How many Christians are waking up each day and trusting God for a miracle in their life or even just to get through the day in one piece only to find that nothing changes or improves? The simple answer; too many, right?
Many people turn to God and believe that by praying to God that it will all start coming together. I mean, that’s what the bible tells us in John 14:14, right; “Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” Well, we must be sure to read the fine print here, and in this article, we will examine this in greater detail.
Before we can harvest the fruit of John 14:14, we first need to be sure we have covered the basics. I will start at the beginning here, so we don’t leave anyone out or behind.
Here is a breakdown of what we will cover:
- Who is Jesus?
- What do we need to be saved from?
- Who can be saved?
- How are we saved?
- What is required of me now?
- Am I strong enough to do what is required of me?
1. Who is Jesus?
Without going into great detail, there is a Trinity; 3 parts. There is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Each are God and each have a part. God the Father is the Creator, God the Son is the Savior, and God the Holy Spirit is the Helper.
In the early bible days, we couldn’t simply go to God the Father. We needed to bring sacrifices to a high priest who was ordained to bring the sacrifices before God. Fortunately for us, God the Father had a better way in mind; Jesus.
God sent Jesus to earth, born of the Virgin Mary, to be the ultimate connection between us and God. By doing this, we now have the privilege to go straight to God because of Jesus. However, we need to understand that Jesus is the only way;
“Jesus told him, I am the way, the truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
This is the only way.
Now, the reason the people originally had to bring sacrifices to be offered to God was to atone for their sins. We all have sins, well, except Jesus. The bible tells us in Romans 3:23; “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”
Jesus’ purpose on earth was not to console, but to become the ultimate sacrifice to the Lord; an atonement for our sins once and for all time.
When Jesus was crucified on the cross, He took the sins of the world upon Himself, and died a sinner’s death. Three days later, God rose Him from the dead, thereby overcoming death itself, and He was then seated at the right hand of God in the Heavenly Realm.
2. What do we need to be saved from?
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Satan was a glorious angel in Heaven, that is, until he allowed pride to overtake his spirit and at that point, God sentenced him to a life of death in a place called Hell – apart from God.
So, we have Heaven and we have Hell. These are both eternal places, and people will occupy both places for eternity; depending on the condition of our souls.
Naturally, as Satan is destined to certain eternity in Hell, he doesn’t want to do it alone. So, he is working tirelessly to bring as many of us as possible with him.
1 Peter 5:8
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
There is a coming day of Judgment when Christ returns. We will all have to stand trial before Jesus and give account for our actions. 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us that we will each receive what we deserve. This means, if we are right with God and have done well, we will receive our rewards. But if we have done evil and aren’t followers of Christ, we will share eternity in Hell with Satan. Without Jesus, none of us could be right with God.
We need to remain aware of our inner condition if we want to spend eternity in Heaven. Without being right with God, we are essentially His enemies, just like Satan. This means, we will be cast into the lake of fire with him for eternity.
If we deny Jesus or ignore His calling, we can be sure that we are also denying God the Father.
“Anyone who hates me also hates my Father.”
If God hadn’t given Jesus up on our behalf, we would be left trying to live under the law of God in order to earn our Salvation, and like Romans 3:23 says, we all fall short.
But we can have Salvation easily through Jesus Christ, His Son.
3. Who can be saved?
Have you ever felt, or ever heard anyone say, “I’m too bad to get into Heaven or to be forgiven?” This is a common misunderstanding that Satan has many believing. By believing this, we give up hope for our Salvation because we aren’t willing to accept that Jesus forgives.
According to the bible, anyone and everyone can be saved.
“But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.”
Okay, but what about when our sins are too big?
“For the same God who said, ‘You must not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You must not murder.’ So, if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.”
This means that in God’s view, sin is sin. If we are guilty of one sin, we are a sinner. When we look from a worldly perspective, the size of our crimes yields various consequences. From a Godly perspective, sin is sin and yields its consequence; eternal separation from God.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So, when someone say’s that their sin is too big, it’s not. According to God, all sin must be repented of, just the same.
So, who can be saved? Everyone and anyone, regardless of our pasts.
4. How are we saved?
Let’s look at two scriptures here:
John 3:16 and Romans 10:9
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
So, we can see that we must believe in Jesus to be saved; that’s it. If we don’t know Jesus, or have Him living in us, we need to invite Him into our lives. This is done by simply praying to Him:
Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I want a better life and I want to spend eternity in Heaven. Please forgive me of my sins and please come into my life to save me and guide me and direct me. Please teach me how to live in you. Amen.
