It’s a question I have read. It’s a question I have been asked. It’s a question I myself have asked. “Is it possible to live like Jesus?” Maybe I should start by saying that I believe Jesus is God’s Son. I believe He came to earth, as a man. It says pretty clearly in Hebrews that He was made like us, in all things, in every respect. But the Bible says that Jesus didn’t sin, and I wonder why. (Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 4:15-16) My whole life I have heard that, “God looked down at us sinners, and had compassion on us. He loves us, so of course He wants to spend eternity with us. But, being the sinners that we are, He can’t exactly just let us all into heaven, can He? So God sent His Son (or Himself, as many believe) to earth. He came to take the punishment for our sins and die for us, to forgive us our sins, so that we who believe in Him can spend eternity in heaven! Because of His goodness towards us, we love Jesus, and we try to live in such a way that brings praise to His name. But we are just human. We sin.” Every time I heard this, I would get a nagging feeling that something just didn’t add up. Can’t God help us to stop sinning? Isn’t He the Almighty God? Isn’t He powerful enough?
Then one day I heard a different story that finally made sense: God looked at the world, at the men and women He Himself created. He saw all kinds of people. He saw people living openly in sin. He also saw people who were trying to keep His commandments – people who were desperately trying to be obedient to the laws He had made for them. All these people had something in common. Because God does love us so much that He actually wants to spend eternity with us, He was full of sorrow. But because of His own laws, laws that are unchangeable, God simply cannot allow people who live in sin to enter His kingdom, a kingdom that consists of righteousness, peace and joy. (Romans 14:17)
So God sent His own Son down to earth to save us. Jesus died for our sins, and God promised to forgive us our sins if we accept Jesus as Lord in our lives. But that was only the beginning of God’s plan! The most important part of the story of Jesus wasn’t the fact that He died on the cross for us. It was the life He lived! He was here, He was a man, and He was tempted—in all points, just like us. (Hebrews 4:15) But He didn’t sin! He hated the lusts and desires in His human flesh them so much that He denied and crucified them—every day He put sin to death. That’s why the death on the cross on Calvary didn’t have power over Him, and He rose from the dead and showed Himself to His disciples, before returning to heaven to be with His Father!
Jesus is our forerunner; He lived the life, and made footsteps for us to follow. (1 Peter 2:21-23) It says clearly that, as His disciples, we are called to follow in the footsteps of a man who committed no sin. You see, Jesus didn’t just go back to heaven to hang out with His Father, and leave us here struggling in our own sin and unhappiness. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to help, teach and give us power to overcome. Not just anybody receives the Holy Spirit, though. God sends Him to those who are tired of their own sin, and who obey Him. (Acts 5:32)
We need to pray for help to stop doing that which we know is wrong—to stop doing our own will instead of God’s will. Jesus rejoices when He sees that we long to serve Him with our whole heart, and He sends His Holy Spirit to help us further on the way of salvation, and little by little, shows us more things that need to be crucified. In this way, we become more and more like Jesus; we become full of righteousness, peace and joy. The virtues of the Kingdom of Heaven become our life, and we can look forward to spending eternity with our forerunner, the one who lived and died for us! This story—this story that makes so much more sense to me—well, I don’t think it’s just a story. I believe it is the truth. I believe it’s for me. This is why I am a Christian. This Sunday at South Side we will continue with our sermon series entitled “Upgrade” where we talk about upgrades we need to become like Jesus. Worship starts at 10:45, and we would love to have you come and join us.
South Side Church of Christ