What does it take to begin a relationship with God? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? 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 and begin the exciting journey of following Jesus.
The following principles will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now, through Jesus Christ...
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3)
What prevents us from knowing God personally?
We Are Sinful
"...for 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
"For the wages of sin is death" [spiritual separation from God]. Romans 6:23
This diagram illustrates that God is holy and people are sinful. A great gulf separates us. The arrows illustrate that 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 principle explains the only way to bridge this gulf...
He Died in Our Place
"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 answered, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.'" John 14:6
This diagram illustrates that 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...
We Must Receive Jesus Christ
"Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12
We Receive Christ Through Faith
"For it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8,9
When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth
(Read John 3:1-8)
We Receive Christ by Personal Invitation
[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." Revelation 3:20
Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us 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.
These two circles represent two kinds of lives:
Which circle would you like to have represent your life?
The following explains how you can receive Christ:
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer
Prayer is talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer:
"Lord Jesus, I need You. 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 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."
If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, then you can pray this prayer right now and Christ will come into your life, as He promised.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart?
Adapted from Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws and Would You Like to Know God Personally, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Campus Crusade for Christ. All rights reserved.