I could show you a picture of myself standing victoriously on top of a snow covered mountain peak. I’ve just climbed it. The picture would show you my smile and what I was wearing, who I was with. You could look and see the snow, the rocks, the sky. And though you would be able to look and see my joy, what you wouldn’t be able to do is experience it with me fully. You can’t smell the clean crisp air that fills my lungs still stretched from the arduous climb. You can’t feel the bite of the cold snow, hear the crunch it makes under my boots. You can’t see the incredible view that stretches for miles, and miles, taking my breath away with its beauty. You didn’t get to experience the climb up here, the perils, the achievement. But you do see this one glimpse into what I see and feel. Captured in a snapshot.
In the same way our words capture just a glimpse of how awesome and wonderful God is. They only show you a small portion of what He is able to do in our lives. They paint a small picture of who He is. Our words about God are like a snapshot of who He is, not the full picture. I can tell you about God but only when we experience Him ourselves can we really understand.
You may be asking yourself:
“What do I do now that I’m thinking more about God?”
“What is the next step to finding out if God is real?”
“How can I experience God?”
There are a couple of simple ways to find out more about God.
1. Go to church
2. Talk to friends who are Christians
3. Pray. Talk to God. Ask Him your questions. God is able to answer them and reveal Himself to you.
4. Read the Bible, start “in the middle” in the books called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They’re about Jesus and what he did on earth while alive, and how he died and rose again.
The Bible is a book all about God’s love for you and for all people. This love was revealed when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world as a human being, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. Because Jesus died, your sins can be forgiven, and because He conquered death you can have eternal life. You can know for sure what will become of you after you die.
You have probably heard the story of God’s love referred to as the “Gospel.” The word Gospel simply means “Good News.” The Gospel is the Good News that, because of what Christ has done, we can be forgiven and can live forever.
The following verses from the Bible shows us how we can know God and His love.
* God Loves You
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” —John 3:16
God is real. He is not some bearded beloveolent being on a planet far far away, looking down his telescope at earth. He is real, personal and interactive. God loves you. God knows you. Intimately and personally. He knows how many hairs you have on your head. He knows your thoughts, fears and desires. He knows what you are going through today and where you have been on this life journey. He wants to bless your life and make it full and complete. He wants you to know the peace and security that only He can give. And He wants to give you a life which will last forever, even after you experience physical death.
*We’ve All Messed Up
” For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. —Romans 3:23
You may have heard someone say, “I’m only human—nobody’s perfect.” This Bible verse says the same thing: We are all sinners. We all do things that we know are wrong. Even the most amazing good person on the planet doesn’t measure up to the standard of the holiness of God. That’s why we feel estranged from God—because God is holy and good, and we are not.
* Sin Has a Penalty
“For the wages of sin is death.” —Romans 6:23
Just as criminals must pay the penalty for their crimes, sinners must pay the penalty for their sins. If you continue to sin, you will pay the penalty of spiritual death: You will not only die physically; you will also be separated from our holy God for all eternity. The verse above goes on to say that though the penalty for our sin is death there is a BUT – “But the free gift of God is eternal life because of Jesus Christ.” As Christians we do believe in the reality of heaven and hell. Those that have had their sin forgiven will spend life after death in heaven, but those who continue to be separated from God will be in hell.
*Jesus Has Paid Our Penalty!
“But God demonstrates his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” —Romans 5:8
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ, Son of God, has paid the penalty for all your sins. You may think you have to lead a good life and do good deeds before God will love you. But the Bible says that Christ loved you enough to die for you, even when you were rebelling against Him. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin – we are no longer sinners but are acceptable to God. This is the only requirement for entering heaven when we die – that Jesus has paid for our sin. It also opens the door for us to know God in this life we live here on earth – something which is very real and incredible, life changing.
God because of the imputed righteousness of Christ to me and his wrath absorbing death on the cross and his resurrection now sees me as perfect and spotless and holy, not because i am but because HE IS ~ Matt Chandler
God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:19-22
* Salvation Is a Free Gift
” God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. —Ephesians 2:8-9
The word grace means “undeserved favor.” It means God is offering you something you could never provide for yourself: forgiveness of sins and eternal life, God’s gift to you is free. You do not have to work for a gift. All you have to do is accept it – Believe with all your heart that Jesus Christ died for you.
The good news – the gospel – is that you and I have fallen short, we have worshiped things that are not God, we have belittled and mocked God with either our hearts, mouths or minds and God’s response to that has been to make a way for us to be reconciled to God in the person and work of Jesus Christ – so that the two-fold movement that occurs is that we get Christ’s righteousness and He takes upon Himself our rebellion and sinfulness so that when God then looks at us He sees Christ and deems us as perfect and spotless and blameless. ~ Matt Chandler
* Friendship with God is possible!
” Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” —Revelation 3:20
Jesus Christ wants to have a personal relationship with you. Picture, if you will, Jesus Christ standing at the door of your heart (the door of your emotions, intellect and will). Take a chance and open the door, letting Him in. Personal relationship with God is awesome. It will be totally different from what you may expect. Being a Christian isn’t about just going to church, or wearing a cross round your neck. It is about talking to a real God who hears and answers, who will surprize you and make you smile.
* What comes next?
” But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”John 1:12
When you believe in Jesus you become a child of God, and have the privilege of talking to Him in prayer at any time about anything. The Christian life is a personal relationship to God through Jesus Christ. And best of all, it is a relationship that will last for all eternity. Believing in Jesus is more that just nodding your head and saying “yes I believe”. It is a spiritual transaction – God takes away your sin, and makes you like a new person. You are acceptable to God. He makes you alive on the inside. Believing in Jesus means you are prepared to believe what He did and said and to do exactly what the people who met Jesus “in real life” when he was walking around in Israel did – to follow Him. That may sound like a life turnaround, even scary. It is a change, but a good one. Being a Christian is not boring or a life condemned to wearing gray! It is a life made alive and vibrant by the works of God in and through us. And it goes on forever and ever.
Christians often talk about “inviting God into your heart”, or “giving your life to Jesus” – these are just Christian terms for believing and living for Jesus. They talk about how we take the step to believing in Jesus and being forgiven by Him, having a new start, and a relationship with God. If you want to take that step you can do it right where you are. Pray and talk to God in your own words and let Him know you’re interested in knowing Him.