One or the Other

There are two types of people in the world. You are One or the Other.

  • Those without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ are One;
  • Those with a saving relationship with Jesus Christ are the Other.

Ephesians 2:1-10, written to those already following Christ, contrasts One and the Other. 

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

Verse 4, with the word “But”, is the hinge between: before & after; without & with; lost & found; drowning & rescued; death & life; natural & supernatural; One & the Other.

On your own you are One

  • dead to God (verses 1 & 5)
  • drowning in the world (verse 2)
  • living my way (verse 3)

With God you are the Other

  • no longer dead to God, but alive with Christ (verse 5)
  • no longer drowning in the world, but rescued by grace (verse 5)
  • no longer living my way, but living God’s way (verses 6-7)

“Christ died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again,” states 2 Corinthians 5:15. You get new life.

God wants to change your life. He offers you true, eternal life. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins. You just have to commit your life to follow him.

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to be called children of God,” encourages John 1:12. You can become God’s child right now.

Consider the amazing transformation God offers:

  • righteousness instead of guilt
  • honor above shame
  • power opposed to fear
  • purity rather than defilement
  • meaning versus emptiness
  • community in place of alienation.

Your life may be defined by One OR it can be transformed into the Other.

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,” assures Romans 10:9. You can be rescued right away.

If you have never committed your life to follow Jesus, then you can pray a simply like this:

God, I know I have broken your law. I humbly ask that you forgive my sins. I commit my life to follow Jesus forever. Amen.

If you did, then let someone know—me or a committed Christ follower you trust—and start your new life of following Jesus without delay. You are no longer the lost One. You have become the found Other.

If you previously have committed your life to Christ but have returned to old ways, then you can turn back to Christ in repentance today. You return like you came, by grace, as Ephesians 2:5&8 teaches. You are created to serve (Ephesians 2:10) as determined by Sovereign God.

One or the Other? Following my way or following Jesus. Serving self or serving God. Which will you be?

Note: This is my Gospel invitation shared at the conclusion of each 2013 performance of This Day of Resurrection.

Weight Limit

"It doesn't take a theological degree to win someone for Christ. It takes love willing to build a bridge sufficient to bear the weight of the Gospel." - Clarence Gillett

A retired missionary and current friendship partner sharing the love of Jesus Christ with international students, Clarence knows what he is talking about. If you took a snapshot of Clarence, he'd look like your average American fella. But to meet him, observe him, and hear him speak you'd perceive much more.

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," states Colossians 3:12.

Had Clarence memorized that verse? Had he decided to make it the hallmark of his life? Or had he walked so closely with Jesus that the character of our Lord just shown through?

Clarence lives his words. Walks the talk. Living as a loving Christ follower. Sharing that love by his actions from his character.

Colossians 3 continues its challenge in verses 13-14, "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

Clarence made me think.

He should make you think, Christ follower.

Am I sharing the good news of new life in Jesus?

Am I loving others like Jesus as I share?

Are compassion and kindness traits I am known for?

Would my friends call me humble and gentle?

Am I patient?

Does my family know me as forbearing and forgiving?

And what about love. 

Do I love like Jesus?

Freely. Passionately. Winsomely.

It takes God-powered, other-centered love to build a bridge that will bear the weight of the Gospel.

The bridges I build will be limited by love I give.

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Who Is This Jesus?

“Who is this Jesus?,” asks one line of dialogue in our Easter drama, This Day of Resurrection. That single question is a life-changing question that every one of us must consider.

Jesus asked his disciples in Matthew 16:13, speaking of himself, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They answered that others though he was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Then Jesus made the question personal in Matthew 16:15, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

That was Peter’s belief. A man who lived with Jesus, following him as his disciple for three years - day in, day out, observing his every action & hearing his every word - Peter believed Jesus was God’s One & Only Son, the one way Savior of Humanity from our sins.

Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one & only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And if you believe in Jesus as the Son of God & Savior of your sins you are not condemned. John 3:18 goes on, “but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one & only son.”

So, even today, each & every person who lives has a decision to make. A personal decision. A life-changing decision. Who is this Jesus? Do you believe He is God’s Son or not? Do you believe you have sinned, falling short of God’s plan & need the free gift of salvation God offers?

The question is not, who do other people think Jesus is, but who do I believe he is? 

He is either Liar, Lunatic, or Lord. If Jesus is not Lord, then there are only two alternatives.

If he were a liar, then he’d be a hypocrite for teaching truthfulness while deliberately deceiving his followers. Furthermore, being a liar doesn’t coincide with the results of his life & teachings. Someone who lived as Jesus lived, taught as Jesus taught, & died as Jesus died can’t be a liar.

If Jesus is not a liar, could he have thought himself to be God by mistake? Was he crazy, a lunatic? He could be both sincere & wrong. He’d be deluded & self-deceived, but someone with such abnormalities and imbalance could not teach & live so genuinely before so many people.

If he is not a liar or a lunatic, then he must be Lord. This is not a passing, philosophical argument for your consideration, but a question of eternal life & death. John 20:31 says, “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you might have life in his name.” Eternal life or death hangs in the balance with this question. 

The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) and that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life,” (Romans 6:23). All you have to do is confess your sins - all the wrong you have ever done, violations of God’s law - and receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” promises John 1:12.

Years later, when writing the book we know as 1 Peter, Peter recorded in 1:18-21, "It was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you beleive in God, who raised him from the dead & glorified him, and so your faith & hope are in God."

God gave you Jesus in order that you might have a personal, saving relationship with Him. God loves you & wants you to settle the question, Who is this Jesus?, with the answer, "He is my Lord & Savior."

To make that decision you can pray a simple prayer like this: God, I know I have sinned, but I know you will forgive me. I believe Jesus is Lord as he said. I want to make him Lord of my life. Thank you for forgiving me & making me your child forever. Amen.

Share a comment of who Jesus is to you. Or, if you offered the prayer above, please let me know.