You go to church, you help people, you do good deeds, but my question is, do you talk to God? do you pray? Well of course you pray, I mean, you do go to church, but what I mean by praying is, do you talk to Him like how we’re talking right now?
God is described as a loving father who desperately desires a real relationship with you. He doesn’t desire you to obey a list of rules or practice a bunch of religious rituals.
Originally, when God created humans, we did have this relationship with Him. We walked with Him in the Garden of Eden and fellowshipped with Him. That’s why He created us. When humans (Adam and Eve) chose to sin (do things our own way and not God’s way) we created a rift between God and us. Sin entered the world.
From that point on, everyone that was born was born into sin. We are all predisposed to try to do things our own way and not God’s way. God is perfect. There is no sin in Him and we cannot fellowship with Him if we have sin in our lives. If God allowed sinful people to enter heaven it would no longer be perfect. It would end up being as bad as it is here on earth.
At this you might be thinking, “yeah but I’ve a pretty good person. I’m sure compared to most people, I’m a saint. I’m sure God will let me into heaven.” I have asked many people and almost every one of them has told me that they think they are going to heaven. They are less clear on exactly who will go to hell. The reason they know they are going to heaven is almost always the same; “Because I’m a good person.” My response is to ask them a few questions to help them see their life from God’s point of view. Take a minute and answer these questions truthfully:
1. Have you ever told a lie? 2. Have you ever looked at someone with lust? 3. Have you ever stolen anything? 4. Have you ever been envious of something someone else has? 5. Have you ever used God’s name as profanity? 6. Have you ever hated anyone? 7. Have you always placed God as the highest priority in your life, all the time?
If you answered yes to number one, then doesn’t that mean you are a liar? Jesus said if you lust after women in your heart it is the same as committing adultery with her (Matt 5:28). If you’ve stolen anything then that means you are a thief. Each of those items above are one of the 10 commandments.
Do you think that God will find you guilty or innocent when you stand before Him and he decides whether to send you to heaven or hell? Those are the only two options (guilty or innocent…heaven or hell).
Think about this for a minute. What if someone were to place a device in your brain that could record all your private thoughts for a week, and then they played them on a big movie screen for all your friends and family to see? The bible says that God knows the secrets of our hearts (Psalms 44:11).
If you concluded that God will find you guilty, you are correct. The Bible says:
“For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.” ~ James 2:10
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” ~ 1 John 1:8
The Bible is clear that it is not just Adam and Eve that are guilty, but everyone. We have all sinned.
“The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!” ~ Psalms 14:2-3
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. ” ~ Romans 3:23
Did you catch that? “No one does good, not a single one”! Many people think that they will get to heaven by doing more good deeds than bad deeds. The Bible makes it clear that “God’s glorious standard” is well beyond reach for us. In fact, that is the literal translation of “sin”. It means “to miss the mark”. God’s standard is perfection. We would have to be perfect to earn it on our own.
In God’s eyes we are all guilty. If you tell a “white lie” it earns you the same ultimate punishment as murder. Do you realize that even if you only committed five sins a day, in one year that would be 1,825 sins. If you live to be 70 you will have sinned 127,000 times!
So what can you do? This is a bad place to be in. You need help. There is nothing you can do to erase those bad things you’ve done. You can’t hide them. God knows every thought you have and everything you’ve done.
If He just ignored all that evil then He’d be unjust. After all, don’t people already accuse Him of looking the other way and not punishing evil? No, if He is going to find Hitler guilty, then He is going to have to find you guilty, and me! We’re in a bad spot here. We’re guilty as charged. Our only hope is for someone to pay our punishment for us.
This punishment is described as “death” in the Bible. There are two kinds of death, physical death and spiritual death. Everyone will experience the first death, physical death. But, the Bible says that our sin makes us deserve the second death, spiritual death. This spiritual death is eternal separation from the love of God.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Because of our sin, we deserve the spiritual death of being separated from God for all eternity in Hell. However, there is another half to the verse above. God has provided a way out, an escape, from our death penalty. This way is through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The wages of sin is always death. Someone must pay for sin with their life. It is our debt and we deserved to pay it. But, God loved us and desires to restore His relationship with us. So, He agreed to pay the price for us. Jesus Christ, who was fully God, decided to take on human form. He agreed to come to earth and pay the price, to die, for my sin and yours so that our relationship with God could be restored.
“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Timothy 2:5
Jesus Christ is the only one who could reconcile us with God because he was completely sinless. He became our Mediator, our Bridge, between us and God. He stood in the gap and paid our debt.
“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” ~ 1 Peter 3:18
Jesus Christ conquered death. He suffered physical death but not spiritual death because he was sinless. He was raised from the dead and lives forever with God the father in heaven. Because of his sacrifice, all of us can conquer the spiritual death. The Bible says:
“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
This is the great hope that is found in Jesus. As Christians we know that when we die we will be with Jesus in heaven and will not be eternally separated from God’s love. This is ours, not because of anything we have done, but because Jesus rescued us.
But it is only through Jesus that this hope is found. You cannot get it by trying to earn it, by following another path or believing in another god. After all, no one else died to save us. No one else paid the penalty for our sin. No one else has ever even been qualified to!
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” ~ John 14:6
God’s plan to restore His relationship with us is summed up in this passage:
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” ~ John 3:16-18
It is a free gift, and it is for anyone who will accept it. God does not discriminate. But, you must receive the gift. You have to believe in and trust the one who is offering the gift enough to receive it. The Bible says that there are two things you must do in order to receive this gift (in order to be saved): confess Him and believe in Him.
“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 it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved . . . For Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9, 10, 13
You must come to a place in your life where you recognize that you are a sinner, that you deserve this death sentence. It is for your sins that Jesus had to die on the cross. Repent of this sin and turn to Jesus. The word “repent” means to make a “U-turn”, to stop going your way and turn your life over to Jesus. He will show you how to go His way.
If you let Jesus come into your heart He will wash away all your sins. You will be completely forgiven in God’s eyes. You will begin the relationship that God planned for your life. The promise of heaven will be yours as well.
If you are ready to take this step, I encourage you to pray something along these lines. It is not the words that are important but the condition of your heart.
[Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I have repeatedly done things my way and not your way. I know that this sin has caused a great separation between me and God that I cannot cross without you. I believe that you came to earth and died for my sin. You paid the price that I could never pay. Thank you for your sacrifice. I believe that God raised you from the dead, and that through you I can conquer death as well. Please forgive me of my sin and come into my heart. I open the door. I repent from my sin. From today on I will allow you to direct my life. You are my Lord and Savior. Thank you Jesus. ]
If you prayed that prayer and meant it in your heart, you may not feel any differently, but something has changed. You now belong to Jesus. Your sin is gone. You can approach God. He will hear your prayers. Your relationship with Him has begun! In fact, the bible says that you are now his child!
“. . . to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” ~ John 1:12
The next step for you is to start growing. You need to confess your faith before others (just like Romans chapter ten says, “confess with your mouth”). You need to find a local church that teaches the Bible and get involved in a small group of believing Christians who can help you grow.
I would love to hear about your decision as well. Please contact me and let me know. I will pray for you and I may be able to help connect you with some local believers.
If you aren’t ready to receive God’s free gift yet, continue to pursue it. You may want to visit my page Evidence You Can’t Ignore. There are also some other good resources out there. Here is one that may address some of your concerns: The Evidence Bible
(How to have a relationship with God: by philippians1v21)