Carolanne and I (James) believe that there is a God. This belief affects EVERYTHING in our lives. Accepting the fact that there is a sovereign being out there who is infinitely powerful, created and controls the universe and who cares about what you and I do ... that changes EVERYTHING.
This is also a belief that makes logical sense to me. I think it takes a LOT more faith to believe that the universe came into being on its own (somehow), life somehow got started from just the right chemicals mixing together (and maybe lightning), and then through millions of years of random genetic mutation, instead of getting cancer and dying we evolved from some mutant embryonic cell into the vastly complex and wonderful human beings we are today. That's a LOT of faith. Unfortunately, it's also the easier path since it means I don't really have to respond in any specific way to that belief. Belief in God DOES require a response. It means you have to make a personal choice. But more on that later.
We learn about God from the Bible, which we believe is the inspired word of God, given to us by God through the work of around 40 different original writers. These writers documented historical accounts of God's work as well as His specific instruction for how we are to live our lives. The study of the authenticity of the bible could take an entire book or website on it's own, but in short, it has proven to be reliable and accurate time and again throughout history.
God Loves Us!
We learn from the bible that God loves us very much and that He created us (you and I) to know Him personally. We read this in passages such as John 3:16 which states:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16
We also read the following in John 17:3:
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. - John 17:3
So, if this is true, there is HOPE for us. As I said before, it changes EVERYTHING and it begs the question "How do I know Him personally?" Well, there's a problem.
Sin Separates Us From God
The bible tells us that mankind is sinful and that sin separates us from God. Romans 3:23 tells us that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". By rejecting God, we sin against the creator of the universe ... that's really bad. In most countries, traitors are shot. In God's kingdom, "They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" - 2 Thessalonians 1:9 Another way to describe that would be eternal death, or eternal separation from God.
Often, this separation is described as a huge chasm that separates us from God. No matter how much good we do, or how well we live our lives, if we reject God's instructions there is nothing we can do on our own in order to be reconciled to Him. Imagine trying to get to the moon by jumping. Doesn't really matter how high you can jump, you're not going to get there under your own strength.
God Made A Way For Us To Be Reconciled
When you read the entire bible, you discover that the whole thing comes together as a description of how God loves humanity so much that in spite of our rebellion, He made a way for us to be saved. There are many places where this is described, including some that I have already shared above such as John 3:16. God sent His own son to take the punishment that was due to us. Jesus Christ died, so that you and I might live.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8
He didn't stay dead though! The bible records eye-witness accounts of Jesus rising from the dead, on the third day after being crucified. This is one of the most important ways that we know He really is God's son.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. - 1 Corinthians 15:3-6
Through His death and resurrection, He has bridged the gap that separated us from God. He has given us the opportunity to be made right with God. In fact, He is the ONLY way that we can be reconciled to God.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. - John 14:6
We Must Individually Choose To Repent And Believe
To be reconciled with God, we are asked to make a personal choice. We are asked to turn from our sin and rebellion, back to God, by confessing our sin and believing in Jesus.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. - Romans 10:9-10
We receive Christ through faith in Him. It is not something that we have to do just right, or perform in a certain way. It's simple faith.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - John 1:12
I challenge you, if you have not already made this decision, make it today in prayer to God. If you need help with what to say here is a sample prayer you could follow. It's not a magic formula or anything, but it can guide your words and thoughts in the right direction.
Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving me of my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.
Did you pray this prayer, or something like it? AWESOME! I'd love to hear about it. I would be happy to follow up with you to answer any questions you might have. This form will send a private email to Carolanne and I with your questions or comments.
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