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This page is a follow up to the previous page where we discussed, 'Where to look for, and learn about God'. On this page we examined the evidence that produces a reliable and believable source of knowledge about God.
We are now able to answer the most important question, namely ...
In order to enter into a personal relationship with God, you need to have a basic knowledge of Him and His purpose for your life. This is called the Gospel.
Now that you understand that I am not simply teaching you something I sucked out of my thumb, or accidentally stumbled upon through a flash of my imagination or some personal revelation or vision, I would like to lead you into the truth of the Bible. In this section I want to guide you through a concise overview of the central message of the Bible and the Gospel.
The truth is that God has a glorious purpose and magnificent plan for your life, that is not only worth living for, but worth dying for!
Someone once said, if your faith is not worth dying for, it is not worth living for!
God created you in His image and He has a wonderful plan and purpose for your life and every person on earth! That's why He created you. God created you with a specific plan and purpose in mind and He built that desire to find your purpose in life into your inner human being.
This is the very foundation of the Christian faith and we read that in the very first chapter of the Bible, Gen 1:26-28: "Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;... let them have dominion over ... all the earth ... So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the ... earth.""
If this is so, why is this world in such a mess? Why are there suffering, disease, poverty, war and conflict, crime and corruption, HIV and AIDS, pollution, failure, misery and death all around us? Why are millions of people living in spiritual, emotional and physical poverty and darkness?
Why is God's purpose and plan for the world and for you not naturally fulfilled in our lives?
The Bible answers this question in Genesis chapter 3. Here we read the story of the fall. Adam and Eve, our first ancestors, became unfaithful to God. The story of the fall explains to us how Adam and Eve lost their Divine royal status when they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden and became subject to the satanic order. God cursed the earth because of the fall and banned Adam and Eve from Paradise.
The Bible does not tell us very much about the origin of Satan, but tells us enough about his character and mission to understand why the human race lost its Divine royal status. From various portions in the Bible we derive that Satan once was a glorious angel in service of God. He became proud and conceited and wanted himself to be God. He rebelled against God and subsequently positioned himself as an enemy of God, focusing his efforts to reign over creation in stead of God. (Is 14:12,13,14,15; Is 24:21; Is 34:4)
The result was that Satan managed to deceive our ancestors Adam and Eve and they fell into sin, resulting in the world and the entire human race becoming subject to the authority of Satan and the reign of sin. The simplest definition of sin is disobedience to God. Sin is a Biblical word that describes an act, thought or attitude that is at odds with, or in opposition to the will of God as revealed in the Bible.
As an intelligent person created in the image of God, the question may come to your mind, how on earth did Satan manage to, as it were, 'steal' God's earthly dominion; why did Adam and Eve become subject to Satan's authority simply because they responded to his deception and temptation; and why is the entire human race affected by the fall and not only Adam and Eve?
The answer to this question is rather complex and a subject on its own, but I am going to try and answer this question in a nutshell, as it is extremely important to understand, especially if you have an enquiring mind like me. The Christian faith is not based on a few fairy tales such as 'the snake in the garden of Eden'. The Christian faith is based on concrete facts, which if understood properly, paves the way to a living faith.
The very fact that the human race was created in the image of God, provides our first clue. Because the human race was created in God's image, unlike any other creature, our make-up consists of a trinity - three in one: body, soul and spirit. Man was created with an independent personality (WILL, INTELLECT and EMOTION) of his own, like God. God did not create puppets He could manipulate at His own will - He created human beings with an independent personality with whom He could have a family love relationship.
So, in yielding to Satan's temptation, Adam and Eve, by an act of their own independent WILL, obeyed Satan in direct opposition to God's instruction, through which Satan obtained a foothold in their personality and nature. The effect of this is that Adam and Eve's nature became corrupt. Where previously they had no knowledge of sin and had no desire to sin, they now experienced an inner tendency to sin. To have a sinful nature means to have the inborn tendency to disobey God, to do your own thing and walk your own selfish way.
The only way this situation could be reversed was through a willful taking away from Satan, and surrendering to God of their personality (or heart) - Will, Intellect and Emotion. God could not do this unilaterally without violating man's sovereign Will. This would be against His own character, for He had created man in His own image as a sovereign entity with a Will of his own.
God is perfectly holy and righteous, meaning that God hates sin and does not compromise in any way with sin. In order to satisfy His righteousness and holiness He banned Adam and Eve from His presence, cursed the earth, and subjected humanity to eternal death. Adam and Eve were initially (just like God) created to live eternally. However, the fall brought the punishment of death over their descendants.
