God’s Answer to Today’s Problems
By David Brandt Berg
True love, the love of God and of fellow man, is the solution to many of the problems people have faced in every age and generation!—The Spirit of God’s divine love, which helps us to fulfill His great commandment to love one another. Jesus said the greatest commandments were first to love God and then to love thy neighbor as thyself. Herein, He said, are all the law and all the prophets, (Matthew 7:12; 22:37–40) or as Solomon said, herein is the whole duty of man: to love God and to keep His commandments. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
God’s answer to the problems of today as well as to the problems of the past is the love of God and each other. That is still God’s solution, even in such a complex, confused, and highly complicated society as that of the world today. If we love God, we can love each other, and even respect ourselves as His creation. We can then follow His rules of life, liberty, and the possession of happiness.
Jesus Himself said that you must become as a little child to enter His spiritual kingdom of joy and happiness, a blissful state of mind and the spiritual kingdom of God on earth. In fact, He told a learned doctor of the law, “Except ye become as a little child, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven!” (Matthew 18:3) He even said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see or understand the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
This, of course, was quite an enigma to this obviously learned old gentleman, a “rabbi of Israel” to whom Jesus was speaking. To this very well-educated teacher of the law, salvation was apparently in knowledge and great education and the wisdom of the ancients, such as the Torah and the Talmud. But here Jesus was telling him very simply, as is proclaimed in our very popular theme song around the world, “You Gotta Be a Baby to Go to Heaven!” In other words, you must accept God’s love and truth as the word of your heavenly Father to His little child—you—and through the acceptance of this good news of His love as manifested in His Son, Jesus Christ.
That this simple truth was very difficult for this educated rabbi to understand was obvious from his reaction and literal interpretation, wondering if Jesus was speaking of some kind of physical miracle of material rebirth. But Jesus quickly explained that He was not speaking of a physical rebirth from a fleshly bag of water, but a spiritual rebirth of man’s spirit and spiritual attitudes, performed by a supernatural miracle of the Spirit of God Himself—the gift of a new spiritual heart, so to speak, from the Lord. (See John 3:1–10)
What Jesus was doing by this was making it very plain that we cannot save ourselves by our own works, our own goodness, our own attempts to keep His laws and to love Him, even our own endeavors to find and follow His truth. He was saying that salvation is a gift of God performed by a miraculous transformation of our lives when we accept His truth in the love of His Son Jesus by the work of God’s Spirit. When we receive Him, His Spirit in us will then empower us to do the humanly impossible: love God and man!
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship.” (Ephesians 2:8–10) So you cannot save yourself, no matter how good you try to be. You can’t be good enough to earn merit or deserve the heavenly perfection of His own holy salvation by His own grace, love, and mercy.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him [Jesus, His own Son] the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) Read the rest of this 53rd chapter of Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet, if you want a beautiful picture of the love of God as shown in His Son Jesus taking the punishment of our own sins in Himself on the tree. “For He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people… when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin… and hath poured out His soul unto death… and He bare the sin of many!”
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:14–16)
Salvation is just that simple! All you have to do is receive Jesus, God’s Son, as your Savior by asking Him into your heart. You can do it right now, if you want God’s answer to your problems and His love to fill your heart and life with joy unspeakable and full of glory, with a new plan and purpose in living. He’s just that wonderful! Why not try Him?
As I used to tell my children when they were little: “God is our great Father in heaven and we are His children on earth. We’ve all been naughty and deserve a spanking, haven’t we? But Jesus, our big brother, loved us and the Father so much that He knew the spanking would hurt us both, so he offered to take it for us. So God let Him and promised to forgive us if we would love and thank Jesus for it and let His Spirit live in our hearts and lives from now on and obey His Word by letting Him love others through us.”
Then I would lead them in a prayer, and you can pray it now if you wish: “Dear Lord, please forgive me for being bad and naughty and deserving a spanking. Thank You so much for sending Jesus, Your Son, to take my spanking for me. I now receive Him as my Savior and as Your Son and ask Him to come into my heart and help me to be good and love You and others by Your Spirit. Help me to read Your Word and obey it and try to help others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
We realize that many people may have misunderstood this instantaneous, miraculous, and supernatural change of mind, heart, and life which occurs by the power of God’s Spirit in this spiritual transformation which God calls being born again, or a spiritual rebirth, it is such a drastic change.
If you will recall some of the Bible stories you may have heard about some of the instantaneous transformations of life, mind, and heart which befell some of God’s greatest characters at some crisis time by the power of God’s Spirit—such as Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, some of the folks Jesus Himself called or healed, and His own apostles, as well as many other men of God throughout history—you will realize that this is actually nothing new, but something which God has been doing throughout the ages in the lives of men.
Sometimes it happens so suddenly and so completely and there is such a drastic change that it can be very dramatic and much misunderstood. Many have even been thought, like the apostle Paul, to have suddenly gone mad, because there has been such a sudden change in their lives and their way of thinking, speaking, and living. Their whole attitude toward life and others changed.
Let me remind you that this has been a very common miracle of God throughout history. Jesus called it being born again of His Spirit, and Paul called it the new birth in which “old things are passed away and all things are become new” and “ye are become new creatures in Christ Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The Bible calls it “putting off the old man and putting on the new,” (Ephesians 4:24) and it is often such a remarkable transformation and actual personality change that God’s Word likens it to the death and burial of the old and a resurrection of the new to an entirely new life and way of living.
The great St. Augustine had been a libertine and a profligate while in college. But then one day after his conversion, as he tells it in his own writings, he was walking down the street when one of his old girlfriends passed him by, and he didn’t seem to recognize her. So she turned and called after him, “Augustine, it is I!” To which he replied, “Yes, I know. But I am no longer I!” As the apostle says, “It is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me, and the life that I now live, I live by the grace of the Son of God!” (Galatians 2:20)
God is still alive today and just as powerfully changing lives!
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