How Can I Know God?
God’s desire has always been to have close intimate fellowship with us. In the Garden of Eden God walked and talked with Adam and Eve face to face before they disobeyed and sinned against Him. Still God is committed to His plan to be with us now and forever. The question is, Do you want to be with Him? If yes, then,“in your personal opinion, what do you understand it takes for a person to go to heaven and have eternal life?” In other words, How can we be with God forever?
There have been many responses to this question: Live a good life; Treat everybody the way you want to be treated; Try to do the right thing; Go to church, read your Bible, pray everyday and try to do what God wants you to do; Don’t kill anyone; Don’t steal; don’t lie, don’t cheat, and on and on and on. What I’d like to do, however, is to share with you how the Bible answers this question. I hope that’s ok.
We’ll use the word FAITH to make the answer easy to remember. Each letter will stand for a word:
F is for FORGIVENESS. Everyone has sinned and needs God’s forgiveness. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In Jesus only, God provides the forgiveness we need. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:17).
A is for AVAILABLE. God’s forgiveness is available for all. “God so loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Though God’s forgiveness is available for all it is not automatically given to all. Jesus Himself said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
I is for IMPOSSIBLE. According to the Bible, it is impossible to get to heaven on our own. “By grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). We can’t earn heaven; there is nothing we can do. It is given; it is a gift from God. So, how can a sinful person have eternal life and enter heaven where God allows no sin?
T is for TURN. If you were going down the road and someone asked you to turn, what would he or she be asking you to do? Answer: Change direction. Turn means to change direction. The word in the Bible is repent. Turn away from sin and self. That is, turn from doing your own thing and from living for yourself for, “Unless you repent, you will all perish” (Luke 13:3)! Instead, turn to Jesus and trust Him only as your Savior and Lord. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Acknowledge that you need Him, because His sacrifice for sin is the only thing that God accepts. Wait! Here is the greatest news of all: “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. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
What happens if a person is willing to repent (turn) from their sins and confess Christ? He will go to heaven.
H is for HEAVEN. Heaven is the place where we can live with God forever. Jesus said, “If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3). Again Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10). This eternal life can begin now. H also stands for HOW. How can a person have God’s forgiveness, eternal life and heaven? Answer: By trusting in Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
Have you understood what you have read: (1) That we need FORGIVENESS because we are sinners - Rom. 3:23; (2) That through Jesus this forgiveness is AVAILABLE for everyone including you - John 3:16 ( Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the whole world and anyone who believes in Him will have eternal life); (3) That it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to save ourselves and get to heaven on our own; (4) That we need to TURN from our sin to Jesus, trusting Him only as Savior and Lord; and (5) That when we do this, put our trust in Jesus to save us from our sins, HEAVEN will be the place where we will live forever with God?
If you do understand, would you like to receive this forgiveness and eternal life by trusting in Christ as your personal Savior and Lord? The Bible says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. We call on God through prayer. Let the following be your prayer:
Dear God, I know that You love me and that You want me to live for You now and with You forever. I know that my sin keeps me from You and that only You can save me. I now understand and believe that You sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins and the He arose from the grave. I now turn away from my sin and place my faith in Jesus as my Savior and Lord. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer in earnest, then you are a child of God and have eternal life! Read the wonderful promise in 1 John 5:11-13. “And 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.”
Now tell someone about it! Get connected to a local church. Tell them you just accepted Jesus as your Savior and you need help to get to know Him better and to learn how to live in this new relationship you now have with Him. If you are in the area, we would love to welcome you to tell us of your decision. Visit us on Sundays for worship at the 8:00 or 11:00 a.m. service, or Wednesday evenings for praise and prayer at 6:30 p.m.