Our second clue comes from the fact that God created Adam and Eve with the objective to multiply. God's intention was that Adam and Eve should multiply and produce descendants that were, like themselves, in the image of God. In such a way God would produce a Royal family and Kingdom for Himself - all in His own image. However, the fall now resulted in Adam and Eve producing a family and descendants in their own (fallen) image.
Every descendant is now born in Adam and Eve's image with a fallen and sinful nature (or soul), in exactly the same way our children are born in our image, inheriting our nature (and DNA) at birth.
Unfortunately I have to paint you a picture that is not very pleasant, but fortunately this is not the where the Bible ends. The Bible only begins here! Fortunately this is not the point of arrival - this is only the departure point! This is the problem, but there is a perfect solution!
In order to understand the solution, you have to understand the problem! In order to arrive at the correct destination, you have to begin at the correct departure point. The reason why many people in the world who call themselves Christians never arrive at the solution they pretend to confess, is because they begin from the wrong departure point.
You see, for as long as you think you're OK, you are starting at the wrong point. For as long you think that you are not such a bad person, you are proceeding from a wrong perception. For as long as you think that because God made you He will accept you just as you are, you are relying on a deception. For as long as you think that because you are baptised, a member of a church, a church leader, pastor or priest, you are acceptable to God, you are relying on a false premise. For as long as you think that because God loves you He will excuse and overlook your sin, you are erring. For as long as you believe that God loves you as you are because He made you like that, you are relying on a falsehood.
The truth is that because you are a descendant of Adam and Eve, you were born under the curse, with a fallen and sinful nature - in a broken relationship with, and banned from the presence of God. You were born with a sinful nature that is NOT in the image of God! The fact of the matter is that God hates your inherited sinful nature from Adam and Eve, because this is NOT how He made you!
All that remained of God's original purpose for you is a longing and desire deep within you to find and fulfill God's purpose for your life!
Every person ever born and will be born on this earth, was born and will be born with a fallen sinful nature - in a broken relationship with, and banned from the presence of God. This is the reason why the world looks like it does; and this is the reason why you and millions of other people on earth are missing your destiny and purpose. This is the reason why every person on earth will die unfulfilled and meaningless lives - unless there is a way to restore your relationship with God your Creator to what God originally intended it to be.
Dear friend, unless something happens to your inherited sinful nature, you will never find your God-given purpose! Unless something happens to your inherited sinful nature, you will die an unfulfilled life! You may be very successful and prosperous in this life, but unless something happens to your inherited sinful nature, you will die without purpose.
I have to be honest with you, the truth is actually even sharper than this. Because you are a descendant of Adam, God pronounced eternal death over you. You are destined for eternal death - where "their worm does not die, And their fire is not quenched." Actually, I have to be painfully honest with you, you are on your way to hell - unless something happens to your inherited sinful nature! Because, you see, God is busy producing a posterity and family from the nations of the world for Himself, that will bear His image! And with the fulfillment of the world God SHALL have restored and fulfilled His purpose in creation! NOBODY will survive who is not bearing the image of God!
Now, here comes the good news! It is called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is also called the Good News, because it consists of the good news how to restore your position and relationship with God, your Creator, to a member of The Royal Family, through Jesus Christ the Messiah and God the Son.
Before I explain this to you, I want to ensure that you are listening to me without prejudice. Therefore, before we go any further, let me remove some common misunderstandings about the Gospel.
The Gospel is not a set of rules to live a moral life, a list of do's and don'ts to follow - it is a heart and soul transforming power unto salvation from a purposeless and lost existence to a life of purpose and fruitfulness for God.
The Gospel is not just a religion - it is a living relationship with God, the Creator of the universe.
The Gospel will not "cramp your style" - it will restore your relationship with, position and purpose as a member of God's Divine family, giving you a brand new purpose and lifestyle.
The Gospel is not an easy recipé for health, wealth, prosperity and material success - it is God's solution to the problem of the fall and sin, and the restoration of God's purpose of creation in the human race. Suffering and persecution will remain an integral part of life on earth, but in spite of this there is a life of victory for the Christian.
The Gospel is not just for certain categories, types or groups of people - it is for every homo sapiens and the entire human race.
The Gospel is not an optional extra for people who are religiously inclined or need psychological crutches - it is the only way to find your purpose in life. The alternative is an unfulfilled and meaningless life (however rich and important you may be) - and eternal death, damnation and separation from the presence of God!
