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1. Everything we believe in Christianity is based on a person, Jesus Christ. We are not a religion based on a system of beliefs, an ideology. We are not a political party, or a popular movement. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth, Who, as a proven historical fact, lived 2000 years ago, is our Savior and Lord, that He is fully God and fully man. We base this on what Jesus said about Himself. Logically, there are only three options to Who Jesus is. He was either a liar, a lunatic or He is our Lord. (John 14:6)
2. The covenants of the Old Testament led to and are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, like us in all things except sin. Christ is the fulfillment of God's plan of salvation (Matthew 5:17). Christ didn't just come out of nowhere - through God the Father, He planned on saving man and bringing man into eternal life.
3. Christ died for us out of love: He loves each one of us personally and wants us to be forever with Him in paradise. No matter what your image or understanding of Christ is, the bottom line to Jesus is His love for us - there is nothing in the universe as powerful, nor as real. (Romans 5:8) Christ would have died for you and you alone, even if you were the only person who existed. Our salvation - our ability to be God's own children - is possible by the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Paschal Mystery (1 Corinthians 5:7).
4. We have a part to play in Christ's salvation - we have to respond to it. We are called to participate in Christ's Paschal Mystery and to imitate it by personally committing our lives to Him. Salvation comes from Christ alone, through forming a covenant (family) relationship with Him.
5. Let’s look closely at what it means to be in a relationship with Jesus. The bottom-line is that Jesus has loved us first. He has given us life; He has died for us on the Cross, He has given us His very life in the Sacraments – all as free gifts because of His love for us. Jesus wants us to respond to Him by allowing Him to change us and transform us to be more like Him. Unfortunately, we often think of a ‘relationship’ with Jesus as simply a protestant or Bible-Christian topic. Everything in the Church is Christocentric, Christ-centered. It is Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, who leads us into the intimate life of the Trinity. Eternal life is about spending our entire heavenly existence in communion with the Trinity, and it is only through Jesus that this happens. Jesus is the Lord of Lords, the Lord of the universe. Once you understand this concept, then your relationship with Him can start to take definition.
6. What exactly is our relationship with Jesus? Our relationship with Jesus is one of Friend, Brother, Master, Savior, Son of God, Healer, Advocate, etc. As a follower of Christ, we are called to relate to Jesus as Lord. The title 'Lord' means that we give Jesus submission and control over our lives. This does not mean that Jesus looks down on us, but it means that we find meaning literally in Christ's 'mission'. Jesus has a plan that He is trying to accomplish in the world, and the way we follow that plan is to submit to Him, committing our lives to Him over anything else out there.
7. How do we respond to Jesus? Our lives are to be about Living the Paschal Mystery, dying to ourselves and rising to a new life in Christ. The Paschal Mystery refers primarily to Jesus' death and resurrection. It is 'paschal', which refers to the Passover of the Old Testament, the death of the lamb which leads to the salvation of the Israelites. It is also a 'mystery', something that we couldn't understand unless God showed it to us. Christ's Paschal mystery is that, through His death. God brought Him to new life. Christ went through this not so we would be exempt from death, but to show us how to trust God with our entire lives. Therefore, our lives are to imitate the Paschal Mystery; specifically, we are to die to sin and mistrust of God, give Him full control, and be brought to new and better life in Christ. Dying to ourselves is what it means to make Jesus the Lord. When we die to ourselves, we take a back seat to Jesus. He becomes the driver of our lives. What we need to identify are all the things we need to die to: sin, and any behavior separates us from God, and the roots of sin, such as the desire to control, the desire to have power over others, the desire to be popular, the desire to not face our responsibilities, etc.