Relationship – Not Religion
God gave us rules to follow, but the very first man and women proved they couldn’t follow the rules (Genesis 3). That’s when the world went from being perfect to imperfect, abundant to thorn-filled, simple to complicated.
God’s plan for Adam and Eve was ignored. We have ignored God’s plan ever since.
God had a plan to restore lawbreakers to loved family members. It was a plan only He could accomplish.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” – John 3:16-17 (MSG)
We need rescue because we have broken God’s rules.
“The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity, he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” – Romans 3:22-24 (MSG)
God expects us to follow His rules perfectly, but we can’t. God’s rules help us see we have always needed help.
We can’t ask to be rescued if we don’t admit we are sinners who need help.
The Only Option
You can’t make God love you more by doing more good things than bad, attending church more often, or just being nice.
“God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” – Romans 5:8 (MSG)
Remember, God sent Jesus to make things right. He didn’t need our help. He made the choice to do something most people would never consider - save people who’d done nothing to deserve it.
The Resurrection Celebration
Because Jesus was perfect God accepted His sacrifice on the cross, but Jesus didn’t stay dead.
“[Jesus] died for our sins, exactly as Scripture tells it; he was buried; he was raised from death on the third day, again exactly as Scripture says.” 1 Corinthians 13:4 (MSG)
We broke God’s rules. God could not accept us because we weren’t perfect. The only way for us to be acceptable is for God to accept Jesus’ sacrifice. When Jesus died on the cross it became possible for us to be acceptable to a loving God whose greatest desire is to be with you.
Jesus said He was the only way to God (John 14:6). There was one way to God and only one. Jesus made a brilliant connection between God and humanity.
To repent means to turn from breaking the law to following God’s rules. It doesn’t mean we will never sin again, but that each time we sin we turn back to the God, the rule maker.
Still Not Enough?
It’s never enough to simply try to do better at following God’s rules. We must agree that we cannot save ourselves. We must agree that Jesus was the only one who could. We must believe that the only way we can ever be right with God is through the acceptable sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and a willingness to repent or turn away from our sin.
“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” – Ephesians 2:8-10 (MSG)
Becoming acceptable to God is something that begins in the heart, soul, and mind and then becomes real. The words below cannot save you, but the way you really respond to Jesus will. Believe it.
God wants to welcome you into His family, but you must come to Him willingly.
Start a Conversation
Dear God, I have sinned against You. I have done a great job of breaking Your rules. I need help. When Jesus died on the cross He offered the help I needed. Today I want You to know I accept Your help. I accept Your forgiveness. I repent of my sin. I accept an eternal life that will allow me to always be close to You. I want You to be the decision maker in my life. I want to be close to You. I want You to change me. Only You can do it. By Your Spirit, help me follow You, and when I mess up, remind me that You love me enough to welcome me back. In Jesus’ name, Amen.