Two ways to live
The choice we all face
The message at the heart of Christianity can be outlined in a few pages. It’s a message from the Bible about God and His Son Jesus that’s about life and death, and the choice we all face. In “Two ways to live” the message is summarized in contemporary language in six points (Appendix A).
This post is based on a blogpost by Tony Payne that proposed updating the “Two ways to live” booklet (Jensen and Payne, 2007; Payne 2020).
- Creation – Revelation 4:11
God is the ruler of His world.
He made the world, for our good and His glory.
He made us to be rulers of the world under Him.
But is that our experience now?
- Rejection of God – Romans 3:10-11
We all reject God as our ruler by living our own way without Him.
We follow our own desires, values and religions.
But we fail to rule ourselves or society or the world.
What will God will do about our rebellion against Him?
- Death – Hebrews 9:27
God won’t let us rebel against Him forever.
God’s punishment for rebellion is death and judgement.
God’s justice sounds hard. But …
- Christ’s death – 1 Peter 3:18
Because of His love, God sent His Son into the world to save us: the man Jesus Christ.
Unlike us, Jesus always lived under God’s rule.
Yet by dying in our place He took our punishment and won us forgiveness.
But that’s not all…
- Christ’s resurrection – 1 Peter 1:3
God raised Jesus to life again as the Ruler of the world.
Jesus has conquered death, now gives us new life, and will return to judge and to save.
Well, where does that leave us?
- Our response – John 3:36
There are only two ways to live:
A. Our way:
Reject Jesus as our Saviour and Ruler.
Keep living our own way.
Condemned by God.
Facing death and judgement.
B. God’s new way:
Rely on Jesus alone to save us.
Submit to Jesus as our Ruler.
Forgiven by God.
Given a new life that lasts forever.
Which of these represents the way you want to live?
Appendix A: Background
Points 4-6 of the outline capture the core elements of the New Testament gospel (the death of Jesus for sins, the resurrection of Jesus as Lord and Christ, and the response that these events call for). Points 1-3 fill in the necessary background to understand the meaning of points 4-6, especially for the kind of biblically unaware hearers we most commonly encounter today (in the same sort of way as Paul does in Acts 14 and 17).
This version of “Two ways to live” uses contemporary language such as ‘ruler’ instead of ‘Lord’; ‘rejection of God’ instead of ‘sin’; ‘rely’ instead of ‘faith’; and ‘submitting’ instead of ‘repentance’.
Appendix B: Bible references
“You [God] are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being” (Rev. 4:11NIV)
As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God” (Rom. 3:10-11).
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Heb. 9:27).
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pt. 1:3).
“Whoever believes in the Son [Jesus Christ] has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (Jn. 3:36).
Jensen P. and Payne T. 2007, “Two ways to live”, Matthais Media.
Payne T. 2020, The Payneful Truth, Revising the “Two ways to live” outline, 13 August 2020.
Posted, August 2020