“Love is not just one of God’s characteristics; it is God’s nature, God’s essence. For God to not love would mean that God is not God.”
The true Light who enlightens everyone was coming into the world- John
Born to Be Loved
Everyone wants love. It’s in our spiritual DNA. More than a great career and personal achievements – humans need to be loved and to love. To know God is to know LOVE!
We love because God first loved us, – 1 John 4:19
God is Love
Love is not just one of God’s characteristics; it is God’s nature, God’s essence. For God to not love would mean that God is not God.
Still many see God as petty, vindictive, punishing and fearful.
Jesus came to ENLIGHTEN darkened minds about who God truly is. John, the last writer in the Bible, described God’s love:
God is love. – 1 John 4:8
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the forgiveness of our sins. – 1 John 4:10
For God solved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. – 1 John 4:16
The “Divine Dance”
Before cosmos existed there was God. Jesus called this “time” before time “the bosom of the Father”, and he said - I was there.
It was in this divine dance of love between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that God said:
Let us make people in our image, – Genesis 1:26
Since God created people in His image, it is natural for us to desire love.
Without God, negative forces like fear, anxiety, loneliness, greed and hatred easily take over.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, – 1 John 4:7 - Peter Youngren
People had the ability to choose to walk away from God, and that’s what they did. They thought that they could make a better life without God – invent their own purpose.
All like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way, – Isaiah 53:6
To walk away from the love we were intended for is called sin.
In the Greek language the word for sin is hamartia – to ‘miss the mark’.
All have sinned... there is no one who is righteous... no one understands. – Romans 3:10,23
This is the sad human condition; minds are in darkness about God. We are missing out on the love we were intended to know. Still God continues to love:
I have loved you with an everlasting love, with loving kindness have I drawn you.– God (Jeremiah 31:3)
The Big Questions
After humans walked away from God, the quest for self-discovery began. There are four questions that humans everywhere ask:
Who am I?
Where did I come from?
Why am I here?
Where am I going?
A Universal Quest
Something is amiss – people no longer have answers to life’s most important questions.
God describes the human condition as lost. Something of immense worth has beenlost.
The word “lost” is not derogatory. It means that God sees each person with infinite value. Still, because our minds have been darkened, people don’t see God’s love for them.
With minds in darkness, people invent a divine in their own image – often a corrupt deity, who can be paid off by prayers, sacrifices, meditations and a host of religious activities.
They are darkened in their understanding and alienated from the life of God because of ignorance, – Ephesians 4:18
Jesus said, No one has seen God at any time, – John 1:18
The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the father, he has declared God, – John 1:18
This cuts to the core as to why Jesus came. He was on a mission to dispel darkness from people’s minds, and to reveal who God is.
God is Just Like Jesus
Jesus said, He who has seen Me has seen the Father, – John 14:9
Jesus is the express image of God’s person, – Hebrews 1:3
It pleased the Father that in Him (Jesus Christ) all the fullness should dwell, – Colossians 1:19
In Him (Jesus Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, – Colossians 2:9
God didn’t want people to be ignorant, or to worship deities in fear and insecurity.
Jesus forgave sin, healed the sick, accepted those who society had rejected, brought hope to the hopeless and lifted the downtrodden.
God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved, – John 3:17
Enlightment begins when we discover that Jesus shows us God. Suddenly our minds are no longer darkened – the light is coming.
The true Light who enlightens every man was coming into the world, – John 1:9
I pray that your mind may be enlightened,– Ephesians 1:18
Jesus said, I am the light of the world, – John 8:2
Why Jesus Died
Many religions make sacrifices in order to appease an angry deity. Sadly, even 2,000 years ago many had this erroneous thought about Jesus’ death. They said:
We esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. – Isaiah 53:4
But there was no hostility between God, the Father and Jesus Christ. God didn’t pour His anger on Jesus. The ancient writer explains:
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities,– Isaiah 53:4
Jesus’ blood was not shed to appease an angry God, but to cleanse our sins.
He Himself is the sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world, – 1 John 2:2
Who Needed Jesus’ Death
God didn’t need for Jesus to die in order for God to love us – God always loved people. We needed the sacrifice of Jesus to know God’s love. Jesus died for us!
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends, – John 15:13
He personally carried our sins in his own body on the cross, so that we might be dead to sin and live for righteousness, – 1 Peter Youngren 2:24
Why Jesus’ Blood is Important
Jesus’ blood was not a payment to God because God didn’t require payment. His blood is for us – to cleanse from every sin, shame and guilt.
The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. – 1 John 1:7
God, the eternal storehouse of love, poured His love through the blood that flowed through Jesus’ open wounds.
This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins, – Matthew 26:28
But there is more; without Jesus’ death there would be no new life:
If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you’re still in your sins!, – 1 Corinthians 15:17
Why Jesus Rose from the Dead
Hades is the kingdom of death. To enter Hades one must first die. That’s why Jesus had to die – to go to Hades to unravel the power of sin and death.
Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? Oh Hades, where is your victory? – 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
Jesus said, I am He who lives, I was dead, and behold, I am alive forever more! And I have the keys of Hades (Hell) and of death. – Revelation 1:18
He (Jesus) is also able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives,– Hebrews 7:25
To sum it up:
The unlimited God, the Eternal One, revealed in Jesus, died for our sins. Then Jesus entered Hades to defeat death and to rise again in order to provide eternal life.
The Good News
God’s message to the world is called Good News. Here are two vital components of that message:
#1. We were reconciled to God through the death of his Son. – Romans 5:10a
#2. Having been reconciled, we shall be saved through Christ’s life! – Romans 5:10b
Because Jesus is alive, people can be saved – restored to a relationship of love with God.
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Himfrom the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation,– Romans 10:9-10
Millions still see God as petty, small and vindictive. But that’s not God. Millions have also felt the sting of guilt, insecurity and shame?
Has religion lied to you, making you think that God is angry towards you? That you must perform religious deeds to make yourself worthy before God?
When we believe what Jesus did for us and what he told us about God, enlightment begins.
The new life in relationship with God is a gift.
To understand this, it is vital to know what the word “grace” means – unmerited, unearned favor from God.
By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, so that no one may boast, – Ephesians 2:8-9
Your new life is free. - Peter Youngren
Whosoever is a big word and Jesus used it often. While many forms of religion exclude people, Jesus includes everyone:
Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. – Acts 2:17
Whosoever believes shall have everlasting life. – John 3:16
“Whosoever drinks of the water that I give shall never thirst again.” – John 4:14
Once we see who God truly is and what Jesus’ death and resurrection have done for us, it is natural to want to receive God’s gift of eternal life.
Change Your Mind!
If you have thought that you must earn God’s favor, change your mind, and see God – full of grace and love.
Discard grotesque views of God as petty and vindictive and believe the truth.
Repentance comes from the Greek word, metanoia, and means to change one’s mind.
Change your mind about God and see God revealed in Jesus.
In His name repentance (changing one’s mind) and forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed to all nations, – Luke 24:47
Repent (change your mind) and believe the good news!,– Mark 1:15
God has granted repentance (changing one’s mind) unto life, – Acts 11:18
There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (has a change of mind)– Luke 15:10
Believe and Confess
One man asked “What shall I do to be saved?”, and he received the answer:
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your house shall be saved, – Acts 16:31
Believe who Jesus is – God from God to show us God: eternal, without beginning or end, the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last.
Believe that you are loved – Jesus’ death for every person proves God’s love.
Believe what Jesus did – He put your sins away.
Believe that Jesus is alive now.
Now Christ is risen from the dead, – 1 Corinthians 15:20
Then confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. Are you ready to pray and confess?
Pray Like This:
Heavenly Father, thank you for steadfast love! Thank you for proving your love by sending Jesus Christ to put away my sins and to give me new life. I change my thinking; I don’t think I can save myself or make myself righteous. Instead I receive the free gift of new life in Christ. I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and I confess with my mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. Thank you God that I belong with you forever.
Live By Grace
Some think that we receive new life in Christ as a gift, but once you receive it you must earn any further blessings from God. That’s a mistake!
The same unmerited favor that brought this new life to you will also help you to live with God.
When you face struggles, temptations or you don’t know what to do, connect with the Christ who now lives in you. His grace is always with you.
Titus, one of the writers of the ancient Scriptures, said:
“The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives, – Titus 2:11-12
Look at that! The same grace from God that gives salvation will also teach you live right.
Help in Your New Life
Whatever life brings you – stay focused on Jesus. Here are some of the ways that this happens:
Communicate with God in prayer. Sometimes you talk and sometimes you listen. Ask God to help you. You can always come to God in the name of Jesus.
Be aware that Christ lives in you. When you are still in your mind you will recognize that this is true. You’re connected to God. Stay awakened to the new life!
Christ in you, the hope of glory, – Colossians 1:27
Examine yourself... don’t you know your own selves that Jesus Christ is in you? – 2 Corinthians 13:5
Study the Bible. It is a progressive revelation of God. You see God more clearly the further you read. All the writers, prophets and philosophers before Jesus only knew a little bit about God.
The full expression of God is found in Jesus.
Jesus said that the whole Bible– the books of Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets – all speak of Him. Reading the Bible will be a treasure hunt – you will discover great insights about Jesus.
I recommend that you start by reading the part of the Bible called the Gospel of John. It’s the quickest way to discover more about Jesus Christ.
Church is not a building – it’s people. You will be empowered by spending time with others whose lives have also been enlightened by God’s grace. Together, you will encourage one another, pray for one another, and help one another to know God better.
I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. – Jesus
Find a group of Jesus followers, people who have also discovered God’s love, in your community - Peter Youngren.
Eternal Life Now and Forever
The enlightened life is ‘Eternal Life’, and it starts now and goes on forever.
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. – John 17:3
Once you die physically, you will discover that:
To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, – 2 Corinthians 5:8
Jesus promised that you will have a Helper, who will always be with you – The Holy Spirit. If circumstances or ideas come to pull you away from the love you were created for, ask the Holy Spirit to help you.
The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.– Jesus
With the help of the Holy Spirit, the light of Jesus will continue to light up your path, brighter and brighter.
Welcome to the enlightened life!