Who wouldn’t admit that God has the prerogative to command us?
We ARE surprised then to learn that God also “invites” us to turn and follow Him.
This strikes us as strange in the same way that it would be odd to be invited by our boss to do our work. Yet Christ truly delights in issuing gracious invitations to show us His kind intention.
- Jesus invites us as sinners under judgment to be forgiven and cleansed;
- The Lord invites us as “empty” individuals to receive from His abundant fullness.
How do we respond? STEP ONE is to ADMIT THAT YOU NEED A SAVIOR.
Nearly everyone starts outs knowing they’re nowhere near perfect. But most of us have bought into the idea that whatever the standard is, it’s not perfection, and that we’re likely good enough for God to accept us. We certainly don’t consider ourselves disqualified.
Since so much is at stake, it’s entirely appropriate to ask if that conclusion is accurate? We ought to explore a solid answer to what God thinks of us. In the Bible the surprising answer is that we do not deserve and cannot earn heaven. We actually deserve the opposite -- God’s punishment. (Romans 2:23; Romans 6:23)
It’s only because of God’s great patience, what the Bible calls His “long-suffering,” that we haven’t yet come into judgment.
What’s the problem? In one word, sin. In the 21st century many don’t seem to view personal problems in terms of sin. For some, the word even suggests fanaticism of some sort or a harsh religious intolerance and judgment.
The current idea is that we’ve progressed beyond the antiquated, narrow-minded sin label. The problem with that approach is that we don’t seem to have progressed at all.
What the Bible calls sin is still very much present. Doing away with the word hasn’t done away with what the word described.
Sin is the word God used to describe our failure to love Him
with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul and with all our strength.
In that light it’s obvious that we haven’t obeyed God adequately. The Lord also commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. We haven’t done that one adequately either. This thing called sin got the better of us in our relationship with God and in our human relationships as well. (Matthew 22:27-39)
Jesus once said that the healthy do not need a physician but the sick (Matthew 9:12). You must first agree with God’s assessment of you as a sinner in order to become a Christian.
Unless you agree with God’s diagnosis of your life as unrighteous and entirely unqualified for heaven you will never recognize your need for a Savior. But even if you do admit that you deserve God’s punishment for your sins you may still be off the mark.
Some people have the idea that they can earn their way back into God’s favor and even into heaven itself – by working harder, or by trying to obey Him better, etc. In other words, some get the idea that they should become their own savior. That’s a problem!
God has sent only one Savior – Jesus Christ. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin and to purchase eternal life which He now provides as a free gift (1 Corithians 15:1-4). It is God’s grace that saves us – not ourselves – certainly not our attempts to earn back God’s favor (Ephesians 2:8-9)
How do we respond? STEP TWO INVOLVES RECEIVING JESUS CHRIST AS LORD AND SAVIOR.
We become a Christian:
- by honestly acknowledging and repenting of (turning from) our sins
- by NOT trying to become our own savior
- by turning to Christ and relying on what He accomplished in dying to receive the punishment for sins and gain eternal life
Christians also believe that Jesus is alive today – having been raised from the dead. Because of His resurrection believers have a personal relationship with Jesus that lasts forever.
We worship, love and serve Jesus now because He first loved us (Romans 8:36-37). Believe in what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Pray and ask Christ to forgive you, save you and give you new life.
Tell someone what you’ve done. If you think you need help, ask . . . that’s what the church is here for!
THIS is how God showed His love among us . . . He sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him.
THIS is love . . . not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)