How to Escape the Fires of Hell
Of all the various type of disasters that befall us as humans, one of the more feared situations is to be trapped in a burning building. Over the past few years there have been several tragic scenes of dance clubs where hundreds of young people have been locked into halls that have burned and the doors were piled high with the dead who could not get out and escape the fire.
I've never been trapped in a burning building, but Bonnie and I will always remember being trapped on a burning elevator in Los Angeles during the 1984 Olympics. Those tense minutes stuck between floors as the smoke of the electric motors began coming into the car will always be riveted in our minds. But think for a moment if you were in a hall crammed with people and a fire broke out and people were cramming against a locked door and you had a handful of the keys that could unlock the door for them, you could dispense those keys if you wanted to. Would you?
What is the actual message that answers someone asking, "What must I do to be saved"?
God says it comes down to this, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will saved," Acts 16:31. And how do I do that? Simply believe that Christ came into the world clothed in human flesh, born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died a subsitutionary death on the cross, rose from the grave, and ascended to the right hand of the Father having accomplished our redemption as our High Priest and coming King.
That sentence is what you could call the essence, or the drive train of the Gospel. You believe that. You believe in the Christ who is the true Christ and in His death and resurrection for you and God gives you His Gracious Salvation. So the key we hold in our hands is to call men and women to that faith. We call them to start believing God who says, "For by grace you are saved," Ephesians 2:8, "through faith."
How? We say, Here, do you want to take the gift? Just trust Christ. Just put your faith, just affirm you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who lived and died for you and rose again. Do you believe that? And acknowledge Christ as your Lord and Savior. That's it. And receive the forgiveness He offers.
How can He do it? How can He punish the sin in our lives at one time and make us His own children at the other? How can He punish us without destroying us?
II Corinthians 5:21 is the answer, and it stands as the greatest verse in the Bible. Fifteen Greek words. If you understand this verse, you understand the Gospel. Fifteen Greek words that define the meaning of the reconciliation message. "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." That's how He did it. That's how God did it. There is the plan. This is the secret of redemption right here.
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