There is nothing more important in life than knowing God. We all long for purpose and meaning in life and our attempts to find them on our own have often left us unfulfilled and empty. We all have a “God-shaped hole” in our lives longing to be filled. Money, success, sex, power, relationships, philosophy, and even religion cannot fill the void in our hearts. There is only one way to fill the void. This is a simple presentation of the gospel story that teaches us how to know God and spend eternity with him. First, the bad news.
The Problem: Sin
The Bible makes it very clear, the problem we all have is sin. Sin is not just something we do that is wrong, it is much deeper than that. We are born with a propensity to do evil. We’ve inherited this condition a long time ago in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve made a choice to refuse to live God’s way and as a result, all humanity would follow (Romans 5:12, 18).
The truth is that you and I would have done the same thing. Every day, we make choices to honor God that lead to life and choices that dishonor him and lead to death.
It doesn’t matter how good you are or how religious you lead your life. God’s standard is perfection (Matthew 5:48). The Ten Commandments were in part given to show us how bad we really are and how we have all failed to live up to God’s standards (Romans 3:20). We’ve all sinned and missed the mark (Romans 3:23). Sin is a deliberate act against God and the penalty for sin is spiritual death (Romans 6:23). Now, the Good News.
The Solution: Jesus Christ
God has given us a way to escape the penalty of our sin and the punishment of hell. He understood our problem, and because He loves us, sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to bridge the gap between man’s sin and a holy God (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
Jesus who is fully God, became fully human and entered our world to rescue us. Even though He was God, he experienced everything we experienced yet never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).
The Old Testament sacrificial system was set up to atone for the sins of Israel. The Bible teaches that, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22). The sacrificial system was a foreshadow of what Jesus would come to do. He took the sins of the entire world upon himself and was brutally crucified, in our place and for our sin. That was not the end of the story.
After three days, Jesus rose from the dead. We call this the resurrection. Because of the resurrection, Jesus proved that he has the power to defeat sin, Satan and death (1 Corinthians 15). This was the greatest demonstration of love the world had ever seen (Romans 5:6-8). It’s not enough to know what God did in Jesus Christ. You must make a decision and respond to His invitation.
The Response: Accept God’s Offer
How do we respond to God’s offer? We first must turn from our sin and turn towards God. This is called repentance. It’s an act of the will that rejects sin and embraces God (Acts 26:18). Only God can remove our sin and give us eternal life. But, only you can turn from your sins and receive Jesus.
Second, believe in Jesus Christ and receive Him into your life as Lord and Savior. Becoming a Christian literally means that you have been “born again” (John 3:3). This is a spiritual rebirth that happens the moment you accept Jesus Christ into your life.
This offer is free and cannot be earned by anything you do for God (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9). Being a Christian means having a life giving relationship with him. It’s getting to know him for the rest of your life and into eternity.
How Do I Accept God’s Offer?
Once you are ready to turn from your sins and believe in Jesus Christ, you can receive the forgiveness of sin and the hope of eternal life by saying a simple prayer to God, something like this:
“Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I do not deserve eternal life. I believe now that you died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation and to prepare me to be in your presence forever. Jesus, come into my life, take control of my life, forgive my sins and save me. I am now placing my trust in You alone for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life. In Jesus Name, amen.”