“There is nothing else in my life that has proven more valuable, more important, or more satisfying than my relationship with God. You, too, can have a personal relationship with God. In fact, that’s exactly what God longs for—to know you intimately and personally. He’s not interested in you following a religion; He wants a relationship—with you and every person!”
–John Maisel, Founder of East-West
To start we need to clarify why none of us has this kind of relationship with God from the beginning. We humans have done something so terrible that it has irreparably shattered our relationship with God. The Bible tells us what that terrible something is:
“All [humans] have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” –Romans 3:23
The term “sin” literally means, “to miss the mark, to err, to wander off the path.” I know that I don’t always live up to my own moral standards, so why should I be surprised when a holy God declares me to be a sinner because I do not meet His standards of moral perfection?
God’s perspective from heaven is that we are all sinners—none of us are good, not even one (Psalm 14:3). And, unfortunately, living good lives won’t lead to restoring our relationship with God. In fact, the prophet Isaiah tells us:
“Behold, You were angry, for we sinned. We continued in them [that is, in our sins] a long time; And shall we be saved? For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” –Isaiah 64:5-6
Any attempts we make to clean ourselves up for God may be well intended, but they fall short of the spiritual expectations required for pleasing a holy God.
One of the reasons God is good is that He is just—truly just, perfectly just. But that means He can have no tolerance for sinful, broken people—people who have fallen short of His standard. His justice must be satisfied.
This presents God Himself with something of a dilemma. In His justice, God demands punishment; but in His love, God desires restoration of our relationship.
And this is where real Christianity offers you and me some incredibly good news.
In Jesus Christ, God came down to earth so that we can experience His love fully. When Jesus became a man and allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross, He satisfied God’s justice. In this amazing sacrifice of love, Jesus took our sin into His body so that we could become free from sin and live.
He paid the penalty for our sin that keeps us separated from God. Jesus was able to do that because He had no sin Himself. He was perfect in His relationship with God the Father, but He took our sin upon Himself and paid the debt demanded by God’s holy and righteous justice.
Jesus didn’t stay dead. Two days after his death, He burst out of His tomb. His resurrection showed that He had not only conquered sin, but that He had also conquered death. Christ has set us free from sin and death.
That’s why Paul could write: “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
God offers you and me a free gift: forgiveness of our sins, restoration of our relationship with God, and eternal life—all through the love of God and the victory of Christ over sin and death.
So how do you come into a personal, intimate relationship with God?
As I said, it’s a free gift, but anything that is free must be received. The way to receive God’s free gift is to believe it—to take God at His word by telling Him that you accept His gift and want to enter into the restored relationship that He offers you.
By asking us to receive this gift, He is asking us to trust in Him, rely upon Him, and depend upon Him to save us from our sins. This means that you must trust Him—and Him alone—as the One who had paid your penalty, brought about forgiveness, and provided the basis for a restored relationship with God forever.
Would you like to put your trust in Jesus right now, so that you can know without a doubt that you are in a fully restored relationship with God? If so, let me suggest a simple prayer by which you can express that desire to Jesus:
Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me. I believe that You suffered and died on the Cross so that I might be forgiven of my sins and have a fully restored relationship with God. Thank You for conquering death by Your resurrection so that I might receive the free gift of eternal life. I open my heart to You, and I invite You to be my Lord and my Savior. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. I ask you to make me the person You want me to be.
If you prayed that prayer, you have accepted the free gift of God! You are saying that you believe that Jesus Christ came, died and rose again from the grave for you—to forgive your sins and give you eternal life.
You have not trusted in a prayer, but in a Person—the Lord Jesus Christ—to save you. You have restored your relationship with God forever.
Welcome to the family of God!
If you prayed this prayer, we would love to hear from you. Please send an email to [email protected] and let us know that you prayed to received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.