Jesus once said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (King James Version Bible, John 14:6). This is the verse that sums up what Salvation means and should be for mankind. Salvation under Christianity 101, means “ultimate redemption from sin and reconciliation to God.” Considering the above verse and definition provided for, Salvation does not come with only good works, nor does confession nor righteousness. The path of redemption is only through Jesus Christ, and one must believe and accept Him as Lord and Savior. The Bible further adds through the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8). Hence, emphasis on faith in our Lord Jesus that Salvation is His gift to those who believe in Him.
Good works, repentance and righteousness, though are also important, as it justifies one’s faith and belief in Him. No one can just believe and accept Jesus as God and Savior without following His teachings and adhering to His principles. No man can say he is a follower of Christ, without following His Word. Here we must have direct communication with God through reading the Bible and understanding what our Lord wants us to do. The Bible through the different Books of the New Testament, show the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and how he devoted his stay in our world by teaching us the proper way in living our lives. By reading the word and understanding, will our minds and hearts be open to believe in Him. The Bible also teaches us the proper way of praying to God and openly communicating to him your heart’s desire and your thanks for all His graces. Prayer also provides us with the means to ask for forgiveness of sins.
By reading the Bible we will be able to understand the history of mankind and with of their relationship with God. We will also be able to witness how He loved us, even if we have constantly sinned against Him. Once in the Bible, under Leviticus, sins of man can only be forgiven through burnt offerings of animals as sacrifices (Leviticus 5). However, through Christ our Lord, man no longer has to offer sacrifices, as Jesus Christ through His Resurrection, became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. This is enumerated in one of the most famous passages in the Bible in John, where it is stated that “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 3:16). Salvation is guaranteed and that believing in Him, knowing His Word and following Him will ensure us a place with Him in Heaven.
Now the product of Salvation is Eternal Life, as stated under the Bible in John “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). For this reason man may either be Saved or Punished by God through his belief in Jesus Christ. Salvation in this case is through the gift of eternal life in Heaven with God. Stofka in her work perceives that “it is human nature to sin . . therefore helpless, vulnerable to punishment and damnation. Since it is impossible for us to save ourselves . .salvation, comes through Jesus Christ” (Stofka, Theological ethics and philosophy, theology in pop culture). Hence, the importance of believing and having faith in Him for eternal salvation.
While salvation talks about believing and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, this does not completely mean that sin will not go unpunished, as can be read through the Book of Revelations, were God through Jesus Christ returned to judge mankind. It is can also be read in Romans, wherein it is stated that “the wages of sin is death..” (Romans 6:23). In this case, we need repentance from our sins and to turn away from sin, as evidenced by the Letter of Luke, wherein Jesus said “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5) . Hence, man when accepting Jesus as his personal savior should also repent all his sins and claim the gift of eternal life.
While the basic aspect of Salvation is through acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior, the following of His Word and repentance of sin. We as Christians can show our love for Him through celebration and worship. Here different cultures show their affection to Jesus Christ through events, holidays or fiestas. While most of the festivals honor God and are mainly influenced by Spanish Conquistadors who colonized Latin America, they are still diversified by reason of the cultural differences of each region. This can be enumerated through the work of Teja, who states that “Mexicans are different from Cubans, who are different from Puerto Ricans, who are different from Guatemalans. Hispanic worship takes on the particular flavor of the Hispanic ethnic community that dominates the membership of any given congregation” (Teja, Worhsip as Fiesta: Hispanic traditions provide a fresh perspective). Therefore, Churches in Mexico will celebrate Lent or Christmas differently from Cubans.
While most of these festivities and holidays honor Jesus Christ our Lord, some countries or even some of their towns or cities may honor a particular Saint who represents their particular interests or are a local of their town. These Saints are honored because of the way they have lived their lives in accordance with the Scriptures and of their love for Jesus Christ. Other Festivities include reverence to Mother Mary or the celebration of a particular miracle which has happened in the city or town which was made through faith in Jesus Christ. In this case, love for our Lord Jesus are savored by festivities, symbolisms and by songs. Symbols may include life like carvings, statues and even paintings of the Jesus, Mother Mary, and of Saints. But probably the biggest festivities in Spanish-influenced Catholic countries may come in the way Easter is celebrated. Starting from Palm Sunday, wherein Christians celebrate the glorious return of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, and ending in Easter Sunday, wherein Jesus our Lord resurrects from the dead and saves all of us from sin. Different it may be from various cultures and countries, the same may be considered as a form of worship to our Creator and Savior.
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Finally, we must not forget that Salvation is only through Christ our Lord, and that we should continue worshipping Him through prayer, song or our daily work. This is because of His love for us, and that our only way of showing our gratitude to our Lord is to Love Him and follow Him in faith.