is a God of infinite knowledge and possibilities.
Surely, there must have been another
way to deal with the problem of sin
other than Jesus Christ having to die
in our place on the cross for our sins.
Yet God reviewed every possibility and
decided that this was the only way -
His best way of dealing with human sin.
In fact, Jesus earnestly prayed three
times, asking that if it were possible,
would His Father consider another way
and exempt Him from going to the cross?
His Father’s answer was still
tells us in the Bible that the only
payment He will accept to satisfy His
judgment upon sin is the shedding of
the blood of a sinless, innocent victim
- done in place of the guilty.3
Christ is the only sinless One who qualifies
to deliver mankind from his seemingly
of us can, or need to, do anything to
add to Christ's work on the cross. But
when we approach God on our terms, in
a way that seems right to us, aren't
we actually saying to Him, "My way is
as good as, or better than the work
that Jesus accomplished on the cross?"
Of course, that is foolish. No amount
of good deeds we could do could ever
offset and pay our debt of sin we owe
to God and earn our way into heaven.
Religious activities such as church
attendance/membership, being baptized,
taking communion, charitable giving,
receiving sacraments, or saying ritualistic
prayers cannot, in themselves, atone
for our sins. Their importance lies
as acts of obedience and worship.
deeds done to pay for or merit forgiveness
of sins simply can't qualify because,
for one reason, they lack the critical
element of a blood sacrifice. For another,
they imply that Christ's work fell short
- as if we have to do more. And none
of us would want to suggest that when
God gave us His only Son, that somehow
He did not give enough, or that Jesus
did not do enough. Therefore, we can
only obtain salvation by trusting in
Christ's work for us, and not in any
of our own works to merit salvation.
may be thinking to yourself, "Surely,
there has to be something I must DO!"
And there is - with God's help. This
is what the Bible says you can do to
receive forgiveness of sins and go to
called this repentance.
It involves a change of heart and mind.
It is a decision to turn from walking
in sin to walking with God. It also
involves confessing our sins to God
and asking Him for forgiveness. Producing
good fruit after this will prove our
change of heart. We can change direction
only with God's help, and we cannot
do it without Him. It's like traveling
on a bus, and suddenly realizing that
you are headed in the wrong direction.
At the first opportunity, you must get
off and get onto the right bus.
13:3; Acts 2:37,38; 26:20; Matthew
asked what works God required a person
to do to satisfy Him, Jesus replied,
in the one he has sent." 5
Christ went on to say, "...if you
do not believe that I am the one I claim
to be, you will indeed die in your sins."
word believe in the New
Testament Greek does not mean just a
mere acceptance of facts, but a continuing,
lifelong trust and reliance upon Christ
for salvation. It is also our commitment
to do God's will. This story illustrates
the difference between mere belief in
facts and the kind of trust and commitment
the Bible speaks of.
1859, Charles Blondin walked a tightrope
1100 feet across Niagara Falls. The
next year the Frenchman returned with
his agent Harry Colcord. This time he
wanted to increase the theatrics. Imagine
the experience as Blondin challenges
the crowd below: "Does anyone believe
that I can carry one of you across the
rope?" "Yes, I believe you can!" comes
a reply. "Then, come up here!" he demanded.
But the man backs out. Charles calls
out his question again.
Finally, he challenges his agent, "You
tell everybody that I can carry a man
on my shoulders across the Falls. If
you really believe it, will you be that
man?" And before the eyes of thousands
of gasping spectators, including the
visiting Prince of Wales, Harry rides
on his shoulders over the mighty Falls
and back again as the thundering cascades
plunge over the rocky cliffs below.
Both men said they "believed." But only
his agent demonstrated genuine belief
by trusting and committing himself to
Blondin's tightrope ability. The other
man showed only a mental agreement.
3:16,36; Mark 1:15; Hebrews 3:12,14,
Acts 16:31; Jude 5; Luke 18:17)
the different facets of a diamond, the
word "believe" in its Biblical sense
includes all of the following:
Being fully persuaded that Jesus is
the Son of God and that He has been
raised from the dead.
Transferring our sins onto Jesus as
our substitute and sin bearer.
Receiving Christ into our hearts.
We do this by inviting Him to reside
in us so that the Spirit of Jesus,
the Holy Spirit, literally comes
into our being.7
Our spirits become "born again."
We then step down from the throne
of self-will and allow Christ to
rule, and to take full control of
our life. He demands first place
in our love and as we submit to
Him, this results in the fruit of
obedience to do His will. When we
receive Christ, we receive all the
treasures He provided on the cross.
1:12; 3:3; Revelation 3:20; Matthew
2:5; John 15:1-10,16; Philippians 1:29)
Declaring an open, public confession
to others of our allegiance to Christ
that He is our Savior and the Lord
of our life! The Biblical command
for water baptism is part of this
10:9,10; 6:3-6; Mark 16:16;
2:38; 1 John 4:15; Matthew 10:32,33)
you think about it, there really is
no greater "work" we could do to satisfy
God than to believe in the work that
Jesus did for us. By repenting and believing,
we begin our Christian life in the power
of the the Holy Spirit, and enter into
a covenant relationship with Jesus.
