“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” 1John 4:1-3
Salvation is not a message about a soft-hearted God who feels sorry for men and grants them forgiveness for their sins if they are repentant enough. Neither is salvation something to be received after enough personal restitution has been paid for past sins. God has not winked at our sin and pretended like we would do better next time. According to God’s timeless Word, sin must be atoned for by death. That’s why the message of salvation revolves completely around Jesus coming “in the flesh.”
John says it’s absolutely essential that one “confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” Why? Because He came to die for our sins. Jesus, who is God, became a man in order to bear the sins of the world and die because of them. Since He was born of a virgin, He was born as a man without sin. Therefore, He could offer Himself as a perfect, substitutionary, and sinless sacrifice for our sin. To reject this reality is to reject the only legitimate path to reconciliation with God.
I wish there were others ways to God but that is impossible. God cannot compromise Himself by ignoring the implications of man’s sin. To somehow bypass a righteous response to sin is to deny the reality of the holiness of God.
The harsh reality of sin is that it demands a righteous judgment of death. The ugliness of the Cross clearly describes this Divine judgment. Sin has been completely paid for by Jesus. To settle for any other kind of “religious” treatment of sin is to put a Band-Aid over a hemorrhaging wound. You may, or may not slow down the bleeding but eventually it will lead to death. The Bible says that “after death, comes the judgment.” The question is who will pay for our sin. If Jesus died for our sin, then we have access to restored relationship with God and a new, forgiven, and resurrected life. If we reject God’s solution and choose to die for our sin, then we will be judged for our sin.
God obviously loves us. Otherwise He wouldn’t have died in our place for our sin. Now, the question is “Will you reject His love…and die for your own sin?” or “Will you humbly and unworthily receive His gracious gift of life that was paid for on the Cross and is now being offered to you by way of the resurrection?”
Bottomline…that’s the message of every “fisher of men.”