I am sure you have realized that the people around you are not perfect. Even our best friends can disappoint us. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that we ourselves are not perfect. Some of us easily see this, and some of us don’t. We all mess up at times; so none of us will be good enough to enter heaven, where there is no sin, on our own. We all have a sin problem, and this problem will eventually send us to hell. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23a says, “For the wages of sin is death.”
What is sin? Sin is basically selfishness. We want to follow our way instead of following after God. Lying, cheating, and stealing are certainly sin as they involve deceiving others. But sin is breaking any of God’s laws. You can read more of God’s laws in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17. Sin also involves wanting our way more than we want God’s way.
So why did God give us laws that he knew we could not perfectly keep? The short answer is we need to see the standard so that we will know just how messed up we are. God is perfect, and we will never be able to live up to his standard on our own. We need to realize that. It’s like we are a baby sitting in our own diaper so long that we just don’t realize how gross it is; we are accustomed to it.
But God loves us so much that he wants a relationship with us. He created people to walk and talk with, as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. So God has a plan to redeem people based on his goodness, not ours. It starts with someone recognizing that they have sinned. (Pride, lust, greed, envy, putting ourselves before others, lying, sex outside marriage, cheating, drunkenness, etc.) Isaiah 53:6 and Romans 3:23 speak of how everyone has sinned. Then we tell God that we are sorry for our sins and ask him to cleanse us. The telling God that we are sorry for our sins is called confession. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Since God has such a high standard, how does the forgiveness work? The short answer is that someone had to die for the forgiveness of sins to happen. Someone had to bear the punishment. Hebrews 9:22b says, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” We each deserve to die and go to hell for our own sins, but because of God’s immense love for us, he has made a way for us to be forgiven. Only the death of a perfect person would be acceptable to atone for sins. You and I are not perfect; God is. So God decided to make himself a person to walk around on earth, and he died in our place. Romans 5:8-9 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, (how) much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
How many people have loved you enough to die for you? Jesus, who was both fully God and fully human, did just that. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
But if God the Son, Jesus, died for us, how is he alive today? Death has no power over God. He died to take the punishment for our sins so he can live in relationship with us, but he did not stay dead. He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. He appeared to his disciples for a while, and then they saw him ascend into heaven. The four Gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John–talk about these events toward the end of each book.
Here is a summary of how receive salvation in Romans 10:9-10, “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
These are not magic words. You need to genuinely be sorry for your sins and believe that Jesus is God. But personally, when I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and be the Lord of my life, I felt his warm presence flood into my soul and cleanse me. It was magical. The one who created the stars touched me in a deep way, and I was no longer sitting in the muck. Then a surprise gift, the Holy Spirit, came to live inside me.
The Holy Spirit is one of the persons of God. He is a personal counselor who can help you learn to live in a way that is pleasing to God. John 14:26 says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my (Jesus’) name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
But what if you want the forgiveness of God, but you don’t want to obey him? Well, then you are sitting on a fence. God is perfectly good, and he knows everything, and he is all-powerful. He is the best friend one could have. Ask yourself why you don’t trust him? He doesn’t lie, and he wants what is best for you. But that may mean that you won’t get what you want…back to that sin problem.
Our human nature makes us want to be in control, so we can make life turn out the way we want. But we can’t control everything in life, and often, we just mess things up. So we try to control more. It is like a rat running on a wheel. And when we get the things we want, they do not satisfy us for long. Then we want something else.
The truth is that every human life has a puzzle piece missing…a void. We try to fill it with money or stuff, but earthly things will never satisfy it for long. The void continues. That puzzle piece is God-shaped; only a relationship with God can fill it. God wants to talk to you and hear your thoughts. The Bible is filled with stories of God talking to people (Adam & Eve, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Job, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Deborah, Gideon, Stephen, Paul, Peter, etc.) God wants to talk to you. He took the first step in having a relationship with you by dying on the cross, making a way for your sin to be forgiven. You need to trust him. Ask him to forgive your sin and come to live in your life. Tell him that you want the relationship with him. Yes, your life will now be his, but I much prefer living with his joy and peace rather than living in my own muck.
Ephesians 2:1-10 is a good summary of salvation. Ultimately, each person makes a choice who they are going to serve. Serving yourself will ultimately bring disappointment and death. In loving God, you will find your life.
Once you pray to ask Jesus to forgive your sins and to give you the Holy Spirit, then you need to find a Bible-believing church. Start reading the Bible and praying everyday. The book of John, after Luke in the Bible, is a great one to start reading. It will teach you more about Jesus.
If you have questions or have prayed to Jesus, leave me a comment.