Beginning a Relationship with Jesus
One of the most important steps you can take in your life is to profess belief in Jesus Christ and through him become rightly connected to God. He was sent to reconcile people to God and to each other.
Why Do We Need Jesus?
Paul teaches that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is anything we think, do or say in which we try to find our purpose, meaning or pleasure apart from God. According to Paul, the result of this sin is death, which is separation from God. However, God is loving and compassionate and made a way that we can have our relationship with him restored.
Jesus is that Way.
Who Is Jesus?
Jesus is both the Son of God and the son of Mary, fully God and fully human.
Jesus is a unique figure in world religions because he came as a suffering servant, willing to endure hardship to restore us to a relationship with God. He was born in weakness as a baby, established no earthly kingdom and called followers who were not the influential and wealthy, but 12 ordinary men.
Jesus knew physical suffering in fasting, flogging and the cross. Jesus knew betrayal by close friends (both Judas and Peter) and the depth of loss of a friend dying (Lazarus). Jesus knew what it was to be overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of asking God if there was any other way. He knew the overwhelming demands of those who needed him and the exhaustion of ministering to others. He knew what it was to be wrongly accused and even handed over to death – by those who claimed to love God the most. And he knew what it was to have his family misunderstand him and even think he lost his mind.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” Hebrews 4:14-16.
As Hebrews says, Jesus can empathize with our weaknesses and advocates for us in prayer. He understands us because even though he was the Son of God and sinless, he was also fully man.
What Did Jesus Do?
The gospel (good news) of Jesus is that the death and resurrection of Jesus reconciles (restores) us to a right relationship with God that was broken by sin. We have new life in Jesus.
In this new life with Jesus, we experience salvation — deliverance from the presence, power and penalty of sin.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith” Romans 3:23-25.
“Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said, ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.'” Mark 1:15.
What is so amazing about the Christian faith is that we are not saved by anything we do — we can’t do enough, be good enough or say enough. But we are saved by what Jesus has done, his death and resurrection. We can come to Jesus as we are, and we find acceptance and love. It’s called grace. We are saved by grace through Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” John 3:16-17.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:6-8.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5.
How Should We Respond to Jesus?
Repent means to turn away from — to change one’s mind or to think differently. It means turning away from a life apart from God and turning towards a life with God. Repentance means to stop trusting in our own efforts to gain God’s approval and instead trusting in Jesus to receive God’s acceptance.
“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit ‘” Acts 2:38.
We often think “to believe” is to set our mind on something. The word Jesus uses for believe means more than just to fix one’s mind. It means to rely on, cleave to, trust and have faith in. Belief is an action verb that is lived out in a dynamic way when we commit to following Jesus.
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame’” Romans 10:9-11.
“Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” John 6:28-29.
“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31
A Journey of Faith
Our journey of faith begins with repenting of trusting ourselves to make everything work and instead deciding to believe in Jesus and welcoming the new life that he offers. This means a willingness to stop doing things my way and being willing to follow Jesus and do things his way.
When we’ve reaching the place of declaring the truth of the good news, we often express it through a prayer to God such as the one below:
Dear God, I am a sinner. Because of my sin, I deserve to spend eternity separated from you. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and was raised from the grave to give me new life. I acknowledge that I can never be good enough to have right-standing before you or to earn eternal life in heaven. So, I turn from trying to do it all myself to put my belief in Jesus Christ to save me. I desire to pursue a relationship with you and serve you the rest of my life. Thank you for your saving me—for your love and your grace. Amen.
If you have decided to believe the gospel and commit to following Jesus, we want to hear about it. Tell a friend at Gateway, tell one of our Pastors or leaders or tell us here: