© Jeff Stacey, 13 May 2020
How is God’s amazing free gift discovered?
It usually begins by feeling a need for God – wantingto be OK with him. This often comes for a person in some kind of life crisis. Or by realising the seriousness of these issues in other ways, especially through reading or hearing what is in the Bible. Jesus Christ gave his invitation and promise:
“I stand at the door and knock. If any person hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.” [Revelation 3:20]
If this was you, how could you ‘open the door’ to Jesus Christ?
The first thing would be to believethat he actually was and isGod’s Son and that all the Bible says about him is true. Next, realise that you are imperfect (a “sinner”) having not fully believed in God or lived in his ways, and often ignored him. Now admitthis to God by praying to him (it may be a struggle to get past your pride or shame or fears or objections or excuses). Ask God to forgiveyou, on the basis that Jesus Christ’s death on that cross wasthe substitute foryour own fatal condemnation.
How is God’s free gift received?
Having admitted your sinfulness and asked God to forgive you, just ask him to come into your life and enable you to live in hisways. You can trust him thathe will! As Jesus Christ said:
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within them”. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.[John 7:38-39]
God comes into your life as the Holy Spirit. This might sound a bit spooky or scary, but there is nothing to fear. How it actually happens is different for each person. Jesus Christ said it was even like being “born again”:
“You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘you must be born again’. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” [John 3:7-8]
Often it involves deep joy, peace and an awakening awareness of God. He changes you by giving you a new “heart” – new motivations – so that you want to please him:
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.
It is a total “conversion”! This is because the Holy Spirit has actually come to live within a Christian. That changes everything.
What does becoming a “Christian” really mean?
Here is the wonderful good news: any Christian is forgiven and alreadyOK with God because they have acceptedhis free gift. This gift is forever! There is nothingfurther to be “earned”.
Amazingly, despite ongoing imperfections, God regards any Christian as perfect because of theirsubstitute – Jesus Christ.
But , how do we go onliving as a Christian?
The love principle of free choice still applies. So to liveconstantly under the guidance and enabling of the Holy Spirit involves willingly choosingto obey him. How do we keep this up? That’s the next vital question.
Continue to NT3