“There is a God in Heaven who loves you as you are and not as you should be.”
Yes… you are right… there is a God. You know that must be true because the heart of a human being longs for God, and logic demands divine existence.
While most everyone believes God exists… most sense separation from God. We know God must be holy and good, and we see ourselves as unholy and not good. The conclusion is that God is angry with us and we cannot know Him.
But there is Good News! The Bible tells us that God loves us the way we are. His love will save us from our sin and make us what we should be as God’s children.
John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
We hear Jesus say, “God so loved the world” and we know God’s love has no limitations. He loves you “so” much more than you can imagine. He loves everyone – not just some ones.
His plan also includes having abundant life (John 10:10) beginning here and now (not just after we die). Even after death takes us we spend eternity with God in heaven (John 14:3).
God’s salvation is not automatic. While God loves us beyond measure, there is a problem, it is called sin.
Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That pretty much includes everybody. We have fallen short of God’s intended purpose for us. God made us to know Him…. to receive His love and to love him in return.
For LOVE to be love… for GOD to be God… and for HUMANS to be humans… God gave us a choice, we call it free will. We can choose to love ourselves and embrace our selfish desires. That is sin. In our sin we cannot know God and His love. The result of sin is that we are lost… separated from God.
Another problem is that we cannot save ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our “good works” done in this life is not the answer; it will not earn a place in heaven.
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Wages are just payment… due reward… what one has coming because of their labor, so the just payment for our sin is death.
Death here means spiritual insensitivity. When we are still in our sin, we have no life with God. We are alive physically but dead spiritually. If we continue in that condition, we will be separated from God for all eternity.
While the first half of Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death,” the second half goes on to tell us about God’s free gift of eternal life. While wages are earned, a gift is offered… no strings attached. One simply must receive a gift. God says He will give us everlasting life – life with Him – in the place of sin’s payment of death.
How can God remain true to His holiness and forgive unholy sinners? It is possible because Jesus, His Son, has paid the price for sin by His death on the cross. Jesus is the GOD-MAN (John 1:1, 1:14) who took on the sin of the whole world (Isaiah 53:6).
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He does not wait for us to get straightened out and cleaned up before he saves us. If we could do it on our own we would not need God in the first place.
So how did this happen? Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we may be made the righteousness of God through Him.” Jesus was the only acceptable, sinless sacrifice to pay the debt we could not pay. He is raised from the grave to conquer sin and death for all who receive Him as God’s free gift.
How can you receive God’s free gift of love and life?
Again, while salvation is free, salvation is not automatic. Romans 10:9-10 tells us “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
A person receives God’s free gift of love and life by placing faith in Jesus Christ. To believe is simply to take God at His word. With our heart we believe that Jesus is God’s Son who died for our sin on the cross and arose from the grave to live in us as Savior and Lord. Confessing and believing; but also receiving. The demons believe in God but are not saved (James 2:19). Receiving Jesus into your life is needed. If you have never invited him in, I guarantee he is not there (Revelation 3:20).
John 1:12 tells us that “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” So, it is more than believing the facts about Jesus, it is receiving him into your life.
Questions that need to be asked…
- Do you acknowledge that you are a sinner?
- Do you believe by faith that Jesus, God’s Son, died for your sin on the cross?
- Will you now confess Him as your Savior and Lord?
Romans 10:13 says “for Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” This verse says that any person who will call upon the name of Jesus, the Lord, shall be saved. To call means simply to ask in prayer. The verse does not require one to know more… do better… clean up one’s life… or in any way try to add to what Jesus has done for us.
Will you now call upon Jesus to save you from your sin so that you can know God’s love and forgiveness? If so…
Pray something like this: “Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner, and I am sorry. I need a Savior and I know I cannot save myself. I believe by faith that your Son Jesus died on the cross to be my Savior. I believe He arose from the grave to live as my Lord. I turn away from my sin. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to forgive my sin and come into my life. I trust you as my Savior and receive you as my Lord. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me.” AMEN
When anyone calls on the Lord in this manner, that one is saved according to God’s Word. If you pray a prayer of repentance and faith, you are saved. You have God’s word on it. But now, what does God want from me?
- What is repentance? Turning away from sin toward the Savior, like doing an about-face, 180 degree change in direction (Acts 3:19, Acts 26:20).
- Why do good works, since they don’t save me? Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that salvation is a gift, not a results of our works, to merit salvation, but Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are created for good works. We don’t do good works to earn our salvation, but because of our salvation we want to do good works. It’s all about perspective.
- What is surrendering to Jesus? It is not just saying we give our lives to Jesus (Matthew 7:21) but actually giving Jesus control of our lives.
- As a reminder to the enemy: when he strikes doubt and confusion in your mind and heart, consider writing something like this on the inside cover of your bible:
Believing by faith that God loves me and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sin and rose from the grave to live in me, I, _______, do this day, ________, repent of my sin and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. According to the promise of God in Romans 10:13, I have called upon His name and have His word for the assurance of my salvation.
It is important to remember that Christianity is not a “spectator sport” or a “lone ranger” experience. The body of Christ is called the church; the Connections Class will help you understand a lot more about the church. The point for now is that there is strength in numbers; getting together with people of like spirit, who share this common “Jesus relationship.” The church is alive and able to help people know God through Christ, and to help believers grow in the knowledge and grace of God.