It’s as simple as this to invite Jesus into our lives. Of course, this is different than living a life acceptable to the Lord, of which we will look at in the next point. But if you have prayed this and believe that Jesus is the Savior, be sure to understand that you are saved.
Too many people get caught up in the idea that there is more to it than this; that they must do some other things such as deeds or rituals or practices or something. Nope. This is it. Salvation is a free gift from God. He gives it to us by His grace. We cannot earn it or buy it. We can only accept His Son and believe.
5. What is required of me now?
Once saved, we must live like we’re saved. If we are living unto Jesus, our lives will look different than someone who doesn’t know Jesus. At this point, we must get involved with other believers and we must engage in studying the bible, which is God’s Living Word.
As we do this, we will learn how to live and how to be an example for the Lord. When we’re obedient to God, our life will reflect that of Jesus’ life on earth. Jesus’ greatest command to His followers is to love one another (John 15:17).
Just as we expect God to forgive us of our sins and remember them no more, we too must be willing to forgive others for their faults against us. This is the love part. I’m not saying this is easy, but God requires it of us.
As we have asked for forgiveness of our sins, we also must turn away from them; this is the repentance part. If we only ask forgiveness and then go on sinning in the same way, then we haven’t truly turned away from them.
Matthew 28:19 tells us to go forth teaching what we have learned and making more disciples. We must share the Good News of Christ’s Salvation with others who haven’t heard, or who don’t understand. This is the great commission for us.
By doing this, we are being obedient to God; by living as an example of Christ and showing love and kindness, we bring glory to God.
6. Am I strong enough to do what is required of me?
We must understand that apart from God, we are not strong enough to stand up against Satan. This means that if we are right with God and have Jesus in our lives, we can draw from His power (Philippians 4:13) to make it past the attacks of the enemy.
It is at this point that we also must realize that we have the power and knowledge to go about our day living according to the way of Jesus, and not according to the way of the world, all while still living in the world.
“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
In this scripture, we can see that the Holy Spirit is our Helper, sent by God, to guide and direct us and help us know right from wrong, and as it says, He will remind us when we forget.
So, we can rest assured that God will help us to know what the right thing is to do, but it’s up to us to do it. Satan will surely tempt us with virtually everything he can, but the Holy Spirit will remind us of what is right, and we can choose to avoid the temptation.
Temptation is not sin. Giving into temptations is when the sin takes form.
Ephesians 6:10-17 tells us about the spiritual battle going on and tells us of six pieces of armour for our protection against the devil’s attacks.
Finally, we can read the bible daily, do bible studies and devotionals, go to church, watch online sermons, fellowship with other believers, and pray constantly. These are all great ways to learn about the Word of God and connect with Him on a much deeper level.
Like any relationship, the only way it can grow and flourish, is if we tend to it and nurture it.
If we want freedom in Christ, then we must be sure to abide in Christ. We must be obedient to His Will, and we must be sure to not live to please the world. As we go about walking in Christ’s love for others and being an example, we can draw on His power to stand firm in our belief, regardless of what non-believers say to us.
Many people think that they are following Jesus, but they are in fact, hanging on to a small part of the world. We can’t be divided in our faith; we must love one and hate the other. We must be sure to worship only the true God. When we are doing this, we can be sure God will work out all things for our good, as we are promised in Romans 8:28.
So, if you are trying to follow Jesus, but feel like life is just one big ball of stress ready to explode, start by turning to God in prayer, repenting for any known sin and asking God to reveal any walls or blockages that must be dealt with, cast your cares upon the Lord, that is, give your problems to God and trust that He will work them out. Try to think of any bad habits you might be holding onto, as this can give a foothold to the devil.
Finally, understand that being Christian isn’t a magic pill for the easy and fun and affluent life. God might choose to bless us, but we might also still endure difficulties – study Paul’s life in the bible. What we can know is that when we choose to live obedient to Christ, we will make it through the struggles in this life and we will live in complete freedom with Him in Heaven; free from any pain, struggles, sadness, stress, or sorrow.
Don’t know Jesus? Simply pray the prayer above or one like it and get acquainted with other believers as soon as possible.