From the beginning, humans have been aware of God. The Bible tells us “that which is known about God is evident within them (all people); for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Romans 1:18-20). Humankind has known that there is a creator of this universe and all that is in it. However, they have devised and trusted in all sorts of gods of their own making, to suit their own idea of what a god should be like, often in order to accommodate their personal beliefs and life style. By the middle of the 19thcentury, men had begun to believe that their accomplishments proved that they did not need God. In the beginning of the 20th century, they began to say that “God is dead”. Today, many people have never given any thought to God.
All this time, God has wanted to be in personal relationship with these humans, who are each made in God’s image. He has offered to give them the ability to live life according to His plan for them, which will bring blessing, joy, fulfillment, and the privilege of spending eternity with Him. People have run from this relationship largely because they want to remain independent and autonomous. They have not wanted to be answerable to God in any way. They have not wanted to acknowledge that there is an incompleteness to their lives, and that their efforts to bring happiness to their own lives can bring only temporary results. They have not found the joy that can be found in life lived with God. They have not wanted to acknowledge that they need God, in order to find true peace, joy and love.
We are separated from God by the sin that is in our lives. Our primary sin is this determination to be “the captain of our own destiny”, to be our own god. We have wanted to run our own lives, with no interference from anyone. We have not come to the place where we trust God to provide the “abundant life” that He promises (John 10:10), since we have incomplete or even erroneous understanding about Him. He is not like our earthly fathers, since He is perfect in all things, such as wisdom, truth, love, caring, and faithfulness. If we were to be given the opportunity to design our own father, as a man who is wonderful to us, we would probably design him to be consistently there for us, to be caring, loving, understanding, forgiving, and very wise. Well, these are all attributes of the Heavenly Father who yearns to pour His love into our hearts. All of our hearts very much need His love. His love brings healing to the hurts that are in our hearts, plus much more.
He loves us unconditionally. This means He loves us no matter what we do. If we do something bad, He won’t like the bad thing that we did, but the fact that we did it won’t make Him stop loving us or even make Him love us less. His love is constant, and forever, and very strong toward us. When He sent His Son, Jesus, to the earth, His love flowed out of Jesus toward others. When some Jewish leaders caught the woman in the act of adultery, they brought her to Jesus, hoping to hear Him say that they should stone her to death, according to Jewish law. He surprised them by saying, “he who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”. They all walked away. He then asked the woman, “Did nobody condemn you?” She said, “No, Lord”. He said, “Neither do I condemn you”. Then, he told her to go, and not commit adultery any more.
Jesus’ unconditional love is foreign to most human culture. Most all of regular human love is conditional…..”I’ll love you if you make me happy, if you do as I say”. Jesus’ love sometimes causes Him to leave us in the predicament we have produced for ourselves. He knows that we need to learn about the consequences of sin. He wants us to repent and do this no more. If we go back to it, He will most likely let us experience the consequences once again. He loves us so much that He wants us to learn to live the right way, which He knows will bring to us the happiness we seek. Many have been heard to
say, “I’m not interested in God. What has He done for me lately?” This person is operating out of pride, as though he has no need of God in his life. God has taught us in James 4:6 that He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. It is not wise to be in the company of the proud. God’s position toward the proud is something like, “You think you’ve got everything handled? Well, let’s see how you do. You’re on your own”. This is an example of God resisting the proud. On the other hand, if we humbly acknowledge our need of Him and our belief that He knows best, we will seek to follow His instructions for life, and He will bring His blessing to our efforts.
We are separated from God by our sin. Because of our sin, we are disqualified from Heaven. People with unforgiven sin cannot enter Heaven. Instead, their lives on this earth are lived separated from God, and then at death they will be separated from Him permanently, with no hope of ever having another chance to repent of their sin. Our only hope of Heaven lies in the forgiveness that is offered through the death of God’s Son, Jesus, on that cross. He was without any sin, so He didn’t die for His own sins. He died for our sins. He paid the penalty for us, so that we could be forgiven. Just knowing this doesn’t provide the forgiveness that we need. We must appropriate that forgiveness for ourselves by believing what the Bible tells us about Jesus’ sacrificial death for us, by humbly acknowledging that we are sinners and that we need a savior, by acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God and the only Savior provided by God, by claiming Him as our Savior, by accepting what He did on the cross as payment for our own sin, and then by submitting our lives to Him as our Lord and Master.
We find a shorthand version of the Gospel in Romans 10:9, where we read, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved”. For those who grew up in church, the second part of this verse is relatively simple. It amounts to believing what you were taught in Sunday School. It is the information that is in the previous paragraph. The more difficult part, for most people, is the first part of the verse, “confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord”. This doesn’t mean speaking of Jesus as “the good lord upstairs”, and other similar statements. This means telling someone, right after you pray to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, that you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and you have committed your life to Him as your Lord and Master. We must be willing to acknowledge Him as our Lord and Savior before men (Matthew 10:32,33). I recommend that you tell this to someone who is already a Christian, and who cares about you. You are very likely to get a wonderful, warm response.
You may ask, “Well, how do I do this that you have described?” It is relatively simple. We are told in John 1:11-13, “He came to His own (the Jewish people), and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God”. This is saying that those who receive Him become children of God. This means that those who have not received Him are not children of God. At the moment that a person prays to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, that person becomes a child of God, enters the Kingdom of God, receives eternal life, and God’s Holy Spirit comes to live inside that person’s spirit. From that moment on, the Holy Spirit is eagerly acting, from inside the person’s body, to enable and guide this person in the life that God has for him, the Christian life.
You can pray a prayer right now, or later, and the Lord will hear you. He is listening to your thoughts right now, and is yearning for personal fellowship with you, which is only possible after you yield your life to Him. I have asked the Lord to help me write a prayer for you to use in surrendering your life to Him. If you click on the link entitled “Prayer for Salvation”, you will find it. If you pray this prayer sincerely, the Lord will save you, and you will have eternal life, and you will begin a blessed relationship with Him in this life, which will last on into eternity.