Many people know about God, but few have had a life-changing encounter with Him. Having a personal relationship with the true living God involves understanding and accepting five basic principles. Just in case there is any doubt at all or if you haven't accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, let's clear that up now.
PRINCIPLE #1: God loves you and offers an incredible plan for your life. All throughout the Bible there is passage after passage that talks about how much God loves us. The greatest example of this was when He sent His only Son into the world to die for our sins. But even today, he watches over you and pursues you to have a relationship with you.
PRINCIPLE #2: Man is sinful and separated from God. It is so common in today's culture to believe that there must be many paths to God. There are so many religions, each with very nice, good people in them. There are also so many good people...it can seem so natural to assume that each of these "good" people or religions have a lock on heaven because they have done so many wonderful things. But the truth is that all of us have blown it...all of us have sinned, and all it takes is one sin to separate us from our God, because He is perfect. Therefore, we cannot get to God on our own, for where He is, there can be no sin.
PRINCIPLE #3: Jesus Christ is God's only provision for man's sin. God chose to provide a "sacrifice" for our sins, His own son Jesus. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 It was Jesus' death that paid for your sins and mine, all the ones we have committed as well as any we will commit in the future. There had to be a blood sacrifice...and Jesus willfully gave his for you and for me. Three days after he died, he rose from the dead. This is not just religious mumbo jumbo, this is historical fact! Because he rose from the dead, He now sits at the right hand of God making intercession to God on our behalf for us.
PRINCIPLE #4: Jesus is the only way to God. This is the hardest one for many people to believe. There are no other "paths" to God or "ways" of salvation. This "many paths to God" theory is popular in the minds of many people and even some churches. However, John 4:16 says, "Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me." This is why it is so important that you understand that to simply be a good person, believe in God, and do your best to serve Him is not what it means to be a Christian. It is impossible to be a God follower without accepting God's son Jesus. Jesus is the one who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and it is Jesus that we must accept and come in to relationship with if we are to be called by His name...Christians, which means "followers of Christ."
PRINCIPLE #5: You must receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Written below is a very simple prayer of salvation. It may be very similar to a prayer you have already said, but for some of you, this is your actual time of decision. If this is your moment of salvation, then simply kneel right where you are, and pray this prayer to the Lord. "Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that I have sinned and I come to You right now confessing that and asking your forgiveness. I come to You in the name of Jesus for Your Word says, "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21)." I am calling on You. I pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord over my life. According to Romans 10:9-10, if I confess with my mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I will be saved. I do that now. I confess that Jesus is Lord, and I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Please take control of my life from here forward and make me the kind of person you want me to be. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen!"
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