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Good news! God saves every person who repents of his sin and puts his faith in Jesus Christ.

But what does it mean to be “saved”? It’s much more than cosmic fire insurance — although escape from God’s final judgment upon unrepentant sinners is certainly one part of it.

Salvation includes the restoration of everything we lost when mankind fell from innocence into rebellion. God remedies our fall into guilt with righteousness. God remedies our fall into slavery by defeating our Adversary, like he defeated Pharaoh of old. God remedies our fall into isolation and futility by creating bonds of peace and fellowship. God remedies our fall into death with eternal, resurrection life. God remedies our fall into sickness and sorrow by wiping every tear from our eyes. And even beyond these things, God elevates us to the status of children and heirs, kings and priests, and partakers of the divine nature.

How are these things possible? They are based on the incarnation, obedient life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.

Jesus was no ordinary man. He was (and is) divine as well as human. But even more, he is the “second Adam”; or, the “head” of the church; or, the mediator of God’s covenant with his people. So Christ not only represents God to us; he also represents us before God. Therefore, God considers Christ’s perfect obedience as ours. God considers Christ’s discharging of the penalty for sin — his horrific death on the Cross — as ours too. And Christ’s triumph over death is the guarantee of our own triumph over death at the end of the age.

To participate in these blessings, we must belong to Christ by means of faith in him. Thankfully, God sends us his Holy Spirit to replace our natural pride, self-deception, and blindness with a new heart — a heart capable of repentance and faith.

Believers are no longer spiritually dead, guilty and rebellious, but considered righteous and alive toward God in Jesus Christ. Now there is nothing to separate us from God’s love or the richness of his blessing. God gives us all the gifts of salvation, including the strength we need for this life, and all the prospects we could wish for in the next.

And how will we respond to so great a salvation? By thanking and worshiping God. By living up to our new identity as his children and saints. By fighting our natural bent toward sin, in the power of God’s Spirit. By serving others in God’s name and sharing his good news. And by finding satisfaction for our souls in Christ who cares for us, and in the extravagant love of the Father who sent him. In other words, by glorifying God, and enjoying him for ever.

We urge you: be reconciled to God. Repent of your sins, and be rescued from the misery, guilt, and death that they have brought you by putting your faith in Jesus Christ. As God himself declares: “Blessed is the man who trusts in him.”