Writers Workshop”. Could you share with us what this program is about?

Absolutely! The Young Writers Workshop is a monthly membership program for any writer aged 10-25 (from writing novices to publishing pros). We create exclusive content to motivate, encourage, and equip young writers to accomplish the individual goals and dreams they have. We interview experts, teach mechanics and skills, critique writing and book proposals, host Q&A events, facilitate a private online community for young writers, and lots more.

Brett and I firmly believe that writing is a powerful tool to serve God and that young writers have a unique capacity to wield this tool well. In the Young Writers Workshop, we teach them how to do that – write well and reach others for the glory of God.

The Devil’s Most Effective Temptation (Matthew 4:1-11)

Have you ever wondered why Satan tempted Jesus to make the stones into bread? Take a look at Matthew 4:1-11, paying special attention to the first temptation (vv.1-4). Of course, Satan knew Jesus was hungry. Our Lord hadn’t eaten for 40 days (v. 2). Therefore, it’s easy to see that the Devil was striking at Jesus’s weakness. But this doesn’t get to the heart of the temptation.

What is the Devil Doing?

Some have speculated that Satan was trying to get Jesus to use His power as God’s Son for His own personal benefit. Remember, Jesus set aside His divine rights (Philippians 2:6). He humbled Himself in becoming exactly like us, yet without sin. Yet, I still don’t think that gets to the core of the issue. It wouldn’t have been sinful for Jesus to make the stones into bread. He had that right. Eating isn’t sinful. Bread isn’t sinful. So, what is Satan up to?

The Trickery of Distraction

The Devil was using a tactic he has tricked mankind with since the dawn of creation—distraction! Satan will expose our weaknesses to distract our attention away from God. Jesus was fasting, which means He was spending alone time with God. The Tempter, however, wanted to break Jesus’s focus from His Heavenly Father to food.

Here’s why Satan’s Temptation is so crafty and effective (except with Jesus). He distracts us with good things. Satan will divert your attention away from God by distracting you with things that are not inherently sinful. Bread isn’t sinful. Bread is good. God gave us bread as a gift of His love. It tastes good. It’s filling. It’s nutritious. No one would say bread is bad. And that’s exactly why Satan used it.

When we’re distracted with “good” things we don’t realize that we are being tricked by Satan. We’ve conditioned our minds to believe that Satan only wants to entice us to commit horrible sins such as murder, adultery, lying, cheating, stealing etc. No doubt, he does cause all of those things. But let’s not forget Satan’s main goal. He desires to see you perish apart from Christ. That’s why he keeps unbelievers blinded (2 Corinthians 4:4). If you are a believer, he wants to keep your attention off of Christ so you will produce no fruit for His kingdom. Satan hates God and will do everything he can to hinder the work of God, and one of the ways he does this is by distraction.

Principle in Play

Think about it! How many Christians have no time for church because of sports? Are sports sinful? No. Sports can be good. However, Satan will use sports as a distraction. He’ll say something like this, “It’s okay if you miss church or if your kids miss youth group. They’re young. This is the only time in their lives they can play this game. Plus, they love it. You love it. Sports are fun.” Before you know it, your families’ attention is taken away from God.

And it’s not only sports. It’s anything he can use to take your focus off of Christ. Again, it doesn’t have to be inherently sinful. It just has to be effective.

So, what distracts you from Jesus? Food? Politics? Money? Materialism? Work? They’re all good things if used properly, but they can also become “good” distractions. We all have weaknesses, and Satan will use them to divert us away from our Lord. This is why we’re told to “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Reflection Questions:

  • What are the “good” things in your life that distract you from Jesus?
  • How does awareness of the devil’s tactics help you in overcoming temptation?

This devotional was written by EBG Contributing Writer Brandon Sutton. He serves as the Lead Pastor of Blue Ridge Christian Union Church in Shelbyville, Indiana. He is currently a Master of Divinity student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the grateful husband of Sherrie and the proud father of Emma.

