“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (Jn. 6:40)
From The Second Half of the Cross
In countries where for centuries Christian churches have taught the traditional doctrines of repentance, water baptism, salvation, and spiritual rebirth, parts of the gospel message are spread out within the popular culture. In its purest form, this message is that the blood that Jesus shed on the cross washes the new believer clean of sin. The resurrection of Jesus creates a new birth in the Spirit, provides the Holy Spirit within a person to enable the living of a new and better life, and grants eternal salvation from the penalty of sin.
These basic, fundamental tenets of Christianity, which many have at least heard of and been somewhat exposed to in Christian countries and in many non-Christian countries, is what I call in this book the first half of the cross. Through churches, foreign missionaries, family members, friends, newspapers, magazines, books, movies, television, the internet, popular culture, or simple osmosis, many people around the world, except those living in the extreme remotest areas, are familiar with some of the basic outlines of the first half of the cross.
When anyone personally hears the genuine gospel message for the first time, and is convicted in their conscience of a wayward life, that person is moved upon by the Holy Spirit to reconsider their previous life up to that pivotal moment in time. This process of re-evaluation, leading to believing and accepting Jesus Christ into our lives, is called repentance. To repent means to turn around, to do an “about-face” in military language, or to have a change of mind.
The person who is listening to the gospel message, and thinking about changing their life, is considering discarding their current unfulfilling life-plan in favor of an entirely new life approach. This new life approach involves the inclusion of God in their lives, who is speaking at that decisive moment to their heart and mind through the Holy Spirit. This person, at the point in time of repentance and accepting Jesus Christ into their lives, is contemplating taking a large step away from their past life and a step forward in a new direction having hope, purpose, and renewal as a Christian.