The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God. While the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. Man puts himself where only God deserves to be; God puts Himself where only man deserves to be." – John Stott.
The gospel is the message of God's love for sinners. It is a message of grace and forgiveness; a message about redemption, reconciliation, rescue, and restoration; a message about God's kingdom coming to earth. The gospel is a message communicated through the person and work of Jesus.
What does it take to begin a relationship with God?
Some say you devote yourself to being good and to becoming religious.Others believe you must become a better person so that God will accept you.You may be surprised that none of those things will work. But God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him. He also made it clear that He accepts us just as we are. We don't have to clean-up before we come to Him...we just come.The following principles will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now, through Jesus Christ...
Principle 1: God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.God's Love "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
God's Plan: [Christ speaking] "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" [that it might be full and meaningful]. John 10:10Why is it that most people are not experiencing the abundant life? Because...
Principle 2: All of us sin and our sin has separated us from God. You may not want to hear this, but you are a sinner and so are we. All of us are. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
We were created to have fellowship with God; but, because of our stubborn self-will, we chose to go our own independent way, and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is evidence of what the Bible calls sin.
We Are Separated from God! "The wages of sin is death" [spiritual separation from God]. Romans 6:23
God is holy and people are sinful. A great gulf separates us. We are continually trying to reach God and the abundant life through our own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or religion -- but we inevitably fail.
The third law explains the only way to build a bridge to God. By the way, you cannot build it with your good works and good thoughts. You cannot do it!
Principle 3: Jesus Christ is God's only provision for our sin. Through Him we can know and experience God's love and plan for our life.He Died in Our Place - it should have been us and without coming to know Jesus, it will be us. "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
He Rose From the Dead: "Christ died for our sins...He was buried...He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures...He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred..." 1 Corinthians 15:3-6
He Is the Only Way to God: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.'" John 14:6. God has bridged the gulf which separates us from Him by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.
It is not enough just to know these three principles...
Principle 4: We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives. We Must Believe in Jesus Christ and we must Receive Jesus Christ. "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." John 1:12.
We Receive Christ Through Faith - we believe." By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast." Ephesians 2:8, 9
When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth and New Life. We Receive Christ by Personal Invitation - and good news, you are invited! God is inviting you right now. [Christ speaking] "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him." Revelations 3:20
Receiving Christ involves turning to God from our own lives and our own ways (that is called repentance) and trusting Jesus Christ to come into your life and live in your heart. To trust Him to forgive your sins and to begin to shape you into who He wants you to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for your sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. You receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will. Go ahead and pray, open your mind and heart to Jesus Christ and let God's love touch and fill you.
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