Summary: We are all participants in a spiritual battle, wouldn’t it be wise to determine who is on each side, what they are fighting for and which side you are on? Wouldn’t it be wise to ensure you are prepared for the battle you are in?
Why Must I be Saved?
I had the great privilege of serving in the military for six years. In case you did not know, a person is not recruited to be a general, captain, or sergeant.
A person is recruited to be a soldier with the expectation of growth in knowledge, experience and training SO THAT the soldier can effectively, and successfully, serve and lead other soldiers in the same way.
Every soldier, no matter their rank or job description, must first complete basic training. Why?
Every soldier must be successful with the basics of soldiering before they can effectively serve.
This closely correlates with our spiritual journey. God recruits us into His Army. We are given the choice to receive His invitation. If we join, we come to understand our expectations outlined in God’s word. As we follow our commander in obedience, we are equipped to serve and His mission is accomplished.
There is a battle that began in Genesis and will continue until Jesus fulfills the events recorded in Revelation.
No matter the year or place of your birth, you are a participant in the battle. You cannot be a spectator, nor can you be neutral – you are in the battle.
Since you are in the battle, wouldn’t it be wise to determine who is on each side, what they are fighting for and which side you are on? In addition, wouldn’t it be wise to ensure you are prepared for the battle you are in?
In the coming weeks we will be looking at basic training. I pray it will be useful in one of three ways.
First, that you will come to know the basics of Christianity and experience God’s salvation. Second, having been reconciled to God, you will be reminded of the joy of your salvation. Third, that you will be equipped to share the basics with others.
1. His Perfection (Genesis 1:27-31)
God created perfection. At this point in history, there was no battle. God created everything and everything He created was "very good".
That phrase does not mean it was just "alright" or acceptable.
It means in God’s perfect judgment, everything He created at this time met His perfect standards. There was only good.
2. Our Sin (Genesis 2:16-17)
While it would be perfect to have everyone on the same team headed in the same direction, if man did not willfully choose to follow – he would simply be a puppet.
With this command, God lovingly gave man a choice. Man could freely choose to be on the side that was described as "very good" and experience life or choose to oppose God and experience death.
Choosing to obey God would maintain the original relationship, choosing to disobey God would destroy the relationship. Needless to say, man chose poorly.
That choice was the introduction of sin – which can be described as any offense against our perfectly holy God. Romans 5:12 says sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.
3. The Battle
As a result of that first sin, we are all born opposing God, blazing a trail toward eternal death and misery apart from God.
So, we are engaged in a battle of good and evil. Not good as we describe it or even attempt to live it, but good as God established it – perfect.
Until we can be reconciled to God, we will remain on the side of evil opposing Him. John 10:10 describes the two sides saying, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
So, knowing we are headed toward eternal misery and death, how can we change sides?
Our inclination is to try to do more good. We develop a greater desire to help people in need, give charitable donations, attend worship services, or send money to TV ministries.
How do these activities impact the just punishment of DEATH for your sin? The simple answer is – there is NO impact to the judgment and punishment you face.
You will not encounter less death, less misery or less separation from God for eternity.
4. The Answer
Now we begin to understand why God gave His only Son. (John 3:16) He loved us and provided the way for us to be on His side.
In John 15:16, Jesus said, "You did not choose me, but I chose you…"