God Loves You!
“God is love” (1 John 4:8). The magnificent story of God’s love for you starts at the dawn of time. The Bible says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). God wanted a friend. He wanted a companion who would walk and talk with Him. He decided to create a special friend who would share His experiences and who would love and worship Him. God began to prepare a beautiful home for His friend. He created the earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars. He created the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, the wide variety of animals and plants. He lovingly shaped huge mountains, and scooped out deep valleys. He placed beautiful gemstones and gold within the earth as treasures waiting to be found. When each piece of God’s creation was perfect, He created his masterpiece, human beings. All the creatures were birthed by God’s imagination, but God made us in His own image (Genesis 1:27).
The first human was named Adam and his wife was named Eve. As a gift, God gave them the entire world. He told them to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. Adam was King of everything he could see.
Every thing God created has a purpose. The birds were made to fly, the fish were made to swim, the plants were made to provide food, and air was made to breath. You were created to rule and to be God’s friend.
Every day, Adam and Eve walked and talked with God. God taught Adam how to be King. He explained to Adam the duties and privileges of ruling. As King, Adam must protect and love his wife. He must take dominion over creation. He must live in peace and harmony. He must use the resources God gave him to the best of his ability. Most importantly of all, as King, he must always obey his creator, God Almighty.
Unfortunately, there was another being who wanted to be king. His name was Satan. He was an angel who had rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:11-15) and as punishment, he was thrown from heaven along with all of his followers (Luke 10:18). Because Satan was jealous of Adam, he decided to steal the kingship from him. God gave Adam and Eve only one instruction. In the middle of their garden, God placed a tree. “And the Lord God
commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). The innocent looking tree was a test of their obedience. To eat from the tree would mean spiritual death and eternal separation from God.
One day, Satan appeared as a serpent in the garden. He lied to Eve and convinced her to eat from the tree. Eve took the fruit to Adam and he also ate it (Genesis 3:6). At that moment, Adam lost his kingship because he had disobeyed God. That evening, when God walked in the garden, Adam and Eve hid because they were afraid and ashamed of what they had done. God called them and was greatly saddened when His friends did not come out to walk with Him.
Finally, Adam and Eve told Him what they had done. They sinned by disobeying God. By listening to the serpent, they lost their kingship. Now, Satan would have authority in the world. Sin separated man from God (Genesis 3:22-24).
With great sadness, God removed Adam and Eve from the garden He had created for them. He did leave them one ray of hope by promising them that one day, a new King would come who would destroy Satan’s authority and save them from their sin of disobedience (Genesis 3:14-15). This Savior would restore God’s fellowship with humans by makings them kings again.
Sin Separates Us from God
Sin created a wide chasm or barrier between God and humans. Throughout history, people have tried to build a bridge across this gulf in many different ways (religions, good works, philosophy, morality, etc.) but without any success. Despite the common misperception that there are many ways to God, in reality there is only one way for us to regain fellowship with God. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
For centuries, Satan has attempted to destroy humankind. He caused poverty, sickness, pain, and death. Men and women began to lie, and cheat, and steal. Huge wars were fought and millions died and went to hell, “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41) where there is darkness and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12).
Yet, despite the great chaos, humans held on to the promise of a Savior who would destroy the horrible effects of sin. Jesus said, “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Just like Adam, all people are sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Every single person on earth has disobeyed God’s commands (Exodus 20:3-17) by lying, cheating, stealing, hating, speaking evil words, committing adultery, and even murdering. Each person is separated from God because of this disobedience.
The result of human sin is eternal separation from God. Since all life comes from God, eternal separation from Him is the same as eternal death. “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). The price which must be paid for sin is death. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost your more than you want to pay.
Jesus Died for Your Sins
Ultimately, only the promised Savior could defeat Satan and restore the kingdom. This Savior was God’s only Son. When the perfect time had come, God sent his Son to earth. “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Galatians 4:4‑5).
This baby was born to a virgin named Mary in the town of Bethlehem just as the prophets had promised. Mary named her little boy, Jesus Christ.
Jesus was God’s love gift to the world. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
God gave His best to us, hoping that we would give our best to Him. Jesus was both God and man. He was King of the Universe, yet because of God’s great love for humans, he laid aside his heavenly splendor and came to earth to teach us how to be kings again.
Once again, God walked and talked with humans in the person of Jesus. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18‑19).
Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and…he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” (Acts 10:38).
