Lately, I've had several conversations which must dig deeper than the simple statements of faith I could easily quote 25 years ago.

Today, people do not know the basics of Christianity, even those who attend church.

Let me take you back to before God created the heavens and the earth. Back before time began...

God looked across eternity and thought that one day He would create you. But there was much to do. A lot would need to happen before He would form you in your mother's womb. You would have to have a free will. That way, you would be able to freely love Him. Afterall, one can't truly love if one doesn't have the freedom to make the choice to love.

This choice would have to begin with creating a being of great beauty and power. Lucifer. It wasn't that God was evil or even had evil in Him. When you create a dish for supper, does that make you the dish? God is not evil because He created Lucifer (otherwise known as Satan or the Serpent), any more than I am lasagna because I create a dish of lasagna.

Lucifer would desire to be God and that prideful desire would be the beginning of all the evil ever known.

Next, God would need to make a place for you. This place must contain a choice. So, God created the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He created Adam and Eve in His image. They chose to disobey God, Who had commanded them to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They were tempted by Lucifer, dressed up as a Serpent, and they chose to disobey. The sorrow God felt that day was more than we would ever understand. But it wasn't unexpected.

Before God even set this plan in motion, He knew. He knew you would sin. You'd chose one day to do something you knew was contrary to God's nature. Perhaps you weren't even aware of God, but you knew that what you did wasn't right. Perhaps you were deceived, but your conscience was pricked. Sin had its way.

God knew this would happen, and He loved you anyway. He loved you and desired for you to love Him. So, He would give the greatest sacrifice. Himself.

"For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Hebrews 9:24

"Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world,..." I Peter 1:20

The sacrifice had to be made because God could have no sin before Him. The wages of sin, what sin demands is death, so God, in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ, died to pay for our debt.

When we believe that God exists. When we believe that He is holy and perfect and creator of all. When we believe that without Him we could not exist. Then, we are ready to see that we are not what we ought to be. And because we are not what we ought to be, we will be judged.

We must believe that God sent His Son to die on the cross in payment for our sins. That He was buried and rose again from the dead. When this gets ahold of us. When this because real to us, then we can receive the gift of eternal life and we can say that we are risen in Christ.

Are you risen in Christ?