How can I get right with God?
When people say they would like to "get right with God," they usually mean they desire to stop some kind of wrong behaviour and begin living for Him. In order to get right with God, however, a person must realize what is actually wrong.
The barrier that keeps us from being right with God is sin. Romans 3:23 teaches, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This sin separates us from God: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). The only solution is to receive eternal life from Jesus Christ.
How can you receive eternal life? Jesus taught that eternal life comes by faith: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). You must believe in Jesus to escape death and the punishment for your sins and have eternal life in heaven with Jesus.
What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Romans 10:9 shares, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." First, you must believe Jesus is Lord. Second, you must accept that Jesus literally rose again from the dead. He defeated death to prove His power as God's Son and offer eternal life to you.
Jesus shared a powerful example of His love in the account of the prodigal son in Luke 15. The son had left his father and wasted his inheritance. His only means of survival was working with livestock. He even craved the food the pigs ate. At his lowest point he decided to return home and ask his father if he could work as a servant. As he returned, his father saw him in the distance. The father ran to him, hugged him, and declared a celebration in the son's honor, saying, "For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found" (Luke 15:24).
Today Jesus offers the same love this father offered to his lost son. If you will turn to Jesus, He will accept you and celebrate your decision to believe in Him.
There is no special prayer you must say to get right with God. However, if you would like to accept Jesus as your Savior and know for certain you have eternal life, you can tell God with a prayer similar to this:
"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who took the punishment for my sins and rose from the dead to give me eternal life and restore me to rightness with you. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."
If you prayed something like this today, please let us know so we can encourage you on your journey with God. Email us.
You can find more info to help you at our website for Lagoonside Baptist Church in Knysna of the Garden Route
duty or dependence
The key question we must ask in terms of active faith is “where is the source of our spiritual activity and obedience?”
The apostle Paul addresses this idea in his words to the Galatians:
For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. (Galatians 5:4-6)
Active faith is not faith that tries to justify itself before God by rule keeping. Rather, active faith is transfixed with a pursuit of intimate relationship with God that is offered to us in the gospel. Here, we exchange duty for dependence: relying wholly on union with Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
When we get this backwards it leads only to Old Testament religion which lacks the power of the gospel! However, active faith that is grounded in “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) will yield a powerful life of natural obedience, produced by God and evidenced by a life of love.
Ian Thomas, founder of Torchbearers put it this way:
“A living faith breathes with the activity of Jesus Christ …That is the work of God. It is your living faith in the adequacy of the One who is in you, which releases His divine action through you. It is the kind of activity that the Bible calls “good works” … “Good works” are those works that have their origin in Jesus Christ – whose activity is released through your body, presented to Him as a living sacrifice by a faith that expresses total dependence … (cf. Romans 12:1-2).”
Faith “that expresses total dependence” is grounded in the indwelling power and presence of Jesus Christ. So our lives reflect the power, service, and love of Christ—which is compelling to others.The key question we must ask in terms of active faith is “where is the source of our spiritual activity and obedience?”
who can be saved
Who can be saved? John 3:16 is an oft-quoted verse for good reason. It declares, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." Whoever believes in Jesus can be saved. He extends the invitation of salvation to all. Galatians 3:27–28 says, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Jesus is the great unifier of humanity (Ephesians 2:11–16). He does not exclude people from salvation, but lovingly offers it to all.
Sometimes people think they must perform certain good works in order to be saved, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Romans 3 makes it clear that no human is righteous. We cannot do good on our own. Romans 3 also explains that it is only by God's grace, received through faith, that we are justified. Ephesians 2:8–9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Therefore, we do not have to be a "good person" in order to be saved. In fact, we can't be!
Sometimes people think that they have committed too many sins, or too heinous of sins, to be saved. This is also patently untrue. God is able to forgive all sin. First Corinthians 6:9–10 lists some types of people who won't inherit the kingdom of God, and then verse 11 says, "And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles and one of the most prominent writers of the New Testament, persecuted the church with great zeal before he was saved (Acts 9). Paul wrote, "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life" (1 Timothy 1:15–16). Forgiveness is available to all who will believe in Jesus.
Anyone who wants to be saved can be. The requirement for salvation is to put your faith in Jesus. Admit that you are a sinner and that you deserve eternal death, the punishment for sin (Romans 6:23). Believe that Jesus is who He says He is—God in human flesh, who lived a perfect life to fulfill the law, then died the death we deserve in our place, then rose again victorious over death, and offered salvation to all who would believe in Him. Trust that God has applied Jesus' sacrifice to your account (2 Corinthians 5:16–21). Leave behind the emptiness of trying to save yourself or trying to live your life apart from God.
As a new believer in Jesus, you can get to know God more through reading the Bible, praying, and joining a Bible-teaching church. And give God praise that He offers salvation to all!
Have you made a decision for Christ because of what you have read here? If so, please let us know and we can help you on in your journey with God.