Relationship with Jesus
According to the Bible, there is nothing more valuable than having a true, saving relationship with Jesus Christ. It is described as a hidden treasure and the finest pearl, well worth selling all you have to possess it (Matt.13:44-45). A relationship with Jesus is said to be the ultimate and only key to true hope, joy, peace, meaning, and fulfillment in this life, as well as eternal life in the one to come. Ask anyone who truly knows Jesus, and they will confirm that all of this is true.
In order to enter into a relationship with Jesus there are a few important Biblical truths that you need to know. These truths can be categorized under the headings: God, Man, Jesus, and Response.
God - Most people know that God is kind, good, merciful, and gracious. This is most definitely true. What many people don't realize, or perhaps just don't give much thought to, is that God is also perfectly holy, righteous, and just. He is the creator and ruler of the universe and, as creator and ruler, He has set down the rules and standards for all mankind. One day He will hold each of us accountable for whether or not we have lived up to them. One of God's standards that many people aren't aware of is that, in order to live with Him eternally in Heaven, we must be absolutely sinless and perfectly righteous just like He is. God hates sin and will not dwell eternally with anyone who is tainted by it, even in the slightest.
Man - According to the Bible, though all mankind has been specially created in God's image and is therefore highly valued by Him, all mankind has also sinned and fallen short of His perfectly righteous standard. We all know that we are not perfect but most of us don't realize just how sinful we are or how grievous our sin is to God. To help you see your sinfulness, consider this; when asked what the most important commandment in the Law was, Jesus replied, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Are you obedient to this commandment? Are you loving Him with absolutely everything you've got? Is He your treasure, far above all else? For all of us, even the most dedicated Christian, the answer is "no" and that grieves and angers God terribly. In fact, our sin is so grievous and terrible to our holy God that just one sin is enough to warrant eternal punishment in hell. Now that seems harsh and unfair to us but really it is neither harsh nor unfair. We know that God is perfectly good, perfectly righteous, and perfectly just and, therefore, hell can be neither wrong nor unfair. Instead, one sin is indeed deserving of eternity in hell because our rebellion against the God of the Universe is just that terrible. God sees this clearly, but we do not because we are so wrapped up in our sin and because we compare ourselves to our fellow sinners and their standards rather than God and His standards.
Jesus - Hopefully you have gathered from the above paragraphs that all mankind is in a really bad spot. Though we are created in God's image, all of us are imperfect sinners who have fallen far short of God's perfect standard and are thus disqualified from heaven and destined for hell. Thankfully, because of God's amazing goodness, He provided a way of escape that was very costly for Him. He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to live the absolutely perfect life that we couldn't live and to take the eternal punishment that we deserve for our sins. When we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and what His life, death, and resurrection mean for us, both His death and His life are imputed to us. That means that the death that Jesus died on the cross for our sins is credited to our account, thereby canceling the record of all our sins, even the most grievous ones, and that the perfectly righteous life that Jesus lived is also credited to our account, thereby legally qualifying us to spend eternity with God in heaven.
Response - So what price do we have to pay to gain this way of escape provided through Jesus Christ? The Biblical answer is absolutely nothing. It is a complete and totally free gift. All that God requires is that we truly believe in what He has promised us in Jesus Christ and that we count on Jesus, not our good works or anything else, for our salvation and standing with Him. When we stand before God on judgment day, if He were to ask us, "Why should I let you into heaven?" the only acceptable answer will be, "Not because of anything that I have done but because of what you have done for me through Jesus Christ." This is what separates Christianity from all other "works-based" world religions. Biblical Christianity recognizes that: 1) because God is holy, His standard is too high for anyone to attain on their own, 2) because God is perfectly righteous and just, He cannot allow our sins, which are so evil and grievous in His sight, to go unpunished and, 3) the only way to make salvation possible for us was to send Jesus to live, die, and rise again on our behalf.
How can it be that easy? What about Repentance? - Now some of you with a Bible background are thinking, "What about repentance? Don't we also have to turn from our sins, stop living life our own sinful, selfish way, and start living our lives God's way instead?" The answer is "yes" but it's important to realize that repentance is the result of the belief that saves us. It is our faith in Jesus alone that saves us, not our new repentant lifestyle. True saving faith will always be marked by true repentance. We see this in John 3:36 where John the Baptist says, "Whoever believes in the Son (that is Jesus) has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." We would expect John to say, "...whoever does not believe in the Son will not see life..." but He does not. Instead He says, "whoever does not obey the Son will not see life..." His point is this: True, saving belief in the Son will always be accompanied by a lifestyle of obedience to the Son (repentance). You can't have one without the other.
What makes good news SO good? - Let me conclude with this point that John Piper makes so well in his book God is the Gospel. The thing that makes the good news about Jesus so good is not that we can have our sins forgiven, that we can avoid spending eternity in hell, or even that we can instead spend eternity in heaven, even though all of those are amazingly good things. The thing that makes the good news about Jesus so good, is that when we put our faith and trust in Him we are immediately transformed from enemies of God to beloved sons and daughters. Through Jesus, a path is laid for us to enter into an eternal, personal, love relationship with the God of the Universe and His Son Jesus Christ. It is this relationship that is the ultimate treasure and pearl that is worth selling all to possess. It is this relationship that is the ultimate and only key to true hope, joy, peace, meaning, and fulfillment in this life as well as in the one to come. Jesus said in John 17:3, "And this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." When Jesus defines eternal life He points not to freedom from sin and suffering, nor to eternal peace and rest, nor to seeing loved ones who have passed on before us, but to knowing Him and His Father. The thing that is going to make heaven so great is that it is going to be all about getting to know God and Jesus better and better for all eternity! No one understood this better than the Apostle Paul who said in Philippians 3:7-8, "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ." Paul's experience can be yours. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Come to Jesus today!
How can we help? - If you have any questions at all, or if there is anything we can do to help you take the next step in your relationship with Jesus, please let us know. There is nothing that we would rather do! (Contact Us)