To have a correct understanding about being a Christian and part of God’s family, we must come to grips with some foundational truths. “What does the Bible say?” is a better question than “what do I/you say”. We are fallible and prone to be bias to excusing our sin as not serious and in any case our good deeds out weigh the bad ones, thus we have this tendency to place our level of “goodness” as the measuring line; so, what does the Bible say?
1. We are responsible to our Creator.
Yes God does exist. The design of the world implies a designer.* There is intelligent design all around for us to see the testimony that God exists and that we are created in His image. The biology of the living creatures reflects intelligence in creation as does the engineering design of a table and chair reflect the intelligence God gave man to create various comforts and other things of interest. In the Bible we read that God created us in His image above the animal world and meant us to know and communicate with Him. It tells us that He gave us all we need to live in this world and authority over the creation. He told us what the boundaries were in that authority. Gen 1:26-29 ESV Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (28) And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (29) And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.
While there is an abundance of *evidence for the existence of God, we must believe that God exists and that He created the universe and especially us if ever we are going to trust Him. (Read Genesis Ch. 1). “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6). He created us to share in His love.
This Bible verse tells us five things: a. God exists, b. we must believe that He exists; c. faith is the only way to approach God, d. God is a rewarder of those who seriously seek Him e. God does not accept half-hearted measures.
2. Does personal goodness get us to Heaven?
We are not approved by God because we feel we are good enough, for God’s Word says “There is none that do good, no not one” (Rom. 3:12). “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). God’s standard is something that we fall from regularly. We lie, cheat, steal, have an over inflated opinion of our level of goodness and we simply ignore Jesus. “…how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him…” (Heb 2:3). Similarly doing good deeds, while good in themselves, due to our own sin, profits us nothing for God says “by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).
Many feel that their parents’ faith will get them to heaven. Others say that the Church approves them for salvation. They say “I was baptised as a baby…”. However, we must seek guidance only from the Bible, for God’s Word says that, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by whom we must be saved (Jesus).” Act 4:12 “many have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof; from such turn away” (2 Tim. 3:5). The above Ephesians’ reference tells us that it is not anything we do that saves us but what God has already done. Membership in a church is desirable as it helps us with accountability in holiness but does not give us salvation.
3. Sin must be actively dealt with and not ignored; Judgement day is coming.
Hiding our sin will not do. Sin will not disappear on its own accord. We must confess that we are guilty. It is God’s opinion that matters. Have we faithfully obeyed God at all times? “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) Not just some but “all the world has become guilty before Him” (Rom. 3:19). “As many as have sinned under law shall be judged by law… in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men according to my Gospel” (Romans 2:12-16); “They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead”. (1Pe 4:5) Many reject the notion that mankind is responsible to God but the day is coming when… ” Rom 14:11-12 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then each of us will give an account of himself to God“. Be prepared for that day.
4. But I am so bad is there any hope for me? [Some feel there is no hope.]
a) Yes, a thousand times yes. Repent from your sin and believe the wonderful news that Jesus died for the ungodly, “… but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Repent means to change one’s mind about God and one’s self. It is to agree that God is holy and I now turn my mind over to His direction. I obey His will now. Even if people won’t forgive you, remember God will. Hear His promise, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). Jesus died for you and won your pardon on Calvary’s Cross. This shows that even though you have sinned carelessly before God, He has made you a path out of your hopelessness to the good that He has for you. This truly is good in the midst of bad. “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor 2:19). This truly is good news.
b) Believe the wonderful fact that Jesus did not stay dead, for God raised Him up.
Heb 7:25 “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” To believe means more than an intellectual assent to certain facts about Jesus, for the Bible says “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19). Believing Jesus means to act upon those facts and wholly trust Him for salvation.
c) Call upon only the name of the Lord Jesus. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” Act 4:12. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13). “And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13). Remember earlier we saw that God looks for diligence in those who seek Him. Diligence suggests that the seeker is genuine.
d) Trust God, not your feelings, as they fluctuate with circumstances, and by faith receive the forgiveness that the blood of Jesus Christ, bought for you on the cross; “...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom 10:9-10). (More on this further down).
Is there any thing that would stop you from receiving Jesus now? “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
5. Decision time
There comes a time when we need to act upon our consideration of things. One may be convinced of truth but not converted to it. At this point it is helpful to know that salvation is not based upon how much we know about God or the Bible but rather on the simplicity of admitting that we have sinned and by faith accepting that God has paid, on our behalf, the penalty that our sin brings. What is your decision?
Confessing with our mouth Jesus is Lord is agreeing with Him that He is God and now our God. (See following Bible reference).
What would stop you from receiving Jesus as your saviour right now as you read this? Can you identify those things? Are they big enough to stop you from giving yourself over to God right now? Do you believe God is able to deal with them as you give yourself to Him? You might like to, in a simple way, tell Jesus what is on your heart. There is no particularly right “formula” to use, just pour out your heart to God. He understands. If you find a list of things coming to your mind don’t ignore them but talk them over with God one by one. Obey what He tells you in your heart. HE LOVES AND CARES FOR YOU.
Consider Romans 10 v 9-13 below and tell Jesus your response to His sacrifice on the cross for you.
9 “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you have given your heart to Jesus today it is helpful let someone know.
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