First of all, let's get one thing straight. It's not about a formula.
It's not about saying the right words, checking something off a list, or getting a gold star so you can go to heaven. This is about starting a relationship with Jesus and getting to know the God of the universe.
The first step to knowing God is to know the Gospel.
Now, you may be wondering, what exactly is the gospel? The word gospel simply means “good news.” That's it. And the message of the whole Bible is centered around this gospel, or good news. Centered around the person and work of Jesus Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 15:1–4, Paul provides the most succinct summary of the gospel: Jesus, who came in human form as a man, is also God, (the Christ), and died on a cross in our place, paying the penalty for our sins. Three days later He rose from the dead, conquering sin and death and making a way for Him to give the gift of salvation to all who believe in Him alone for eternal life.
The great reformer Martin Luther rightly said that, as sinners, we are prone to pursue a relationship with God in one of two ways. The first is through religion / spirituality that is so popular, and the second is the gospel.
The two are antithetical in every way.
Religion says that if we just obey God and follow all the rules, He will love us.
The gospel says that it is only because God has loved us through Jesus that we can obey.
Religion says that the world is filled with good people and bad people. The gospel says that the world is filled with bad people who are either are repentant because they realize that they are a sinner, or are in pride, unrepentant, thinking that they can get to heaven on their own.
Religion says that you should trust in what you do as a good moral person. The gospel says that you should trust in the perfectly sinless life of Jesus because He alone is the only good and truly moral person who will ever live.
The goal of religion is to get from God such things as health, wealth, insight, power, and control. The goal of the gospel is not the gifts God gives, but rather God as the gift given to us by the grace of God and not because of our own self-worth or self-importance.
Religion is about what I have to do. The gospel is about what I get to do. Religion sees hardship in life as punishment from God. The gospel sees hardship in life as a process of sanctification that reminds us of Jesus’ sufferings and is used by God in love to make us more like Jesus.
In short, religion is about me. About you. The gospel is about Jesus.
Religion just leads to an uncertainty about your standing before God because you'll never know if you have done enough good things to please God. The gospel leads to a certainty about your standing before God because of the finished work of Jesus on your behalf on the cross.
The end result of religion is either pride (because we think we are better than other people) or despair (because we continually fall short of God’s commands). The gospel ends in humble and confident joy because of the power of Jesus at work for us, in us, through us, and sometimes in spite of us.
In order to find true peace in life that can never be found in religion, we must receive Jesus Christ into our hearts and lives. Being a Christian is having Jesus take residence in our lives. John 1:12 tells us, “but as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.” Jesus said, “behold, I stand at the door, I will come in…” (Revelation 3:20). Each one of us must individually decide to open the door.
How do we open it? Through prayer.
if you have never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life,
you can do it right now.
There is no formulaic prayer you have to pray. Simply talk to God, praying out loud or silently in your heart as you surrender your will to His. Tell Him that you want forgiveness for your sins, and that you believe that Jesus paid the penalty for your crimes against God and that you want Him be be the Lord of your life. Be honest. Be real. Don't worry about getting the words right, speak from your heart, recognizing that you are a sinner in need of a savior and that there is no way, except through Jesus that you can please God and have the assured hope of going to heaven when you die.
If you pray and ask God into your life and your heart, please call us so we can talk to you about your new commitment to Jesus and help you learn more about what it means to think, act, and live as a Christian.
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