I started a new bible study workbook Sunday night. As I began reading the first lesson it said that to get the most out of the study you need to already be a believer. And then it outlined 5 verses for the unbeliever as to why they should give their life to Christ. I accepted Jesus as my savior in March but read through those verses, and they are still as powerful now as they were the day I believed with all my heart that Christ died on that cross to save me, to save you, to everyone.
I remember that the night before I prayed to accept Christ I went through all of the expect arguments. I knew I was not good enough for God. I have screwed up too much and made too many bad decisions. I had led my life so far away from God that there was no way I would ever be able to find my way back. Besides, why would God ever want me? I had turned my back on him years before. Why shouldn’t he do the same to me? I deserved to have him tell me to go away, that he had given up on me long ago.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and all are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
For all have sinned . . . All. Nobody is perfect. Not your mom or dad, not your boss or best friend, not your pastor. Not you. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But the good news is that when God created you he knew you would sin. He knew everything you would do in your life before you were born. Whether it is theft, adultery, drugs, or even completely turning you back on him God knew. But never once did he say that you were a lost cause, that anything you could do could make him love you less. God’s love for us is unchanging and unending. We choose to receive the love that he is so ready to give us. We choose to accept the redemption that came by Christ.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Everywhere you look there are promises of longer life. All is takes is a miracle pill or the latest fad diet and suddenly you can live the perfect and beautiful life that we all dream for. God doesn’t offer a miracle pill or a fad diet. But he also doesn’t say that your life will be perfect in him. Yes, we will experience trials and tribulations. But what God does promise is that through his son you will have eternal life. When your time here on earth is done you will get to spend forever in the kingdom that he has set up for you and I. For the person that is already a believer what you are going through here on earth is the worst it will ever be for you. Things will only get better in heaven. For the person that hasn’t yet given their life to Christ . . . your life right now is as good as it gets. When your time on earth is done it only gets worse. Eternal life at the right hand of God . . . what an amazing promise to look forward to. And to receive that gift we don’t have to jump through hoops or change who we are. All we have to do is confess with our mouth and believe in our heart.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Have you ever loved someone so much that you would be willing to die for them. John 15:13 says “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” I can think of a few people off the top of my head that I would lay down my life for. My husband, son, my parents, sister, and my best friend. Without thought or hesitation I would die to protect them. Is there anyone you would be willing to give your life for? I’m sure that you very quickly think of some people who you NOT lay down your life for, people who have betrayed you or hurt you, people who are hateful or have turned their back on you, people who have said bad things about you. God had one child, one son, Jesus. In the old testament the price for sin was an offering at the temple. But that wasn’t keeping people from going out and continuing to sin. People learned that as long as they presented their burnt offering to the Lord that they would be forgiven. And then they’d go out and sin again. God wanted to offer to his people the ultimate sacrifice as a way to be forgiven for their sins. God offered us his one and only Son. Could you do that? Could you give your child so that someone else might live? You see, God never said, “I love my son too much to give him to people who may not even accept him.” God said, “I love my people so much that I will show them the way to eternal life and salvation through my son.” Jesus was the first and ultimate example of the forgiving and healing power of God. If God could raise Jesus from the dead after three days, bring him out of the tomb and raise him up into heaven then what can God do for you? He can heal your heart, shine light into your darkness, find you when you are lost and bring you home to him. He can save you. He wants to save you. You just have to be willing to reach out your hand to him.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,”
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe
and are justified, and it is with your mouth
that you profess your faith and are saved.
There is no specific magic prayer, no set words, no recitation and suddenly *poof* you are saved. There is also no specific location that makes you more saved than another place. Just because you were on your knees in prayer in a church does not make you more saved than a person sitting on a sidewalk outside a bar praying the same prayer. I found salvation in the floor of my church on a Sunday morning, but came face-to-face with the possibility while in my studio on a Saturday night. All that matters is that you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and sincerely believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead three days later. God hears you no matter where you are at, and God knows what is in your heart. You could be in your car on the highway in the middle of nowhere, or in the middle of 10,000 people at a loud concert. God will hear you and God will know your heart, and God will give you his greatest gift . . . the promised gift of his salvation. God never goes back on his word. He said if you will confess with your mouth and believe in your heart then I will raise you from the death of your sin and give you eternal life . . . and he will. All you have to do is pray.
for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
There is nobody on this earth who has not sinned. You could say, “Yeah, but my sins are so bad that God would never want me. My sins are unforgivable.” There is no sin that is unforgivable. There is nothing that you could do that would make God withhold forgiveness from you. You know why? Because God knew everything you would do in your life before you did it. If God led you into something that he knew he would not be able to forgive you for then that would mean that he doesn’t love you, that he doesn’t want to see you spend eternity with him in heaven, and that is not true. Luke 12:7 says, “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” If God knows every hair on your head and says that you are worth more than many sparrows then don’t you think that God can forgive you for anything you have done. He knows every hair on your head. He knows everything you have done and said. He loves you, and He wants to forgive you. But you have to want his forgiveness. God wants to show you have to grow, mature, and thrive through him. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11) “I know the plans I have for you . . . ” That means he knew all you would do before you did it, and he knows all you will do in the future. There is nothing that you can do that will make God turn his back on you. He is the light in your darkness. All you have to do is turn to him.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
You may read Matthew 6:33 and wonder what “all these things” are. Matthew 6:25-34 says “‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.'” The Lord knows everything that you need and will provide for your needs as he always provides for his children that seek him and his kingdom. When you were a child your parents provided for all of your needs. They made sure you had clothes, that you had shelter, that you had food. They did this because they loved you and that is what parents do for their children. God the Father also provides for the needs of his children because he loves them. All you have to do is trust him, have faith in him, follow him, give yourself to him. He is waiting for you. Your parents stayed up on weekends waiting for to make sure you made it home safely after a night out with your friends. God is waiting up for you waiting to make sure you make it to his kingdom. God does not give a curfew like your mom and dad did, but he is ready and waiting to welcome you home with open arms. You can wait and tell yourself that you aren’t ready yet, that you will wait till a better time to give yourself to God, but also know that there are so many people who decided to wait and ended up waiting too long. There are people who never made it to the kingdom of heaven because they thought they had more time. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. God is ready for you today.
When you are ready pray with me . . .
“Dear Lord, I know I am a sinner. I believe that only through your son, Jesus, can I find my way to you. I believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless live, died on the cross for me, and was resurrected and raised to heaven three days later. I am ready to take my place next to you in the kingdom of heaven. Lord, please forgive me for the things that I have done. Wipe my slate clean and give me a fresh start. Through your son I am reborn as your child. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer and believe with your heart then welcome to the family, my new brother or sister. You are now a child of God. I could not be happier for you.
The journey does not stop here though. The journey never stops. If you sincerely accepted Christ as your Lord and savior then your next step is baptism. Through baptism our old life is washed away and we are truly made new in the Lord. It is visible proof of our spiritual rebirth as a child of God. Feel free to contact me and I will do all I can to help you in your journey as you grow in your faith.
I pray you have a blessed day!
(All scripture text is NIV translation and courtesy of biblegateway.com)