We were designed by God to find ultimate fulfilment in life through a close intimate relationship with Him. The good news (actually the greatest news ever) is that through Jesus Christ, God has provided a way for us have this relationship with God, that we were designed for.
God designed and made everything in the world and He rules it.
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11)
When God created the world, He also made people to reflect in certain ways His own character, and He put us in charge – to rule, look after, care for, and enjoy the beauty and goodness of this world. God designed us to look after this world, under His authority, honouring Him and obeying His directions.
We have all rejected God by living our own way, without Him.
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away… there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
By rejecting God we have messed up our lives, our society, and this world, with everyone selfishly doing what they want, instead of following God’s ways as He designed. The end result of all this competing selfishness is a world with a lot of misery, suffering, and injustice.
God will not allow this rebellion forever.
“People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27)
So God’s just judgement is to give us exactly what we ask for, by removing rebellious people from Himself, and the possibility of having a relationship with Him – permanently. Because God is the source of life and all things good, being removed from God will mean being completely removed from life and all good things. Therefore, instead of everlasting life with God, rebellious people are in effect choosing everlasting death in a place away from God and everything good. So by choosing to live our own way, we have all chosen to reject God, which means in effect, that this is the outcome we have chosen for ourselves.
God has provided one way out of this terrible situation – Jesus Christ.
“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” (1 Peter 3:18)
And unlike us, Jesus didn’t rebel, but lived a perfect life of obedience, completely following God’s ways, and therefore unlike us, Jesus didn’t need to die and be removed from God. However, it was God’s plan for Jesus to allow himself to be executed on a Roman cross, which he did for rebellious people like us, in our place, in order to deal with the punishment that we deserve for our rebellion.
On one level this is good news, because although we don’t merit it in any way, Jesus died the death we deserve, for us, in our place, which enables us to be forgiven and enter into a close relationship with God as we were designed to have, a relationship resulting in everlasting life with God. On another level it is heart breaking to know that Jesus died for us, for our rebellion.
Jesus’ death was necessary, it was the only way.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
In the same way, God cannot simply overlook our rebellion, it would be unjust and a miscarriage of justice. Because God is holy, and just, and always does what is right He must judge and punish our rebellion. Yet at the same time God is loving and He does not want us to be separated from Him and everything good forever; so in His mercy, He gave His own Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place, and take the just punishment for our rebellion, for us.
Jesus is not dead – God resurrected him to life.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” (1 Peter 1:3)
Right now God is offering us new life with Him forever, not because we deserve it, or earned it, but because Jesus enabled it, by dying for us, in our place. Through Jesus our rebellion can be forgiven, and we can become children of God – part of His family. God’s forgiveness means that because Jesus died, we no longer need to be punished. Instead God can accept us, put His own Spirit in us, and we can begin developing a close relationship with Him, as we were designed and intended to have, a relationship that brings ultimate joy and fulfilment in life.
We must choose between God’s way or our own way.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:36)
Alternatively we can choose to turn from living our way, and turn instead to God and living His way, by accepting His offer of new life through Jesus Christ. When we do, God forgives us, by accepting Jesus as our substitute, and his death as the penalty paid for our rebellion. Then we are able to have a close intimate relationship with God, beginning now and extending beyond physical death into eternity. God also puts His Spirit in us so that we can live His way, under His authority, obeying Him, with Jesus as our ruler.
We must deliberately choose God’s way.
It’s not possible to be neutral because we are already living life our way in rebellion to God. The choice we have is whether to continue like this, or to turn to God and begin a new life. When we turn to God and His way of life it’s called becoming a ‘Christian’ and is more than something we simply believe on an intellectual level – it is a change in the way we live. It is a realignment of our attitudes, allegiances, commitments, and our disposition toward God.
A good way to mark this change is by talking to God, which is called prayer. You should acknowledge to God that you have rebelled against Him, and that as a result you deserve judgement and separation from Him. But because He is loving, you can appeal to Him for mercy, and ask Him for forgiveness based on the death of Jesus in your place. You can also express your desire to turn away from living your own way, to now live God’s way with Jesus as ruler of your life, and ask God to give you His Spirit to begin changing you and helping you live this new way. Use your own words, but here is an example:
Dear God. Thank you for loving me so much. I know I have rebelled against you and have been ignoring you. I am sorry for this, and I now want to have a relationship with you, and live your way, not my own. I know I don’t deserve it, but please forgive me for my sin, for all the wrong I have done and pain I have caused you, myself, and others. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for me, in my place, so that I can be forgiven. I believe and trust this is true, and now I now want to live my life for you, with Jesus as my ruler. Please teach me, and give me your Holy Spirit to help me live your way. Amen.
If you’ve decided to start living God’s way by becoming a Christian, then congratulations on starting this journey! Please contact us, because we would like to give you a free Bible, and explain how to begin growing your relationship with God.[whohit]Good-News[/whohit]