In the beginning of human history, Adam and Eve enjoyed a personal relationship with God (Genesis 2). Yet because of sin this relationship was broken. All of humanity now has a sin nature and lives separated from God. Is there a way we can be forgiven of our sin and restored to personal relationship with God? Yes!
Many think of salvation, or accepting Jesus as Savior, as simply a way to get to heaven, which it is. However, salvation is so much more—it's how we can have a personal relationship with God.
We begin our relationship with God by receiving His Son Jesus, believing that He is God and that He paid the penalty for our sins to restore us to relationship with Him (John 1:12; Romans 10:9). We accept Jesus' death as a substitution for the penalty we should have paid for sin (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Hebrews 10:10) and His resurrection as victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:54–57; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 54–57). When we do, we receive eternal life (John 3:16). This eternal life is not just about quantity, but about quality. What we receive from Jesus is not just heaven, but true life (John 10:10). First Peter 1:8 speaks to the joy of salvation: "Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory."
Once we begin a relationship with God, we are called to cultivate it. God's Spirit lives within us (John 14:15–17) and teaches us truth (John 16:13), grows us in the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, and peace for example; see Galatians 5:22–23), enables us to use our abilities to help others (Ephesians 2:10; 4:12–13), and causes us to live as salt and light in a world of darkness (Matthew 5:14–16). He helps us put sin to death and live the way God would have us live, rather than as slaves to sin (Romans 6:1–23; Philippians 2:12–13). A personal relationship with God changes our lives now and for the rest of eternity.
We start a personal relationship with God through faith. We are dead in our sin and only Christ can save us and restore us to fellowship with God (Ephesians 2:1–5; Colossians 2:13). Ephesians 2:8–10 teaches, "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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." We do not earn our relationship with God; we receive it as a free gift.
Romans 10:9 says, "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." God offers forgiveness and relationship; we just have to accept it.
Are you willing to place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and receive this free gift of eternal life? If so, you can do it right now. There is no special prayer you must pray to do so. However, the following prayer is one you can use to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior:
"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 lived a perfect life, died, and rose from the dead to give me eternal life and invite me into personal relationship 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."
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