We have said earlier that God could not unilaterally turn around the fall without violating man's sovereign Will. This would be against His own character, for He had created man in His own image as a sovereign entity with a Will of his own!
How would God manage to restore fallen humanity without powerfully intervening and violating man's sovereign Will? God had a perfect plan. The Bible teaches that God had this plan even before the foundation of the world? (Eph 1:4; 1 Pet 1:17-20)
God would, in the maturity of time, so intensely demonstrate His love for the human race that they would voluntarily choose to turn their backs on Satan and his kingdom of sin, and voluntarily surrender their lives to their Creator for the fulfillment of His heavenly purpose in their lives!
This is the fundamental and essential contents of the Gospel:
God the Father, in the maturity of time, demonstrated His immeasurable love for the human race by commissioning God the Son to leave His heavenly throne in order to become a man, born of a virgin through the miraculous conception of the Holy Spirit, in order to satisfy God's righteousness and holiness by accepting the punishment for sin and the fall Himself, and to die a substitutionary death on the Cross of Calvary for the sin of the entire world in our place.
Jesus Christ rose again from the dead on the third day and ascended into heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us - from where He will come again as judge of the world - to raise and collect His redeemed unto eternal life, and condemn the unbelieving world unto eternal death.
Through His substitutionary death on the Cross of Calvary Jesus Christ made a perfect sacrifice and paid the full penalty for your sin and the sin of the entire world, fully satisfying God's righteous demand that sin be punished by death. Through the shedding of His blood He fulfilled God's legal demand for reconciling man to God and breaking the power of Satan and sin.
Through His resurrection from the dead Jesus Christ broke the power of Satan who held the power of death, legally stripping him from his authority over the human race, rising as Conqueror over sin, Satan and hell! Simultaneously He restored for you and me God's purpose in creation and our eternal position as co-heirs with, and Bride of Christ.
Joh 3:16,17: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (NKJV)
Phi 2:5-11: "... Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (NKJV)
Rev 5:9,10 "And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."
Finally, how do I become a child of God and have my God-given purpose restored? The answer is through spiritual birth! You have to be born again! You have to be born of God! You have to be born into the family of God! There is no other way - there is no other way!
From the above paragraphs two amazing thoughts worth mentioning can be derived. The first is that when one sees the full picture of God's plan to restore humanity from the fall, you not only stand in awe and amazement because of the ingenuity and brilliance of its contents, but that God loved you and me so much that He was moved to such a drastic and dramatic step to prove it to you and me!
Who can resist such love? Which person, when he or she fully sees and understands the picture of God's plan of salvation, is able to resist or renounce such a demonstration of Divine love?
God builds His Kingdom through the voluntary willful surrender of His creatures through such an intense demonstration of Divine love that even the hardest criminal will be unable to resist it!
The question now is, how can you restore your lost relationship and position with God destroyed by the fall? The answer is, through spiritual birth. You must be born again. You must be born twice. You must be born of God! You must be born into the family of God. There is no other way!
Jesus said to Nicodemus: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (Joh 3:3)
There are two births - a physical birth and a spiritual birth. Physical birth is the beginning of physical life - the spiritual birth (or regeneration) is the beginning of spiritual life and a personal relationship with God. You have to be born twice, physically as well as spiritually, to enter into eternal life. Remember how I told you previously that humans were created body, soul and spirit? When you were born physically, you were born with a dead spirit because of the fall. Your spirit has to be born and come alive in order to be able to commune with God.
Regeneration takes place the moment when spiritual life begins in a person, in exactly the same way physical birth takes place the moment when physical life begins in a person. In exactly the same way someone who is born physically begins to breathe at birth, a person begins to breathe spiritually when he is born again.
In exactly the same way you know that you were born physically on a particular day, you will know that you were born spiritually on a particular day! Therefore, if you are not sure if you have been born again, then you are not yet born again, because if you are, then you will know it!
By faith! By faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross! God is the only One who is able to quicken the human spirit and faith is the catalyst that changes something humanly incomprehensible into spiritual reality.
Faith in Christ is the method instituted by God whereby the human race can restore their lost Royal position. Why faith? Because faith excludes all human effort! Faith excludes all human achievement and credit. Faith treats all people equal.
You cannot quicken your own dead spirit. You cannot save yourself! You cannot earn your position as a child of God through any achievement of your own. No amount of good works, charity, generosity, help to the poor, or whatever other good work you can think of can ever earn you a personal relationship with God! There is only one way - and it is by faith in Jesus Christ!