The Key to Healthy Relationships

“What is the key to healthy relationships?” This question is not limited to the context of marriage. Healthy relationships are needed in the areas of family, friends, and church family. For those who profess faith in Christ, we know we are called to proclaim the gospel of how people can be reconciled to God. However, some of the time we miss out on showing them what that looks like in our life. In other words, we use words to share with them the gospel (which we must do) but we neglect to show how that very gospel has impacted our lives.

The Gospel and Our Relationships

The truth is the gospel changes everything. The gospel impacts every area of life, especially your relationships. So, to ask, “What is the key to a healthy relationship?” the answer is unsurprisingly the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, do not mistake the answer as an oversimplified solution. The gospel truly is the answer.

In the gospel, we see the person and work of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says it all, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The gospel reveals our source for salvation is not in ourselves but in Christ. We are not saved by our righteousness, but by Christ’s righteousness. Only as we are in Christ are we made right with God.

Clearly, then, 2 Corinthians 5:21 speaks to our relationship with God. But how does this truth inform our relationships with one another? As Dr. Paul David Tripp shares the video above: what God gives us in His Son is a righteousness that is not our own. In our relationships, we too often live with a sense of our own “righteousness”. What does this look like? We get defensive when we feel we are being confronted or corrected. Rather than seeking to be transparent, we are known to be unapproachable. Instead of admitting to our mess, we seek to cover it up.

Our Problem

Does all this sound familiar? It should. We are all guilty of this. We somehow think we must measure up. The problem is the focus is on us. We cannot measure up. We are sinners. What the gospel does is it reveals our fallenness and leads us to confess it. We repent of our sin and we trust in the righteousness of another. We stand righteous before God because of Christ. When we realize that, we don’t try to hide the mess and pretend to be something we are not. Before God and others, we admit to our mess and deal with our mess. How do we deal with our mess? In our relationships.

The Gospel in Our Relationships

The key to any healthy relationship is the gospel. This gospel produces two essential qualities for healthy relationships:

Quality #1: The Humility of Approachability: “I become an approachable person because I am resting in a righteousness that is not my own”. When we sin, we ought to be humble enough that brothers and sisters in Christ can approach us to correct and restore us.

Quality #2: The Courage of Loving Honesty“I am not afraid to speak the truth to you because I am not afraid of your rejection, because my well-being is not in your acceptance. My well-being is in the acceptance that was purchased by righteous Christ.” When we see others living in sin, we must do the most loving thing and speak the truth to them for the sake of their salvation and sanctification.

Are You Applying the Gospel?

Are you letting the gospel impact the way you deal with your relationships? Are you an approachable person who knows they need accountability? Are you willing to speak the truth in love in your relationships, even when that means correcting and confronting? As a follower of Jesus Christ, be a humble and approachable person who is courageous enough to speak honestly and lovingly in your relationships.

15871997_10210430005099789_6580064576224717116_nThis post was written by EBG Lead Writer and Founder Theron St. John. His joy is serving God and His people, both in the church and the academy. He is the associate pastor of Blue Ridge Christian Union Church in Shelbyville, Indiana and an adjunct professor at Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis.

How Long? (Psalm 13)

I am learning to be content in my current season of life. As a single, the LORD is teaching me the blessings of singleness. Still, a desire for marriage remains on the forefront of my mind and heart. At 25 years old and only a short-term relationship to account for, questions of timing loom. Yes, I know everything will happen according to God’s will in God’s timing. But waiting for a relationship to happen sometimes feels like asking, “How long, O LORD?” I am sure you have experienced the same sentiment. Maybe you are not waiting for a relationship to happen. You may be hoping a wayward child will see their error and return to you and to God. You may be praying for your spouse to quit pursuing the lusts of the world and, instead, show their love to you. You may be crying out to God as one who has recently been diagnosed with an illness or cancer. Whatever the situation may be, many of us find ourselves asking God, “How long?”

How Long?