Jesus healed the blind, the deaf, the lepers, and every kind of disease (Matthew 8-9). He also raised the dead and cast out demons. Jesus taught people how to live in the kingdom of God. He used many wonderful parables and stories to communicate eternal truths. His greatest teaching was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). He also taught us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27).
Jesus also preached the Good News of the kingdom. The heart of his message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17). He asked people to repent (turn away) from their sins and reenter the kingdom of God.
Jesus trained his disciples how to be kings. He proclaimed the truth of the kingdom through his preaching, he taught the ethical principles of the kingdom through wise sayings, and he demonstrated the power of the kingdom by healing the sick.
Jesus died on the cross for you. Jesus healed many people from physical diseases, but his main reason for coming to earth was to heal a much bigger problem. Jesus said, “I have come to ‘seek and to save what was lost’” (Luke 19:10). Jesus came to restore the fellowship of humans and God. He wanted to destroy the barrier of sin which prevents us from walking and talking with the Father.
The only way to accomplish this was by dying. The price which must be paid for sin is death. Jesus was perfect because he never sinned so he did not deserve to die. Even though Jesus was completely innocent, Jesus decided to give his life in order to pay the price for everyone else’s sin. “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).
Some evil men falsely accused Jesus and condemned him to death. They beat his back with a whip and placed a crown of thorns upon his head. They nailed his hands and feet to a cross and left him to die. Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins. As he died he cried, “It is finished” (John 19:30). This meant he completed everything necessary for your salvation. Some disciples took Jesus off the cross and buried him in a tomb.
But Jesus did not stay in that tomb. After three days, Jesus rose from the dead! “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). Jesus came back to life and he is still alive today. He ascended into heaven and he is seated at the right hand of his Father (Ephesians 1:20). Right now, he is watching you and waiting for you to get saved from your sin.
You Can Be Saved
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). No human is perfect. Each person needs to be saved from sin. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
God made a way for us to be saved when he sent His Son to die for our sins. God is holy and no sin can appear in His presence. Before we can enter His kingdom, we must be cleansed of all sin. Jesus said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3 – KJV). We must turn from a life of sin and begin living for God. Just as children are very trusting, we should have a childlike trust in God. He demonstrated His love for us by sending Jesus even though we did not deserve to be saved. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Jesus is the only way to get to God. The Bible says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men” (1 Timothy 2:5‑6).
There is no human effort that can save us. It is impossible for us to earn our salvation. It is only through our faith in Jesus Christ and the grace of God that we can be saved. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8‑9). Salvation is a gift from God. When you receive a gift, you do not have to beg for it or pay for it, you simply receive it.
Whoever accepts Jesus as Lord will be saved. Jesus said, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9). Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). You can have a relationship with God simply by opening the door of your heart to Jesus. The moment you answer his call you will be saved from sin.
Being “born again” is synonymous is being “saved.” One of the Jewish religious leaders named Nicodemus came to Jesus one night. Jesus told him, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3).
Nicodemus was confused and asked, “How can a man be born again? Is he supposed to reenter his mother’s womb?” Jesus explained that it is the spirit of man which must be born again. Our spirits are dead because of sin, but through Christ our spirits can become alive.
It takes a miracle to transform something and make it new. If an automobile is broken, a mechanic can repair it, or if there is a tear in a piece of clothing, a seamstress can patch it up but only God can put a damaged human back together again. You can have a fresh start with God.
When you are born again, you become a brand new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). All the ugly sins from your past are washed away and you become clean in the sight of God. You become a child of God. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
It is faith in the word of God that guarantees our salvation.“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). It is our faith in the promises of God which gives us the victory over the sin of the world. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:1,4).
You can have assurance of your salvation. “This is the testimony: 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. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:11‑13). You can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are saved if you fully meet the conditions of salvation given in the Word of God. “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). You must base your belief on God’s Word, not on emotions, circumstances, church membership, or high morals.
The Bible promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). In order to be saved, all you need to do is confess your sins to God and confess that Jesus is Lord. You must also believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:9‑10). If you will do this, you will be saved.
If you want to be saved, pray this prayer with me. “Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I want to live with you in your kingdom. I ask forgiveness for all my sins. I believe Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins. I believe Jesus rose from the dead and today I invite him to be Lord and Savior of my life. Thank you for making me a child of God. Amen.”
Congratulations! Christ now lives inside of you (Colossians 1:27). Jesus will be walking beside you from now on. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Whenever you experience troubles, Jesus will be there to help you.
Now that you are a Christian (follower of Christ) you will dwell forever in God’s kingdom. God “…has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13‑14).
Right now, Jesus is preparing a kingly place in heaven just for you! “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2‑3).
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