One final remark about faith. There is a difference between passive and active faith. Passive faith is the passive acceptance of a truth, while active faith is the personal appropriation of a truth for yourself through an active act of your will.
Passive faith will not quicken your spirit - only active faith will!
The reason why there are millions of people in the world calling themselves Christians but do not experience the full joy, peace and purpose of a Christian life, is simply this - passive faith. Passive faith will only make you miserable. That's like believing you're a beneficiary of a Royal estate, but you continue to live in poverty because you have failed to register and collect your share.
You may not necessarily remember the day or date it happened (unless you wrote it down), but you will surely know that it happened! The Bible says in Romans 8:16: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God ...” And we cannot be children of God without being born out of Him, in exactly the same way you cannot be your father and mother's child unless you were born out of them!
You will know that you have been born again when you have a relationship with the Author of your purpose! When you meet Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour, you will know that you have found your purpose. You may not yet know the detail of your purpose, but will know that you have found purpose!
It is possible to be very religious, to be baptised, to be a faithful church member, and even to serve on the church council or presbytery, to be a minister, pastor or theologian, without being born again! Religion and theology must not be confused with regeneration! The result and symptoms of regeneration is spiritual life - not religion and theology!
Do you know that you have been born again? Are you not sure? You can make sure this very moment! Regeneration happens instantaneously through a simple act of faith in prayer based on a basic knowledge of the Gospel.
You have to personally accept and believe the following:
You were physically born, and are a sinner because you inherited a sinful nature from Adam and Eve because of the fall. As a result you were born in a broken relationship with God. Rom 5:12: "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned ..Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,.." (NKJV)
Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin on the Cross of Calvary through the shedding of His blood, death and resurrection. Through His redemptive work on the cross, you may be justified and reconciled with God and this justification and reconciliation is offered to you as a free gift by God through Jesus Christ. Rom 5:18: "Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life." Eph 2:8,9: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (NKJV )
This free gift of God must be received by you through a voluntary act of your Will by faith in prayer, after which regeneration will follow as an act of God and proof of your acceptance by Him as His child. Joh 1:12: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name ..." (NKJV)
This voluntary act of your will by faith in prayer must contain at least these three elements:
CONFESSION - that you are sinner, that you have sinned, and that you deserve and are destined for eternal death - Jn 1:9: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.";
REPENTANCE - you must turn your back on your life of sin and be prepared to walk away from it - Act 3:19: "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord .."; and
FAITH - you must fully believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour and trust Him to save you from the penalty, but also from the power of sin. You must trust Him with your entire life - Heb 11:6: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (NKJV)
If any one of the above three elements are wanting, regeneration will not occur.
If you pray the simple prayer below with sincerity and all the earnestness of your heart by turning your back on sin, you will be born again and the Holy Spirit will come and dwell in your heart.
You may also pray in your own words, but it is important that you pray aright and that you mean what you pray. Jesus said in Joh. 6:37: “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that You died on the cross of Calvary in my place.
I confess that I am a sinner who needs Your salvation, forgiveness and cleansing.
Please forgive my sin and cleanse my heart with Your precious blood.
Please come and live in my heart, and make me Your child, restoring Your purpose in my life.
I accept You as my personal Lord and Saviour from this moment.
I believe the Bible as Your inspired Word and I take You on Your Word by faith.
I thank you that You have answered my prayer!
If you have prayed this prayer with a sincere heart and active faith, you may now be absolutely sure of your salvation:
You have been saved by grace through faith and your sins are forgiven! 1 Joh 1:9: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."; Eph 2:8,9: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (NKJV )
You are now standing in a personal and living relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son. Joh 1:12: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name"
You have eternal life through Jesus Christ and can be absolutely sure of your salvation and eternal destination in heaven! 1 Joh 5:11-13: "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God."
You may be absolutely sure that you are saved from eternal death and hell! Joh 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
There is much more to be known about your newly found faith and we want to send you some more information. We would like to encourage you to explore the power of prayer through your own prayer life. We want to continue to pray for you. We want to ask God to help you grow in grace and the power of God. We want to help you on the road forward and provide you with vital information concerning your spiritual growth. We also want to communicate with you to encourage you and help you grow in Christ.
Please complete and submit the form below as an indication that you have prayed the prayer of faith above, and to have your name included on the Spiritual Growth Prayer List.
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