"My life was on a path of deterioration, until I met Jesus."
My Beauty for Ashes story begins when I was sixteen years old. My family was going through a devastating divorce, infested with hatred, malice, and envy that started with a CPS (Child Protective Services) investigation and involved a PPO (Personal Protection Order). The next two years of my life were filled with anger, bitterness, and fear. My life was on a path of deterioration until, I met Jesus.
I had heard about Jesus my whole life from the Roman Catholic church that I was raised in. I was at mass twice a week, and even had religion class every day, because I attended Catholic schools.
That was the problem, I had been acquainted with religion but not a relationship with Jesus.
Religion is man-made tradition that focuses on the workings or methods of mankind to attain right standing with God. This belief is hypocritical, how could an imperfect human attain right standing with a perfect God?
The fact of the matter is, no imperfect human could, unless that human were himself, God. This is where Jesus comes into the picture.
I was invited to attend a play at my friends church. It was the first non-Catholic church I had ever been to. At the end of this play, the Pastor spoke about Jesus in a way I had never heard before; with passion, tenacity and joy.
“God forbid, if you were to die today, do you think you would go to Heaven?” was his question to the crowd.
I thought to myself, “I think so.”
His next statement was, “If you think you are, you will not.”
After hearing this, my stomach felt like it violently dropped to the floor. As I took a moment to recover from the trauma of the statement, my next thought was, “Well, I hope I will go to Heaven.”
His next statement was, “If you hope you are, you will not.”
I gasped under my breath in terror and thought, “I am going to hell when I die.”
My fears came to a halt as he explained that I could know for sure that I was going to Heaven when I die, by accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. And that’s exactly what I chose to do! He invited those in the crowd that would like to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior to come to the front of the church and I was one of them.
Humanity cannot attain right standing with God in the earth or after they die by the ‘good works’ that they have done. If so, how many good works would we need to do? What would be enough? What is the standard of ‘goodness’ measured by?
GOD is GOOD.
Therefore, the standard of ‘goodness’ is God. And He’s perfect. A practical example of a standard of His goodness are the Ten Commandments He gave to humanity. If we were to go through the 10 Commandments and ask ourselves:
Have I ever lied before?
Have I gone to church every Sunday my whole life?
Thought or said that I hated someone?
If we were honest, we would conclude that we are guilty of violating God's standard of goodness by not measuring up to all ten of these Commandments. This is called sin; sin means to miss the mark. Clearly humanity doesn’t measure up to God’s perfect measure of goodness.
So, what? We all die and go to hell because we can’t meet God’s standard?
That sounds cruel and would be if it were true. But the truth is, God created humanity, therefore He knows what we are capable of doing and what we are not capable of doing. And one of those things we are NOT capable of doing is attaining right standing with Him through religion; man-made methods and works of ‘goodness’.
That is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the earth to solve our sin problem. He loves us so much that He doesn’t want us to go to hell; a place of eternal torment and agony. Jesus came into the earth 100% human and 100% God.
How is this possible?
The Bible records in Luke 1:35, the angel Gabriel answers Mary, the future mother of Jesus, the same question, “Gabriel answered, “The Spirit of Holiness will fall upon you and almighty God will spread his shadow of power over you in a cloud of glory! This is why the child born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.”
Jesus had the DNA of God and the DNA of humanity because His mother was Mary and His Father was God. Jesus was the ONLY human to never sin or miss the mark. He met the standard of goodness because He never sinned.
How does this benefit humanity? How does this benefit you?
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with him.”
This means that Jesus (perfect, holy and right as He was/is) took all the sins humanity ever committed, is committing, or will commit, upon Himself and received the consequence, judgement, and punishment for them by being crucified on a cross, dying and going to hell in humanity's place. YOUR sins put Jesus on the cross; every one of them. He BECAME your sin, all of humanity's sin, and even sin itself.
Why did He do this?
John 3:16 reveals why, “For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.”
The love that God has for you drove Him to the cross, the grave, and hell.
He saw you in your hopeless, sinful, destructive state on a journey to hell and He couldn’t watch you make another step in that direction. He had to save you!
Love raised Him out of that grave so that you could be saved from hell and united with Him for all of eternity! The Bible says in Romans 10:9, 10, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
You are meeting Jesus right now.
Religion has been exposed and RELATIONSHIP has been emphasized!
Love is what relationships are built upon and love is what your relationship with Christ will be founded upon. The unconditional, agape, God-kind of love He has for you and your response to that love is to receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.
Jesus has done ALL the work for you. It’s as if you owed a massive debt that you could never repay, but someone else earned the money, paid your debts in full, and provided you with a lifetime of money so you will never have to work again or worry about getting into debt!
All you have to do is receive the check they are giving you.
Choose to believe and receive today, just like I did after that play when I was sixteen years old. To anyone who believes, you can rest in God's work of providing salvation through Jesus Christ.
I am going to lead you in the same prayer that I said that day and if you say it out loud and truly believe it in your heart, you will KNOW that when you die you WILL go to Heaven and you will live Heaven on earth with Jesus before you get there!
Say this: “Heavenly Father, I believe in my heart Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe Jesus died for my sins. God, I’m sorry for all my sins and I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you raised Jesus from the dead and I say with my mouth Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Now I am saved, I have chosen life and I am Heaven bound. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”
If you have said this prayer out loud and meant it in your heart, I want to hear from you! Subscribe to receive prayer, content and future blogs on Beauty For Ashes HOME page.
In the comments write me about your decision to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior today.