- Have you received forgiveness from God for all the sins you have committed since you were born?
- Have you experienced God's salvation at the personal level?
- Do you know that God loves you in a personal way?
- Have you received Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour?
- If Jesus comes today, will He gladly take you along with Him to Heaven?
These are very important questions. They are perhaps the most important questions you will ever face. God loves you personally and knows you by name, as a distinct individual.
In God's sight, you are a very important person. God's love for you is so great that He gave the greatest and most precious gift that He had, specially for you. This gift is embodied, not in a thing nor in a philosophy, but in the person of His Son - the Lord Jesus Christ. This tract is written to help you to enter into a relationship with Jesus that will enable you to answer "Yes" confidently to each of the above questions.
The first thing you should know is that God is holy, righteous and loving. Man, on the other hand, is sinful. Man's sinfulness is revealed in many ways, e.g. in his doing what he ought not to do. Most people tell lies, others commit adultery or fornication, others are full of envy or are covetous, some steal small or big things, others gossip, some are proud and arrogant, some cheat, others give or receive bribes, others hate one person or the other. Some read dirty books and magazines, others are controlled by alcohol, many are controlled by the love of money, others are self-centred and full of unbelief, others believe in and practise witchcraft, others carry talismans and other forms of medicines for self-protection. The Bible says, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Even people who have not sinned openly have sinned in their hearts. According to the standard set by Jesus Christ, if you look at a girl or a boy or a woman or a man with lust in your eyes, you are already guilty of immorality with her or him in your heart (Matthew 5:28), and if you hate someone, you have committed murder in your heart (1 John 3:15).
So sins that are committed in thoughts, words, and deeds are all serious before God. There is no one on earth that has never sinned. Some have sinned more than others, but because all have sinned, all are guilty before God. That includes you, for the Bible says, "If we say that we have not sinned we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). So, God's Word, our consciences and our experiences, all bear witness to the fact that we have sinned.
Sin separates man from God, since a holy God cannot have a proper relationship with sinful people. There is a gap, created by sin, between man and God. Although man has tried to bridge this gap in many ways, e.g. by prayer, by going to church and doing a lot of what he considers to be good things, the gap is not bridged. In fact, God considers all the good deeds done by man in his own strength as sinful. The Bible says, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteous acts are as filthy rags"(Isaiah 64:6). They are filthy because man's goodness, even at its best, is contaminated by impure motives. God's Word says, "No one is put right with God by doing what the law requires" (Romans 3:20).
Sin does not only separate man from God. It also pays a salary. This salary is eternal separation from God in hell, and every person who continues in sin and refuses to repent, will be thrown into the lake of fire on the last day. The salary has also begun to manifest itself now in broken hearts, broken homes, purposelessness, etc. However, the present suffering because of sin, is nothing to be compared with the agony of those who will be in hell as a consequence of rejecting Christ, either passively or actively.
Although all human beings are sinners and rightly deserve God's judgment and punishment, God nevertheless loves us. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to come and die on the cross, where we each ought to have died because of our sins. God put all our sins, past, present and future on Jesus Christ, and punished sin once and for all on the cross. Jesus died where you ought to have died. He shed His divine and innocent blood so that a sinner like you may be forgiven. He bridged the gap that separates man from God, and opened a new way by which sinners can be reconciled to God. Jesus did it on the cross and rose again from the dead as proof that God was satisfied with His work on behalf of sinners. He lives forever to forgive all sinners who repent genuinely of their sins, forsake these sins and receive Him as their Saviour. He wants to forgive you NOW, give you a new birth, and write your name in the book of eternal life, so that you will never perish.
God, in Christ, has paid the price for all sin. The only thing that is left for you to do is to respond to His love for you. There are four things to think about and act upon if you want God to forgive you and give you eternal life. These things are represented by the first four letters of the alphabet: A,B,C,D.
ADMIT that you are a sinner by nature and by practice, and that on your own you are without hope. Tell God that you have personally sinned against Him in your thoughts, words and actions. In a sincere prayer, confess all your sins to Him one after the other. Do not omit any sin that you can remember. It may be helpful if you write out your sins on sheets of paper and then burn them after God has forgiven you. In doing so, you must be truly sorry for them, since they pierce God's heart. Then, truly turn your back to and abandon your sinful ways. If you stole, steal no more. If you have been committing adultery or fornication, stop it. God will not forgive you if you have no desire to stop sinning in all the areas of your life; but if you are sincere, He will give you the power to stop.
BELIEVE that Jesus Christ, who is God's Son, is the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me" (John 14:6), and the Bible says, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:5-6). If you believe this, you are also rejecting every other system or philosophy that suggests that a man can be reconciled to God outside of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you believe in Jesus Christ, you will want to receive Him, for, "As many as received him, he gave them the power to become the children of God" (John 1:12). But,
CONSIDER the cost of following Him. Jesus said that all who will follow Him must deny themselves. This includes selfish financial, social and other interests. He also wants His followers to take up their crosses and follow Him. Are you prepared to abandon your own interests daily for those of Christ? Are you prepared to be led in new directions by Him? Are you prepared to suffer for Him and die for Him if need be? Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword... and a man's enemies shall be they of his household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:34-38).
This is very costly, but God's gifts - peace, joy, eternal life, etc, are far greater than whatever it may cost you. You do well to choose Him. Jesus will have nothing to do with half-hearted people. He demands a total commitment. He will only receive and forgive those who are prepared to follow Him AT ANY COST. Think about it and count the cost. If you are prepared to follow Him come what may, then there is something you must DO.
INVITE Jesus to come into your heart and life. He says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any one hears my voice and opens the door (to his heart and life) I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me" (Revelation 3:20). Why not pray a prayer like this one, or another one as the Holy Spirit leads you?
"Lord Jesus, I am a wretched, lost sinner who has sinned in thought, word and deed. Forgive me all my sins and cleanse me. Receive me, Saviour, and transform me into a child of God. Come into my heart now and give me eternal life. I will follow You at all cost, trusting Your Holy Spirit to give me all the power that I need. Amen."
If you have prayed the above prayer sincerely, then Jesus has forgiven you and made you God's child right away. He has blotted out all your sins and forgotten the fact that you ever sinned (Hebrews 10:16-17). You have eternal life (1 John 5:11-13). You are born again; you are an entirely new creature and the past is gone (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are saved (Romans 10:9).
Rejoice in your new position before God. Thank Him for His marvellous love, forgiveness, salvation, etc. Begin at once to tell other people about your new life in Jesus.