know god?

are you attracted to jesus?

The gospel

Christians believe what’s called “The Gospel.” Gospel is from a Greek word meaning “good news.” It had a semi-technical use, referring to an official proclamation sent out by royal messengers that the king had a son, an heir to whom the throne would one day pass. Such an announcement was usually received as good news by people because it meant their future was secure.

The Christian Gospel is the good news that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to secure our future. That future had become imperiled by sin, which every one of us has committed, and must be punished. The penalty our sins deserve is death, not just physical death, but the spiritual death which is separation from God. Since our soul and spirit will live forever, eternal separation from God means consignment to hell, a place where all the benefits of heaven and blessings of God are absent. In His love, God wants us with Him in heaven enjoying glory rather than suffering the agonies of hell, so He sent Jesus to do for us what we could not do for ourselves; liberate us from our fate. Either we have to pay for our sin, or we can by faith accept that Jesus paid the penalty of them on our behalf. That’s why He went to the cross. The guilt for all our sins was placed on Jesus. When He suffered and died, it was for us. The just penalty for our wrong-doing was satisfied in His act. He was our substitute. His work on the cross accrues to us by believing in Him.

Wait, there’s more… Many people have died. Their death didn’t do anything for us. Why is Jesus different? He didn’t stay dead. He rose again! He rose because in Himself, He was sinless, so death had no claim on Him. The death He died was ours. His rising from the dead PROVES that the just penalty due our sins has been satisfied. If Jesus were still dead, then it would mean He was still paying for our sins. That He rose is proof His work satisfied the demands of divine justice. And just as our sin was transferred to Jesus when He died, so through His resurrection, His righteousness is attributed to us.

All of this means our relationship to sin has radically changed. A genuine belief in Jesus is marked by a different attitude toward sin. Instead of justifying or excusing it, sin is regretted and shunned. Believing in Jesus doesn’t mean we never sin, but our attitude toward sin changes so that we don’t want to sin. We come to the place where we despise that fact that we still “like to sin.” This change of attitude toward sin is called repentance. True faith in Jesus is accompanied by repentance. If there isn’t repentance, then it isn’t genuine, saving faith.

So, if you’ve tracked with this and are ready, read over the following prayer and see if it’s an expression of what you believe. Then, if you want to, go back over it as your prayer, or just reword it in your own way.

Father in Heaven,
I acknowledge my sin. I don’t excuse or rationalize it. It’s wrong and deserving of your judgment. But I know You love me and sent Your Son, Jesus to die for me. I believe that when He died, the penalty for my sins was fully satisfied. And I believe that He rose again from the dead to justify me before you and to give me a new life.
In Jesus’ name, forgive me and make you your child. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so I can grow into all You created me to be. Direct me to a good church where I can learn more about You.
In Jesus Name – Amen.

scripture

John 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.

Romans 3:23 • for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23 • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 66:24 • [For those] who have transgressed against Me; their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched.

1 Timothy 2:6 • [Jesus] gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

Romans 10:9–10 • If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 6:23 • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:10 • If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

2 Corinthians 5:21 • For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Acts 2:38 • Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

1 John 1:6 • If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

are you inquisitive?

IF YOU ARE “SKEPTICAL BUT HOPEFUL” READ ON…

What follows is for those who are inquisitive regarding the Christian Faith, but have enough questions, concerns, or objections they find embracing the Faith to be intellectually dishonest. If you find yourself in that category, we hope what follows will help you overcome some of those barriers to faith. Let us begin by commending you on your commitment to intellectual integrity. We’re convinced that integrity will eventually lead to your seeing the reasonableness of the Gospel.
That’s where we want to begin; by affirming that what Christians mean by faith is not irrationalism. Modern categories of philosophy tend to divorce faith from reason. This is both unnecessary and unfortunate because it turns faith into a kind of anti-rationality. Classically, philosophy and theology were done in tandem. But the secularists of the Enlightenment were determined to build a wall between reason and faith. The result is that many today assume faith means believing something in spite of the evidence.

The Bible roots faith in real events. As the Bible means faith to be a reasonable conclusion to the evidence at hand.

Generally speaking, skeptics have either honest or dishonest doubts. Honest doubts are genuine intellectual obstacles to faith that if answered would see someone come to faith. Dishonest doubts are objections that aren’t interested in finding answers so much as being excuses to not believe. It’s not difficult sorting out if a person has honest or dishonest doubts. If they have honest doubts, once they find good answers to their concerns they move toward faith. With dishonest doubts, good answers aren’t enough; they move no closer to faith even though they’ve been given less reason for their lack of it. They use their objections like a shield to ward off belief.

So, be honest, are your doubts honest or dishonest?

Consider this; if you had five doubts, and one at a time were given reasonable, convincing answers to them, would you take a step closer to faith with each answer? Or would you just raise another objection, then another, ad nauseum?

If you have honest doubts, the next step is to identify what they are and begin the process of finding answers. Doubts usually boil down to a few basic concerns…

Is the Bible reliable? If this is your concern, please follow up by going here.

Is faith in Jesus the only way? If this is your concern, please follow up by going here.

If God is all loving and all powerful, why is their evil in the world? This is one of the most difficult challenges posed, not just to Christianity but to all religions. While there is a ultra-simple answer, most find it simplistic and need something more intellectually satisfying. Dinseh D’Souza’s recent book God Forsaken, is an excellent treatment and answer to this issue. For a shorter answer, go here.

Of course, there’s a long list of other concerns, but these are the most frequent. We don’t have space here to answer these satisfactorily. Follow the links above to find studies that address these issues.

Let me end with this: Over the years as I’ve encountered people with honest doubts, I’ve had a chance to answer them. When they raise their next objection, I ‘cut to the chase’ and ask if they want to surrender to Christ. Those who do usually find the things they had trouble with before evaporate. You see, Jesus IS the answer. Believe in Him and you’ll find the solution to things you didn’t even know you had. [If you want to receive Christ, read the previous section, "Attracted"]

Believing in Christ doesn’t mean giving yourself a lobotomy. The Christian Faith is a reasonable response to the evidence. It’s not something that requires you leave your brain at the door. We invite your honest questions and concerns. We know there are good answers to them that are persuasive.