We are not alone in asking this question. Faced with some type of opposition, King David asked this question too. In Psalm 13, we hear King David open up by asking four times, “How long?” He says:

  • “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?” (v. 1a)
  • “How long will you hide your face from me?” (v. 1b)
  • “How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?” (v. 2a)
  • “How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (v. 2b)

In asking these questions, David is not accusing the LORD of unfaithfulness. Nor is David stating the LORD has mentally forgotten about him. Understanding the Psalms as Hebrew poetry, what David is doing here is expressing his feelings. Amid his circumstances, David says he feels as if the LORD is indifferent toward him. Judging by his feelings and surroundings, it appears God has abandoned him, hiding His face from him. What leads David to despair is this feeling. With nowhere else to turn he takes counsel in his own soul and finds himself drowned in sorrow. By the looks of it, David’s enemy has the upper hand.

Dealing with Feelings

How does David deal with his feelings? Because the LORD does not feel present, does David settle into despair? Verse 1 gives us a clue the answer to such a question is “No!” Although it may appear God is in hiding, David still addresses God, “How long, O LORD?” Moreover, verses 3–4 give further evidence David deals with his feelings by bringing them to the LORD. He pleads, “Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death” (13:3). Whether he is speaking figuratively or literally in the second half of the verse regarding this sleep, David seeks to hear from the LORD in the hopes of things being brought to light. The purpose of David’s petition is so that David’s enemies may not boast in seeing David down.

Faith-Informed Feelings

After hearing David’s petition, one may assume to find the LORD’s answer. However, we do not find such in the closing verses of this psalm. Instead, we find feeling informed by faith in God. David’s closing remarks are a blueprint for how we ought to respond when we are faced with trying circumstances in life. When we do not understand what God is doing and when it appears as if He has left the situation, we should respond with David, “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me” (13:5–6). We should not neglect our feelings but neither should we allow them to rule our lives. We must allow our faith to inform our feelings. How do we do this? By looking to the cross. The steadfast love of God was displayed on the cross, where Jesus Christ took the punishment we deserved for our sins by dying in our place for the forgiveness of sins. If we have trusted in this steadfast loving God, then we can rejoice in the salvation we have received. When we look to the cross, we see God loves us and cares for us. Faith-informed feelings, then, tell us to focus our eyes on the cross, not our circumstances. We will most certainly still have moments where we ask “How long?” but we ask it knowing God is there with us, not away from us.

Reflection Questions:

  • What is a current situation or circumstance in your life where you are asking, “How long?” How does this trial affect your view of the character of God?
  • Why should faith in God inform our feelings amidst circumstances and situations we face?
  • How does the gospel impact our view of God and of our circumstances?

15871997_10210430005099789_6580064576224717116_nThis post was written by EBG Lead Writer and Founder Theron St. John. His joy is serving God and His people, both in the church and the academy. He is the associate pastor of Blue Ridge Christian Union Church in Shelbyville, Indiana and an adjunct professor at Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis.

Jesus, Lord and Savior-Part 4 (James 2:14-26)

As an associate pastor, one of my responsibilities at the church I serve is to teach children’s church on a regular basis. I am always grateful for the opportunity to share the Word of God with the children and point them to Jesus Christ. I also recognize temptations in teaching children the Bible. The first is to teach Bible narratives as if they are merely stories with a good moral point. However, if the Bible is truly the Word of God, the narratives found in Scripture are based in history. Children need to hear the narratives of David and Goliath and Jonah and the big fish are not fables but were actual events. This is not the only temptation with teaching children, though. A second temptation is to water down the response of the gospel. It is this second temptation I want us to consider in greater detail.

“Jesus Wants to Be Your Friend”

A common phrase I have heard some use to encourage children to respond to what Jesus has done on the cross is “Jesus wants to be your friend”. After all, does it not say in James 2 Abraham “was called a friend of God” (2:23)? Moreover, the Gospel of Luke tells us Jesus is accused of being “a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (7:34). These two verses seem to indicate Jesus can be your friend. The issue needing to be dealt with here has not to do with the text but with the context. In other words, James 2:23 is clear Abraham was a friend of God. Yet, to understand this friendship rightly the context of James 2:14–26 is essential.

