Your Witness Matters
By Benjamin H. Liles
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. ~ 1 Peter 3:15, New King James
Your own personal testimony of how Jesus set you free from sin and death is an important one. Peter is saying essentially, "But ·respect Christ as the holy Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have in godly fear and humility" (Expanded Bible rendition). An example is my own.
I have always had head knowledge that our Lord and Savior came to set me free from sin and death, but I didn't know what that meant to me on a personal level. I didn't understand He wanted a relationship with me, period. I was under the penalty of the law, which says that I have disobeyed God as I was following other things than Him. I lusted after women, money, and the likes. It wasn't until I realized I lacked His grace and mercy that I had a sense there was more to life than simply going through life.
While I came to Jesus shortly after I was married to my wife, Tanya, December 17, 2009, it wasn't until December 24, 2009, I was baptized. I thought that years ago I had accepted the Messiah as mine, but in reality, I only accepted a form of Jesus. In a way, I made Jesus an idol. An idol is something you make within either your head or with your hands. I worshiped a form of Jesus who simply died for me. I didn't understand He did more than that. What the Laws of Moses does is point out where we miss God. Jesus fulfills God's commands to the fullest. His death makes it possible to have access to the Father. I see that now since I have truly been made right with Him.
So, the result is I started this blog as I sensed an urgency that there are those in life who struggle with the same things I do. We all struggle with certain addictions, such as hate, lust, disobedience, and all it entails. And here's the thing - Jesus paid for it all by taking the punishment that rightfully belongs to us. If you ever read His words to the disciples about how to pray, He uses the words, "forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us" (Matthew 6:12, The Lord's Prayer).
Jesus explains to everyone within the gospel stories what this good news is: The kingdom of God has come near. I wrote this in the article titled The Purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, "Numerous prophets in the Old Testament not only told of a Messiah who would come and conquer the world but also told of a suffering servant who would die on our behalf (Isaiah quickly comes to mind). But look also at the Levitical laws, in the book of Leviticus. Passages that say, 'And an unblemished lamb, without defect or spot, will be slaughtered for the sins of the people' (my paraphrase, Exodus 12:5)."
In all the articles I have written, and you can find all of them on this website, I always give more than one scripture reference as to how Jesus fulfilled the Laws and the Prophets and the Writings that are given in the Jewish scriptures. Just as much as I have once put down the Messiah, all of us do. Jesus said we would do that because we don't know Him, kind of like you wouldn't know me as we aren't friends. Until we decide He's worth knowing we treat Him as though He's the enemy.
Let me ask you this, would you want to hurt a doctor who removed a cancerous tumor from you? Could you hate someone who wanted to know you well enough to take care of that? One last question on that line: Would you do everything you could if that same doctor took your cancer and bore it on your behalf, so no one else would die from it? That's what Jesus did on the cross. He removed from us the source that contaminates our hearts. He gives to us what is already His. He has power to heal and that is His grace. We can live in that and also extending that to others as well.
Your unique story which can impact someone else to live for Jesus is going to be different from mine. You may have to suffer for it and even pay for it with your life. This world is at odds with Jesus because it doesn't recognize Him as Lord and Savior. It cannot comprehend Him, not one bit. So, think about how Jesus touched you and your life. How would you want the Father to hold you when it comes to influencing someone else in their life? We need to do those things. Jesus did it for us.
Father, I thank You always for the ability I have to give others life as You have given to me. I ask that I always have the words needed to give others. If these people You call to be Yours need prayer, allow them to leave a comment so I can pray for them. More than anything Lord, they need a Savior as much as I needed one myself. Help them to know Jesus, Your Son, as I have. Allow them to see the man who bore their sins, their disease, at the cross, allowing them to be made whole as well as to have access to You. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.