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Beginning
with God

 

1. Getting Started:

 

Repentance and Faith

Acts 2:38 'Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'

On the road to becoming a Christian

The most important thing in the world is for you to know God in a personal way. In other words, you need to be a Christian.

But how do you become a Christian? Let's see what the Bible—which is our authority for everything—has to say about it.

The gap problem

Size gap and sin gap between God and usThe problem is, there's a gap between God and people. It's a twofold gap. First, God is infinitely great, while we're so small. And, second, God is totally pure, while we're sinful. So there's both a size gap and a sin gap between you and him.

How can that gap be bridged, so that you can become a Christian?

Vain efforts to bridge the gapBridging the gap

How then do you bridge the gap? By being born into the family of God!

This is a spiritual encounter with Jesus Christ which puts us into a right relationship with God as his children. People sometimes refer to it as 'being saved', 'getting converted' or being 'born again'. To have had such an experience is the most vital thing in the world for you as an individual.

It begins with two closely-related steps:

Acts 20:21 'Turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.'

1. How to repent

By nature and practice you are a sinner in God's eyes. That doesn't mean you have necessarily committed gross crimes, just that you fall far short of God's standard, which is the perfection expressed in the life of Jesus. To repent is to admit your sin and determine, with God's help, to turn your back on it. It involves your mind, your emotions and your actions.

2 Samuel 12:13 'David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord."'

Acts 2:37 'When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said& , 'Brothers, what shall we do?"'

Acts 26:20 'I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.'

2. How to put your faith in Jesus

Once you've repented, you'll quickly find that you're incapable of living a life that pleases God. He has set standards that you must reach if you are to be close to him. Being a sinner, both by birth and by Jesus bridges the gappractice, you can never reach that standard, no matter how hard you try. Yet you were made for God and feel inside of you the need to be his friend.

Here's where Jesus comes into the picture. He is the Son of God, himself divine. He left the Father's side and became a human being like you, though without sin. During his earthly life he did meet God's standards. He offered himself on the cross as a sacrifice, taking the punishment that your sins deserved. He was raised from the dead and ascended back to the Father.

Now God offers salvation to you (a relationship with God) as a free gift, purchased by the blood of Jesus. 'The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord' (Romans 6:23). Will you accept it?

A gift doesn't actually become yours until you reach out and take it from the person who's offering it to you. The wonderful gift of knowing God isn't, of course, a physical thing to be taken with your two hands. It is a spiritual thing and must be taken by faith.

Receiving God's gift

You receive this gift when, having repented:The gift of God

Have you personally repented and put your faith in Jesus?

Sharing your faith with othersTelling others

There's really no such thing as a secret Christian. God intends you to tell others openly about what you've done in believing in Jesus. We call this confessing our faith. Saying it out loud brings it out in the open for all to see, and this will strengthen you enormously in your Christian life.

Here are some Bible verses about this:

Romans 10:9-10 'If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.'

Matthew 10:32-33 Jesus said, 'Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.'

Have you shared your faith in this way? It's best to start with those closest to you-husband, wife, parents, workmates, neighbours or close friends.

Can you be sure God has accepted you?

Yes! The apostle John said, 'I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life' (1 John 5:13).

You can't relax your full weight into a chair if you're not confident it is strong enough to bear your weight.Relaxing in the assurance of salvation Neither can you relax fully into your relationship with God if you're not certain that he has accepted you.

God has given three main means of assurance. They are:

Romans 8:15-16 'You received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.'

Philippians 2:12-13 'Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.'

The Bible is vital in showing us how to know God personally and how to live the Christian life. For that reason it's a good idea to start memorising some key verses from it. Here's one to begin with.

Commit to memory not just the words but also the Bible reference—that is, the exact place where it can be found in the Bible. In this case Acts is the book of the Bible; the 3 is the chapter; and the 19 is the verse. So it's Acts chapter 3 verse 19.

 

Learn
by heart

Acts 3:19  'Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.'

Learn by heart

BwG1: Repentance And Faith
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