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Summary: I spent the last couple of weeks talking about how God and Jesus are the real thing. And with that comes the truth that real is better than counterfeit. But why is it better? What is so great about being a Christian?

WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT BEING A CHRISTIAN? (part one)

I spent the last couple of weeks talking about how God and Jesus are the real thing. And with that comes the truth that real is better than counterfeit. But why is it better? You have tried the store brand items that just don't measure up to the brand name items. Sometimes the store brand is pretty close; sometimes what you're paying for with the brand named item is just a name. But we all know that more often than not the original is the best.

Most of the time we will choose real over imitation any day. Why? Two reasons-we have tried both and it's clear that real is better. Or, we love the real so much we wouldn't think of trying anything else. And we would be able to explain to someone why the one we choose is so wonderful. We tell them about the quality of the product. We tell them about the durability, the performance, the taste (if it's food); whatever the reasons we have for our stamp of approval. But what about Christianity? What is so great about being a Christian?

I am a child of God.

1) Through faith in Jesus.

Perhaps you've heard people say, "we're all God's children". The reality is, we are all God's creation but we need to become a Christian in order to be part of the family. Gal. 3:26-27, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."

We become God's child through faith in Christ, expressing itself in repentance and baptism. In Galatians 3 Paul is arguing whether we are saved by faith or by observing God's laws. The law is good but it can only point out what the expectation is; not give us the power to keep it. The law shows us God's standard and reveals our sinfulness; since if we break any part of it we are a lawbreaker. We can't be successful at keeping the law; therefore we needed a Savior.

The Jews thought they were God's children through their ancestry; through Abraham. But Paul points out that Abraham was not justified by keeping the law but by faith. Therefore, we are not God's child through the law but by faith in Jesus, who fulfilled the requirements of the law by his sinless life and sacrifice on the cross.

In John 8, Jesus challenged the Jews who rejected the idea of their need to be set free.

John 8:31-47, "To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.’”

“Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does.”

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

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