How To Know Jesus
Every person has two great longings. The first is to be loved and the second is to love. But when pressures and heartaches come into our lives, many give up any hope of ever finding love.
The tragedy is that we often look in the wrong places to fill this need and longing. Some substitute lust for love. Others pursue material things or superficial relationships – all in the futile attempt to fill our hearts with something other than a real relationship with God.
But there is good news!
GOD LOVES YOU
The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God’s love was revealed and offered to all mankind in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified on the cross in our place, and was resurrected from the dead – all to demonstrate God’s glory and His unconditional love for us.
Do you know today that God loves you, that your sins are forgiven, that you are saved from eternal judgment, and are on your way to heaven after you die? The great news is, you can know!
SIN HAS SEPARATED US FROM GOD
It is our sin that separates us from God and keeps us from fulfilling our deepest needs and longings. Sin is an offense against God that carries a serious penalty. According to Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death [eternal separation from the love and mercy of God].” It must be dealt with.
JESUS CHRIST IS GOD’S ONLY ANSWER FOR MAN’S SIN
You must understand that you cannot do good works as a way to earn God’s love and make it to heaven. If we could save ourselves, Jesus’ death on the cross would have been unnecessary! The Bible says it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His [God’s] mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5). Salvation is by God’s grace, “not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
What you cannot do for yourself, Jesus Christ has done for you! “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He was born, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for you, and then rose from the dead to prove that His payment was acceptable to God. But you must acknowledge and believe this fact. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
RECEIVE JESUS BY FAITH
Salvation is God’s gift to you. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). When someone offers you a priceless gift, the wisest thing you can do is accept it! This very moment, you can receive Christ’s gift of salvation by repenting of your sin and believing in the gospel (Mark 1:15).
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
Fundamentally, the gospel is news. It’s good news—the good news about what our triune God has graciously accomplished for His people: The Father’s sending the Son, Jesus Christ, God incarnate, to live perfectly, fulfill the law, and die sacrificially, atoning for our sins, satisfying God’s wrath against us that we might not face an eternal hell, and raising Him from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the victorious announcement that God saves sinners. And even though the call of Jesus to “take up your cross and follow me,” “repent and believe,” “deny yourself,” and “keep my commandments” are necessary commands that directly follow the proclamation of the gospel, they are not in themselves the good news of what Jesus has accomplished. The gospel is not a summons to work harder to reach God— it’s the grand message of how God worked all things together for good to reach us. The gospel is good news, not good advice, just as J. Gresham Machen wrote: “What I need first of all is not exhortation, but a gospel, not directions for saving myself but knowledge of how God has saved me. Have you any good news? That is the question that I ask of you.”