But this is only the beginning of the
process of being conformed to the character
is a lifelong process of separating
ourselves from sin and setting
ourselves apart to God for His
use. The Biblical word for this
As part of the New Covenant, Jesus
calls a Christian to "walk worthy"
and to take up their cross and
follow Him. He is talking about
when our will crosses His will
- but we submit to His will -
no matter what the cost. This
involves a daily denial
and the putting to death of the
evil selfish desires that arise
out of our fallen sinful nature
in order that God's life in us
can grow. It involves hating those
things that appeal to our fallen
nature and that are a part of
the world system that is in rebellion
against God. Nature itself teaches
us the principle that life comes
through death - something must
always die so that something else
God empowers us through His Holy Spirit,
He gives us the desire and the ability
to do His will. When we walk in the
power of the Holy Spirit, He produces
the fruit of the Spirit in our lives
- such as love, joy and peace. Thank
God for His wonderful promise that He
who has begun a good work in us will
complete it to the end.8
9:23,24; Hebrews 12:14; 2 Corinthians
5:19-25; Colossians 3:3-15; Romans 8:13;
3:5,21; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; Galatians
Bible explains that Christ's treasures
from the cross are a gift from God9
- to be received or rejected. The moment
we begin to work for it, it ceases to
be a gift. And to be of any benefit,
this gift must be received. You may
firmly believe that God wants to give
you this gift, but unless you reach
out and take possession of it by faith,
you don't have it.
you have not yet received Christ, His
Holy Spirit may be drawing you right
now. Indeed, if you cannot remember
a time when you made a decision to receive
Him, then perhaps you haven't . This
is your opportunity.
is now asking you to make a decision
- to repent and believe - receiving
Jesus into your heart. This is the most
important decision you will ever make
in your life, for it will determine
where you will spend eternity. You have
so much to gain by saying "Yes," and
yet so much to lose by saying "No."
And to make no decision is a decision.
It's the same as saying, "No!"
will God force you. Instead, Jesus lovingly
says as he knocks at the door of your
heart, "If anyone hears my voice
and opens the door I will come in..."10
Again, He invites you, "Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.."11
Now by His Holy Spirit, Christ is calling
you out from the masses - pursuing you
to become his child and a part of His
kingdom. How can you turn down His royal
does not want anyone to perish and go
to hell, but that all would come to
repentance and be saved from judgment.12
You can receive Jesus Christ right now.
It begins with a decision.
The following prayer will help you make
this decision. In effect, it's like
turning the key
that unlocks the treasure. These words
have the power to transform your life.
If you sincerely
mean them, God will certainly respond
to your prayer. He is waiting!
PRAYER TO RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST
Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. But I believe
You died in my place on the cross and
were raised to life again. Forgive me
of all my sins. I turn my back on my
past sinful life - vowing never to return
to it. I renounce the devil and all
of his works. I open the door of my
heart to You. I invite You to come in
and rule my life. I give up all rights
to my life, and I submit to Your lordship.
I receive You, by faith, as my Lord
and Savior. I receive everything You
provided for me on the cross. Show me
Your plan for my life. Thank You for
dying in my place on the cross and for
forgiving all my sins. Thank You for
making me Your child, and for giving
me eternal life with You forever. Amen.
you have just received Jesus by praying
this prayer, you have now entered into
a covenant relationship with God. Your
name has been written before God in
His Book of Life.13
The Bible says that you have become
a new creation in Christ.14
Though there may be ongoing consequences
that continue from your former sins,
your past has been forgiven. You are
now able to make a brand new start!
Just as a newborn baby has a new life
ahead of him, so it is true for you
as well - you have been "born-again"
spiritually. Not only this, but all
the wonderful spiritual treasures Jesus
purchased by his death on the cross
have become yours.
order to maintain the growth of your
new Christian experience, be sure
to break off any sinful relationship
you are in, and get rid of anything
that would keep you under sin's control.
In addition, feed your spiritual life
daily by practicing these spiritual
disciplines: Communicate with your
Heavenly Father in prayer. Read and
study the Bible - esteeming it as
the infallible revelation of God to
involved in a church that teaches
and preaches the Bible. Tell others
about Jesus and what He's done for
you. Have regular fellowship with
other Christians. Most of all, love
God with your whole being by pleasing
Him in all that you do, and love your
neighbor as yourself.15
to God's Family! Now tell someone else
about the wonderful discovery you have
here for a printer-friendly version.
Genesis 4:7; John 8:34-36; Romans
2 Timothy 2:25, 26
Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22
John 6:28, 29
1 Corinthians 6:19
Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9
2 Peter 3:9
Revelation 20:12-15; 21:27
2 Corinthians 5:17
Acts 2:41, 42; Matthew 22:36-40