During my life as a Christian, well to be more precise during the thirty years since becoming a Christian I have often been asked how does a person become a Christian. Some ask why can’t I just believe in God? In truth Jesus Christ is God but some have difficulty with that. Then I was often told by people that they didn’t believe in ‘religion’, whatever they meant by that. My reply was that I don’t either! I was playing devil’s advocate for I knew what they really meant, they had no use for a God. Yet having said they were not religious they asked me why I believed. When I told them I didn’t believe in religion I added that I believe in relationship. I believe in having a relationship with God and not in religion per se. Religion could never save me but God could. Why do I need saving and from what? I will let the following lesson explain…. How Do I Have a Relationship with God? (Matthew 18:21–35 …..and do read this passage if you can) The Problem
Satan, the great deceiver, clothed himself as a serpent, one of God’s good creatures, and set out to trick Adam and Eve into disobeying their good and gracious God. After creating Adam and Eve, God had told them not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree in the Garden of Eden. But Satan suggested that God wasn’t being honest when he warned of the results of eating the forbidden fruit. The great deceiver’s ploy succeeded, and Adam and Eve willfully rejected God and his promise of life together in the garden.
Even before Adam and Eve sinned, God had a plan to get people back into a relationship with him. When he replaced their clothes of fig leaves with the skins of animals, he signaled something important—it would take the blood of another to cover the sins of humankind. God’s plan began with the founding of a brand-new nation through which he would reveal himself and his plan to restore humankind. For more than 1,600 years, every Biblical story of the chosen people of Israel would point to the coming of the solution. God’s solution to the problem of sin was made complete through the sacrifice of his Son. Here is the decision a person should make from the heart, placed into a prayer of acceptance to God. Dear God, I can’t, but you can. I believe in Jesus, who is God. I believe he died and rose from the dead. I place my faith in Christ to make me right with you and give me eternal life. I have no other plan but to have faith and to trust you. I am doing a 180 today and pointing my life toward you. I will no longer run away from you, but toward you. Then there comes an outward declaration to the world—a way for us to demonstrate our faith decision: “I profess you with my mouth, out loud for others to know where I stand. And I publicly express my full devotion to you through baptism.” KEY VERSE
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) KEY IDEA
I believe a person comes into a right relationship with God by Christ’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. KEY APPLICATION: What difference does this make in the way I live?
We seek to please God because of what he has done for us, not to earn a relationship with him.
We walk in grace – and offer grace to others. Let us not forget Jesus’ parable of the unmerciful servant recorded in Matthew 18:21–35. It would be wrong and inconsistent for us to refuse to offer grace and forgiveness to someone else in light of the grace and forgiveness God has shown to us.
Taken from NIV Believe