Jesus: A Different Type of Friend

When we think about friendship, we do not think in terms of hierarchy. We view each other as equals. One person is not in authority over another. Now consider the same framework in describing Jesus as your friend. Does such a mindset contribute to a biblical concept? No. Jesus is a different type of friend. James 2 teaches us this. In verses 14–26 James is making the case saving faith is evidenced by good works. True faith in Jesus Christ will produce works for Christ. He uses the example of Abraham to illustrate this. He says, “and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’—and he was called a friend of God” (2:23). Abraham was called a friend of God because He placed His belief and trust in God. To be sure, this belief was not found without proof. James continues, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (2:24). James is not saying here works are required for salvation. This would be in contradiction to the testimony of Scripture and to the gospel. Rather, James is making the case true saving faith will be seen through good works. To state it another way, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (2:26).

Our Lord and Savior, then Our Friend

Just as Jesus is our example only after we trust in Him as Lord and Savior, Jesus is our friend. If we have not repented of our sins and placed our trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then we are still enemies of God (James 4:4). To tell children, or even adults, to respond to the gospel by saying, “Jesus wants to be your friend” misses the point. To be a friend of God, we must confess our rebellion and sin against Him. We must place our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. The evidence we have believed in Him as Lord will be evidenced through obedience to His Word. When we ask for forgiveness for our sins and look to Christ only for salvation and hope, we will be found as friends of God!

Reflection Questions:

  • Why is it important to understand Jesus is our Lord and Savior before we say He is our friend?
  • How does understanding Jesus is our Lord and Savior before He is our friend affect the way we encourage people to respond to the gospel?

15871997_10210430005099789_6580064576224717116_nThis post was written by EBG Lead Writer and Founder Theron St. John. His joy is serving God and His people, both in the church and the academy. He is the associate pastor of Blue Ridge Christian Union Church in Shelbyville, Indiana and an adjunct professor at Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis.

Jesus, Lord and Savior-Part 3 (1 Peter 2:21-25)

ww_jesus_landsGrowing up, I remember wearing a wrist bracelet with the letters “WWJD”. If I were to ask you what those letters stood for, chances are you would correctly answer “What would Jesus do?” This phrase encourages the Christian to follow the example of Jesus by asking what Christ would do. While there is nothing inherently wrong with asking this question, I believe we need to ask a question prior to this. Before we consider what would Jesus do, we need to believe in what Jesus did. In other words, prior to following Jesus as our example, we need to trust in Him as Lord and Savior.

Jesus, Our Example

Because there is a false notion of Jesus as our example, a corrective is needed. There are some circles of belief, even with those who profess to be Christians, which see Jesus primarily as an example to follow. As a result, we are left to ask: “What does Scripture say about this?” While a number of passages may shed light on the discussion, 1 Peter 2:21–25 lays out a succinct answer. In the context of Christian suffering, we read, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (2:21). Clearly stated, as Christians, we are to follow the example of Christ, particularly in suffering. He is our example. But that does not answer our question completely. The matter is not whether Jesus is our example to follow but whether His role as our example is primary. I would contend with you it is not. He is our example to follow only after we understand His saving person and work.

Jesus, Our Savior and Lord

The Apostle Peter continues by laying the example of Christ, showing He committed no sin (2:22) and He entrusted Himself to God the Father in His own suffering (2:23). Yet, the suffering Christ faced and the death He endured is not portrayed merely in terms of serving as an example. 1 Peter 2:24–25 make this clear: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” The suffering and death of Jesus Christ was for the salvation of sinners. As those who have sinned against God, we deserve the judgment of God. The way of salvation, then, is not to try better or to follow the example of Jesus. The only way of salvation is trusting in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ lived the perfect life we failed to and He died the sinner’s death. As our substitute, He died on the cross for our sins, so that we may be forgiven. The person and work of Jesus Christ is the basis of how we can die to sin and live to righteousness. We trust in His saving work and we acknowledge His authority as Lord. Only when we place our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord can we then follow Him as our example.

Reflection Questions:

  • Why is it crucial to understand Jesus is our Lord and Savior before we see Him as our example?
  • What are the implications of seeing Jesus as primarily our example to the neglect of Him as our Lord and Savior?

15871997_10210430005099789_6580064576224717116_nThis post was written by EBG Lead Writer and Founder Theron St. John. His joy is serving God and His people, both in the church and the academy. He is the associate pastor of Blue Ridge Christian Union Church in Shelbyville, Indiana and an adjunct professor at Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis.