How can I have a relationship with Jesus?A relationship with Jesus Christ begins with the acceptance of His free gift of salvation through faith in who He is and what He has done (Ephesians 2:8–9). Jesus is the Son of God who was born of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:34–35) and lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15). He died on the cross to pay for our sin (Philippians 2:8). He then rose from the dead on the third day after His death (1 Corinthians 15:3–8). If you believe these things through faith and understand you need Him then you have begun a relationship with Jesus (Romans 3:21–26).
Though it's very simple to begin this relationship with Jesus, we also need to learn the theological truths that are foundational to our understanding of how we interact with Him. These truths help us to understand ourselves in relationship to an eternal, loving, perfect God.
The first truth is that the result of the fall of mankind in the garden of Eden is that the human race is full of sin (Romans 3:23; 5:12; 1 John 1:8–10). Adam and Eve made decisions that broke a perfect relationship with their Creator, and we all are in a state of sinfulness (acting against God) no matter how hard we try to be good. This separated humanity from a perfect, good God (Genesis 3).
The second truth is that God had a plan to restore this relationship from the very beginning of time (Genesis 3:15). This plan was for Jesus to come to earth as the perfect sacrifice for all that sin. He did it out of love, but He also did it in this way because of His holiness and perfection (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:1–10; 1 John 4:10). There needed to be atonement for sin because God is just. He provided the atonement on our behalf because He is merciful. God's way of restoration allows us to be considered righteous (or "justified") in His sight and thus be in close relationship with Him (Romans 1:3–5; 8:3–8; 2 Corinthians 5:17–21).
The third truth is that because of Jesus' death and resurrection, we are made a new person from the inside out (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:5; Galatians 2:20; Acts 26:14; Romans 6:6–11). This is a truth in heaven and a process while we live here on earth. This is where the daily meeting with God through prayer and the reading of Scripture (the Bible) helps to transform us to be more like Jesus with time and the help of the Holy Spirit. We are also transformed as we obey God's commands, spend time with other believers, and learn from sound teaching (Romans 12:1–2; Hebrews 10:19–25; Ephesians 4:11–16; John 13:34–35; 1 John 4:1–6).
The fourth truth is that God's Spirit is now inside those who place their faith in Him (John 14:17, 26; Ephesians 1:13). It is His constant presence and influence that builds this relationship with Jesus. We learn to hear His still small voice in our minds (1 Kings 19:12; 1 Corinthians 2:11–12, 14–16), and this changes how we react to the world, how we behave, and, most importantly, how we love the people around us (Romans 6:19–23; John 13:34–25; 15:1–17; 1 John 4:7–21).
It is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus that we can called children of God, heirs, and friends (John 1:12; 15:15; Romans 8:15–17; Ephesians 1:5). We are able to cry, "Abba, Father," to all-powerful Yahweh and know that He hears us (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6; Hebrews 4:14–16). There is nothing we can ever do to earn His love or pay for our sins. His love for us provided the only way through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
If you have never made a decision to accept this amazing love and grace, you can do that now. You can pray this simple prayer: "Jesus, I understand that I am a sinner in need of the salvation that is only available through Jesus Christ. I accept the forgiveness of my sins which you paid for through your death and resurrection. Thank you for making me a new person and for giving me your Holy Spirit. I accept the gift of salvation given by your grace and love. Amen."
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Truth about Salvation