A Closer Relationship With GodFebruary 18th, 2020
- 1. Recognize and confess that you are a sinner.
No more excuses! What is sin? It is to fall short of God’s standard, which is perfection itself. It is also to cross a line. All of us have done that and more. We have broken God’s commandments and fallen short of his glory. The Bible tells us, “Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). It also says, “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth” (1 John 1:8).
God gave us his law, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), not to make us righteous, but to show us how miserably we all fall short of his perfection. His laws are like a moral mirror that shows us our flaws and sin.
- 2. Recognize that Jesus died on the cross for you.
The Bible tells us,
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:6-8)
There was simply no other way to satisfy the righteous demands of God. We have no ability to improve ourselves, much less save ourselves, and therefore we faced a future of permanent separation from God because of our sin. But God, in his great love, sent his own Son to come down from Heaven and die on the cross in our place.
I love the way the apostle Paul personalized it when he wrote, “the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, emphasis added). God loves you and gave himself for you, too! There was no other way to resolve this serious sin issue that we all face. Jesus was the only one who could ever accomplish that, which is why he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Christ is the only way to the Father. He himself said so.
The apostle Peter echoed these words: “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). It’s not about what I did to please God or reach him on my own efforts. In fact, I did everything to displease him, and so I failed to reach him. “There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, willingly laid down his life when he went to the cross to die for our sins. In probably the best-known verse in the Bible, we read, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
- 3. Repent of your sin.
What does it mean to “repent”? It means to turn from all known sin. It’s being sorry for your sin. But not only that! It’s being sorry enough to stop. The Bible says, “The kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Repentance is like hanging a U-turn in the road of life. You have been running from God, like the Lost Son; now it’s time to run to him. The Bible says, “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19).
- 4. Receive Christ into your life.
Salvation comes not merely by believing that Jesus is the Son of God, but by receiving him into your life. Being a Christian is not just knowing about God; it’s knowing God himself. It’s a relationship, a friendship with Jesus, who will come into your heart and take up permanent residence there. Jesus said, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20).
The Bible says, “To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). And how do you receive him into your life? Through prayer. If you want to ask him to take up residence in your heart right now, you might offer the following prayer:
I know that I am a sinner. I have broken your commandments and fallen short of your standards. Right now I turn from that sin and ask you to come into my life. Be my Lord, Savior, friend, and God. I put my faith in Jesus Christ, and in him alone, to save me from my sins. Thank you for loving me and calling me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
The New Believer’s Bible New Testament is uniquely designed to help the new Christian read, study, and understand the Bible. It includes features that help Christians develop and deepen their faith, while providing a foundation for their new life in Christ. This expanded edition has been newly typeset and includes all of the original New Believer’s Bible notes and features plus an expansion to the existing topics and some new ones from the Start! Bible. All content has been refreshed for today’s language and needs.