“Life.” What does it mean? Does it have a purpose?
Does what I do make a difference?
Is there a God?
The Bible nowhere attempts to prove the existence of God. It considers His existence to be self–evident. In addition, God has made His presence known in creation and human history has told us what He is doing in the Bible, and has shown us who He is—by becoming human! Enclosed is an invitation to know Him personally.
In the beginning—God
So let’s start at the beginning. The Bible teaches that God has existed from eternity past, and that He alone is responsible for the creation and existence of all things (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 11:3). By virtue of this fact, He was the undisputed Ruler over all, the sovereign King of the universe. All His works were good at the time of their completion (Genesis 1:31), and man was the object of His loving fellowship.
What is Man?
The Bible also teaches that God created man and woman as His image-bearers. As such, they had a high privilege and a noble purpose. Their privilege was to enjoy a relationship with God, and their purpose was to mediate His rule over the earth—to manage His creation according to His will (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8 ).
Sin, by Nature and by Choice
Man, however, broke faith with his Creator and sought to establish his own rule, independent of God. The Bible describes this terrible event in Genesis chapter 3, and thereafter calls this rebellious behavior “sin.” Even though God, in love, longed for relationship with man, His justice demanded that He punish sin. So, as a consequence of his sin, man lost his privilege of relationship with God and the whole human race became subject to sin and death. He also forfeited his intended dominion to Satan and brought a curse upon the earth. From this point throughout history, every man has faced a terrible difficulty: the more he seeks to establish his independence from God, the more he becomes consumed and enslaved by the desire. Rather than ruling over sin (Genesis 4:7), sin rules over him. Every man and woman since Adam is “born in sin,” and sins both by nature (Psalm 51:1-5) and by choice (Romans 1:18-32). More terrifying still, God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:30-31), and no sinner shall stand before Him on the basis of his own efforts to be good (Isaiah 64:6).
But the loving kindness of God would not allow Him to forsake His plan for man, so God predicted in the Bible He would send Someone to rescue man from his sinful state and ultimately bring all things into harmony under God’s rule once again. This Savior came to be known in the Old Testament as Messiah—God’s chosen or “anointed” One. But how would we know Him when He came? Both in personal appearances and through His inspired prophets, God promised Messiah would be:
The Good News!
“The gospel” is the good news that the Lord Jesus Christ is Messiah—the Savior who was to come and die for all our sins (John 1:29)—and He will ultimately restore all things to their intended purpose (Ephesians 1:9-10). As a result of His sinless life, substitutionary death (He offered Himself on the cross to die for my sins), and bodily resurrection, we no longer need to live in fear of God’s judgment. God now freely offers forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all who are willing to come to Him solely on the basis of faith, renouncing every effort to “earn” God’s favor (Ephesians 2:8–10). How can anyone know if he has genuine faith? The Bible describes such a person as being willing to:
Believe the good news that Jesus lived, died, and rose again to take away our sins (Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 11:6).
Repent turn away from rebellious independence and live to please God (Mark 1:14–15; 1 Thessalonians 1:9).
Confess the decision to place complete faith in Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10).
Follow Him in a life of loving obedience (Matthew 11:28–30; Luke 9:23–25; John 15:8-11).
God offers His mercy to all who will receive it. If you have not experienced God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ, today is a good day. What God requires is a willing, trusting heart: willing to admit it has offended His righteousness, trusting Jesus enough to believe His words and follow Him. As we have seen, God has determined that all who experience His salvation must receive His good news by faith (Romans 1:16–17). Someone has expressed it this way: faith means, Forsaking All I Take Him. If you wish to have your sin and its guilt taken away, tell Jesus so now in prayer. In your own words, ask Him to forgive you and to help you live your life in a way that pleases God. He understands your struggles, and is willing and able to deliver you.
Going On From Here . . .
Jesus made it clear that to love Him is to obey Him (John 14:21–24), and the Bible provides the necessary spiritual nourishment for all who have received His kindness (1 Peter 2:1–3; James 1:17–25). As His disciple (“learner”, or follower), it is important to identify publicly with Him (Mark 8:34–38) and with His people, the church (Hebrews 10:23–25). Every disciple of Jesus should regularly attend a local church where the Bible is faithfully taught, and be baptized as a means of publicly identifying with Jesus (Acts 8:26–38). The act of receiving Jesus by faith is not just the end of an old way of life (Galatians 2:20), but the beginning of a new one ( 2 Corinthians 5:17). The Bible says that those who call upon the Lord will “go out with joy and be led forth with peace” (Isaiah 55:12). When we place our trust in Him, we can go in His joy!
A Word of Warning
No one in the Bible ever encountered Jesus and went away unchanged. Some came in tears and left at peace (Luke. 7:36-50), while others approached confidently and went away grieved (Matthew 19:16-22). We must understand that the only way we can be saved from God’s righteous anger is by His undeserved favor through faith in His Son. To insist upon any other way only further displays the prideful independence that characterizes all sin. Today, God is willing to reconcile you to Himself. He has sent His Son to bear the punishment for sin so that you may obtain His forgiveness. When He comes again, it will be to judge the world in righteousness and establish His rule upon the earth (Revelation 19:11–21:8). Since you have heard His voice in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1–2), do not delay your decision and so harden your heart to the truth (Hebrews 3:7-11, 10:26-31). Why not begin to follow Jesus by calling upon Him in prayer today? .Tell Him you would love to be free from the lie that you can live without Him. Come to Him in faith, trusting His promise that He came not to condemn you, but to give you eternal life. Believe He offers you the power to change your life by changing your desires—and by satisfying them in God. Follow Him by reading the Bible and practicing the truth, and let us know of your decision. We would love to help you and encourage you in your new life of faith! You might want to pray in your own words the following prayer to receive Christ as Lord and Savior.
Lord Jesus, up until now I haven’t trusted you as my Lord and Savior. I know God loves me, but my sins have blocked me from him. And yet, you paid the price for all of my sins; you died on the cross in my place – one sacrifice for all. Today I repent for all of my sins and open my heart to you. Come into my life, Jesus, and teach me by the Holy Spirit to live for you, to depend on you (and not myself), to grow in my knowledge of you. I promise this day to turn from my sin and receive your gift of salvation. Take hold of my life, Lord Jesus, I give myself completely to you.
If you would like to speak to someone about how to know Jesus and the Bible better, call us at 238-4419 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.