The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest

Years ago an instant cake mix was marketed that became a big flop in sales. The instructions said that all you had to do was add water and bake and you had your cake. The company couldn’t understand why it didn’t sell -- until their research discovered that the buying public felt uneasy about a mix that required only water. Apparently, people thought it was too easy. So the company altered the formula and changed the directions to call for adding an egg to the mix in addition to the water. The idea worked and sales jumped dramatically.

It is similar to the reason many people cannot accept the free gift of Salvation God gave us through Jesus Christ. Embracing something so simple as forgiveness of sins and eternal life God’s grace through faith is just too easy. People want to go through a big formula so they can be accepted by God.

When Jesus talked to the very religious Pharisee, Nicodemus about the new birth in John 3. the man was thoroughly confused. When Jesus told him to enter the Kingdom of God he must be born again (or born from above) he found it to simple. He wanted to know if this meant re-entering his mother’s womb. Jesus must have given that line a little chuckle to hear such absurdity. He explained that you must be born of the water and the spirit to enter the kingdom.

While the simplicity of a new birth and a renewal of the life through faith in Jesus Christ sounds too easy, it is not. It requires full commitment and dedication of self through faith. Faith is an easy sounding word, but it is anything but easy. Faith requires trust that obeys whatever the commands of Jesus may be. Jesus once said in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

James wrote in the second chapter of his letter in verses 14-26 of the uselessness of faith that is not accompanied by deeds (or works). He summed it up in verse 26, "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."

The key verse in our series of messages in preparation for Easter (Resurrection Sunday) is Romans 6:4, We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Some versions translate this as “walk in newness of life.” Coming to Christ is all about the death of the old self and the rebirth of the new self in newness of life. Easter is about Resurrection which mean Newness of Life! Jesus rose from the dead with brand new life so that he could give that same life to you. I hope that you are enjoying this series and that you will join us this Sunday with the second message from our series IN HIS STEPS as we share the message, The Steps to New Life based on Titus 3:5-7 which reads like this…

he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Rejoicing with You in the New Life,

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