For starters, we believe that it’s actually possible to have a real and personal relationship to God. The Bible tells us:
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (The Gospel of John 3:16)
Jesus himself said that he came so that people “may have life, and that they should have it more abundantly.” (The Gospel of John 10:10)
In fact, the Bible tells us that God has an amazing plan he desires to work in the lives of each individual:
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
However, if you look around you notice that there are very few people actually enjoying this abundant and meaningful life. That’s because there’s something which stands in our way of being able to enjoy this wonderful plan.
The reason that most people never enjoy this real and personal relationship is because each one of us have things in our lives which cause division between ourselves and God. Even the best among us have made decisions based on selfishness or pride which take us away from God’s purpose for our lives. This willful seeking after our own desires is what the Bible calls “sin.” The Bible says:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
We all, like sheep, have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way. (Isaiah 53:6)
The problem is not that God doesn’t want to work in us. Rather, our sin places a barrier between us and God, preventing us from enjoying the life God offers. Unless the barrier is removed, this separation becomes permanent, for the Bible tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23).
If our sin separates us from God, how can we enjoy the abundant life that God offers?
Since we are all imperfect, sinful creatures we are powerless to remove the barrier ourselves. Fortunately, the same passage in the Bible which warns of sin’s deadly penalty also reveals the way out of our predicament:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
God himself has acted to break through sin’s separation on our behalf. Through his death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus Christ has bridged the gap between us and God:
That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. ( 2 Corinthians 5:19)
. . .God is on one side and all the people on the other side, and Christ Jesus, Himself man, is between them to bring them together. . .(1 Timothy 2:5)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. . .( 1 Peter 3:18)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Christ has opened the way for us to enjoy God’s offer of an abundant and meaningful life. So, how do we receive this marvelous gift?
According to the Bible, we receive the benefits of Christ’s work into our lives by admitting our need for him, placing our trust in what he has done and inviting him to take control of our lives:
For it is by grace you have been saved, though faith, and that is not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name. (The Gospel of John 1:12)
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
If you sense that God is calling you to accept Christ into your life, you might pray something like this:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I admit that I am a sinner and that I need you. I accept that God sent you to die for my sins and raised you from the dead so that I could be brought back to Him. Please forgive me for the wrong things I have done and come into my life. Help me to trust you and follow you. Amen.
If you have prayed this prayer from a sincere heart, you can have the assurance that God has heard you and answered it. The Bible promises us “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Also, there are some things you may do to nourish this new relationship with God:
1. Get to know God through studying the Bible and setting aside time to talk to God about what you’ve read.
2. Talk to God in prayer on a regular basis. For starters, ask him to help you with your daily struggles and to help you grow in your understanding of him.
3. Find and join a group of fellow Christians who believe the Bible and try to practice what it teaches. Regular fellowship with other Christians is a great help in learning more about God’s gift of abundant life.
4. Tell others about your decision to follow Christ.