Do you have a personal relationship with God?
That one question can bring a strong reaction no matter where a person is spiritually. If you are a regular here on the blog and part of this little cyber community, you probably do have a relationship with Christ. I pray you know Him and are growing up “in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15).
I hope you have a vibrant relationship with Christ and are passionate about sharing Him with others.
But even if you have a relationship with Christ, as Molly shared yesterday, you can be so focused on the work you believe you need to “do” for Christ, that you miss out on what He desires to do in you. You can be caught up in checking off a list of good behaviors, and striving hard to “gain God’s approval” and be missing out on the heart of the gospel. Jesus came as a rescuer, He loves us and desires for us to respond to that love, He is not holding us at arms’ length, waiting for us to clean up our act in order to meet His approval—that’s not the gospel.
Jesus came as our rescuer, He loves us and gave Himself for us, and every moment of every day can be lived in the freedom and joy of that love.
If you don’t know Jesus Christ, I have some good news that I want to share with you today. If you do know Him, but are unsure of how to share Him with others, you might want to post this link on your Facebook wall, or consider using some of the points below as you tell your family and friends about Him.
I don’t know where you are spiritually, but because I care about you, I want you to know that God has a rescue plan for those of us who are in need.
The word gospel means “good news” and this is the good news—Jesus Christ came (God in flesh) to suffer the penalty for my sin, for your sin as well, in order to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, so that we could (through His atoning blood) enter into relationship with Holy God!
Please click here to read Romans 8.
The Apostle Paul mentions in this chapter that Jesus Christ was the offering for sin and those who are in the flesh cannot please God (that’s you and me—all of us!). I am completely unpleasing to God in my natural state, but when I approach God, acknowledging my sin—confessing that I deserve the wrath of a Holy God, and with that confession, seek His forgiveness—then I can experience what I John 1:9 declares:
[box]“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”[/box]
When you read the word “unrighteousness” think of crawling through a mud hole; you know, getting really filthy. When I’m really filthy, all I can think of is getting a good, hot bath. Jesus wants to clean us up. What I mean by this kind of “filthy” is, think of the most rotten thing you’ve ever done. That’s you and me. He came to rescue us from our worst state. He came so we don’t have to stay in that filthy condition.
Wow, clean from my naturally “filthy” state, that thought just feels good!
[box]“God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation of our sins” (1 John 4:9 –10).[/box]
The work that Jesus did on the cross was necessary to rescue us from the penalty of sin. But that’s not all, there is another exciting and personal aspect to having a personal relationship with God. As we still struggle with sin and temptation, it isn’t our good works that will “save us” any more than our good works could accomplish our salvation and eternal life. We still need the saving (or sanctifying) work that Christ accomplished on the cross and the grace He provides as we “work out” our salvation, as Philippians 2:12–13 encourages us, meaning as we grow spiritually due to submitting to the work of God in our lives!
Shortly before Jesus’ death, as He was preparing the disciples for his departure from earth, He gave them this promise:
[box]“When the Helper comes whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me . . .” (John 15:26).[/box]
[box]“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment . . . When He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth . . .” (John 16:7-13).[/box]
This “Helper” that Jesus mentions is God’s Spirit.
Once we’ve confessed our sin to God, asked for and received His forgiveness, the Holy Spirit then “takes up residence” in our soul, He “fills us” (Romans 8:9).
Talk about having a personal relationship with God—living within us—THAT is PERSONAL!
Because of our fallen, sinful, and completely depraved condition, we are in need of a Savior who could “purchase” or redeem us from that state:
[box]“Conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:17-19).[/box]
Jesus came to do this. He is the Redeeming God.
But redemption also has a broader aspect than just our salvation or “rescue” from eternal damnation (as HUGE as that is!) and Monday we’ll look at what else He has in store for us.
What about you? Do you have a personal relationship with God?
Are you still in a “filthy” condition, needing to be washed clean?