Following Jesus is more than just identifying ourselves with a particular religion or embracing a certain value system. Following Jesus is all about agreeing with Him. In order to follow Him we must agree with what He says about Himself, humanity, and forgiveness.
God, the Sovereign Creator
The Bible, unlike every other worldview, assumes the complete sovereignty of God. From evolution to pseudo-Christian religions, man’s authority is given primacy in evaluating the meaning of life. The Bible alone provides the foundation of authority for humanity to make sense of life from the necessity of justice and truth, to the reality of evil and death. The Bible provides this authority basis in the character of the God of the Bible who is the ultimate standard of truth and reality because He alone is eternal, unchanging, and set apart from His creation as the Creator. It was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1.3; Col. 1.16) and therefore He has authority over our lives and we owe Him complete allegiance and worship (Acts 17.24-31).
God, the Holy One
The Bible tells us that God is holy, set apart from His creation in perfect majesty (Isaiah 6), being self-dependent and self-existent, and perfect in morality having no stain or blemish of sin. Therefore He can neither commit sin nor approve of sin (James 1.13). God requires that His creatures exhibit holiness in every deed and thought (1 Peter 1.16).
Humanity, United in Rebellion
The world is clearly not perfect. This is because we have all rejected the authority of God in favor of our own (Rom. 1.21-26). Independence from God is sin. It is rooted in a heart that refuses to submit to the authority of God and therefore rebels against Him. From God’s perspective, rebellion is offensive because it seeks a human or self authority (Rom.3.10-23).
Sin, Demands a Penalty
Humanity’s rebellion has brought about God’s judgment; expressed now in terms of death, sickness, and inability to earn His favor, and ultimately will be fully consummated with eternal condemnation (John 3.18 & Rev. 21.8). Simply changing our behavior patterns cannot effect a change in our sinful standing before God nor ensure the removal of the just consequences against our sin (Rom. 6.23). The very core and nature of man is affected by sin turning everything we do and think into an act of self-worship, self-dependence, and self-work (Is. 64.6; Rom.3.10-18; Matt. 5.28).
Jesus, the Only Substitute for Rebels
God’s justice will only be satisfied by perfection (Matt. 5.48). God demonstrates His love for us by sending the only suitable substitute (2 Cor. 5.21).
Jesus, the God Who Became Man
Jesus, Himself being God (Col. 2.9) put on humanity and became a man (John 1.14). In His life Jesus showed dependence upon God through perfect obedience to God without committing sin (John 6.38; 1 John 3.5). Jesus fully satisfied the just requirements of God by offering Himself as the sacrifice for rebels through His death on the cross (Rom. 3.25).
Jesus, the Only Means of Restoration
God calls every person to receive His gift of salvation by believing in Him: turning from rebellion and depending upon Jesus’ perfection for forgiveness. God accepted the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross as the exclusive basis for restoration. God demonstrated this acceptance through Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (Acts 17.30-31).
Jesus, the Believer’s Perfection
On the cross, Jesus died in the sinner’s place. God charged the rebel’s sin to Jesus (though He never sinned), so that through the believer’s full dependence upon the merit of Jesus, God would declare the rebel perfect, based upon the sacrifice of Jesus. In this way, God is proven to be just, forgiving, and loving of the one who submits to and depends on Jesus (Rom. 3.26; 4.3-5).
Jesus, the Believer’s Life
Jesus makes it quite clear that He is not interested in competing with any prospective follower’s divided allegiances (Matt. 6.24). Jesus warns all who would come after Him that while salvation is completely free (from our perspective) it will cost us our life! (Luke 14.25-33). Jesus’ followers are to come to Him in submission to His will at conversion, and continue in this posture throughout their earthly life (Col. 3).
Are You a Follower of Jesus?
According to the Bible, Jesus’ followers give clear evidences (1 John 3.10ff) that they are indeed following Him. These evidences are expressed in your life in terms of obedience to God and in your affections as love for God (John 14.15). The Scriptures are clear that followers of Jesus demonstrate evidences of grace in their lives (Eph. 2.10).
Based upon God’s loving exhortation, examine yourself, based upon the Scripture, to make sure that you are truly following Jesus.
It is a healthy and helpful spiritual exercise to examine our own hearts in light of God’s word to determine where we truly stand with Jesus (2 Cor. 13.5; 2 Pet. 1.10)
There are only two ways to respond:
1. Continue rejecting God’s authority (sin)… result: guilt, death and judgment
2. Submit to and depend upon Jesus (faith)… result: forgiveness
Please contact us if you would like more information about following Jesus.