How can one know God? Who is this Jesus that the Bible talks about and Christians proclaim? How we respond to God’s gracious gift is the single most important decision we could ever make in this life.
The problem: Realize that you are a sinner
Along with being all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving, God is also holy. That means that He is morally perfect, a righteous judge who cannot tolerate any deviation from His moral perfection. That leaves us with a problem, because no human being is perfect. Let’s not kid ourselves. Even if we’re “pretty good,” that means nothing compared to a perfectly righteous God. The problem is sin. Essentially, sin is a deviation from the perfect righteousness of God. And we have all sinned in some way, shape or form. All the injustice in the world, all of the evil and wickedness (and it is real) is the result of sin, which is the antithesis to a holy God. As a result, as long as we are in a state of sin, we cannot have fellowship with God—we are guilty before Him. The Bible says our sins have “separated us from God.” There is an infinite chasm between us and God. What is the penalty of sin?…death and eternal separation from God. (Romans 3:10-12, 23; Romans 5)
The remedy: Jesus Christ
In His perfect justice, there is a penalty that God requires for sin—death. Because of our sin nature, it is impossible for us to have fellowship with God. No matter how hard we try to be good, no amount of human good works is enough to make us perfect in the sight of God. We can’t earn heaven. However, God paid the price that we couldn’t pay—He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die a death on a cross—payment for the sins of humanity. Jesus didn’t stay dead. Three days later, he arose from the grave and lives forevermore. This is salvation—to be saved from our sin nature and have new life in Jesus Christ in this life and the life to come. Jesus is the bridge from humanity to God. (Romans 5:8, 6:23; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 1:3)
The response: Believe and repent
We must accept His gift for us in order to receive it. If someone gives you a present, it’s not yours until you take it. What does biblical belief in Jesus mean? It means acknowledging that He is the bridge to God—the one whose sacrificial death for our sins gives us a pathway to God. We need to accept His death and resurrection as having paid the price for our sins. We are trusting that He is our way to God—no amount of good deeds or human effort could ever bring us to God, only Jesus. That is why Christians believe Jesus is their savior—literally saving us from eternal separation from God and ultimately delivering us from our sin nature. True belief leads to repentance, a turning away from sin to following Jesus. (John 3:16, 36)
Would you like to receive God’s free gift of salvation?
You need to pray (simply talking to God). Admit that you are a sinner in need of his forgiveness and mercy (from Jesus’ death in your place). Ask God to help you live for Him. It could be something like this:
We aren’t made perfect overnight. The things that matter to God should matter to us. That might mean some major changes are in order in our lives as we submit ourselves to Him. Receiving the gift of salvation is just the beginning. For the rest of our natural lives on this earth, we have the opportunity to serve God. As we get to know Him more, our lives will be transformed and reflect His nature and character.
- Read the Bible and submit to its authority as the Word of God. It contains all that we need to know about God and how to serve Him in this life. Never read the Bible before? Try starting out with the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) and work your way through the New Testament, then the Psalms and Proverbs. The Gospels are a good starting point because they take you to Jesus. Discover who Jesus is. Watch how He interacts with people. Notice what He places great value upon. Then, as you journey through the Scriptures, see what God considers evil, good and noble—and live accordingly, following what it says.
- Pray. Prayer is simply communicating with God. Ask Him to guide you. Ask Him to teach you about Him through His Word. You don’t need a formula; you are communicating with a Person. God is the creator of the universe, yet He is also intimately acquainted with all the details of our lives.
- Fellowship at a Bible-believing and affirming church. The church is really a gathering of like-minded believers in Jesus Christ. His people come together to get encouraged, to remind each other of God’s truths and keep one another accountable in this world.
- Serve and share. Being a Christian means we have the privilege of making a difference in the lives of others, in the same way that Jesus Christ made a difference in our lives. Tell others what God has done for you.
Becoming a Christian isn’t about rules and regulations. It’s trusting Christ to save us from our sins, knowing that He died taking the penalty of our sins and then rose from the grave—giving us hope and eternal life. We now have the privilege of living for God. Faith in Christ means that we no longer have to live condemned lives. We get to experience new life!