Pastor Ernie Toppin You must be born again
Salvation – or being saved – is very important to every human being on earth.
For the individual, salvation means being rescued by God from the consequences of our wrongdoing. God created humanity to have a close relationship with him. And he created a perfect world for us to live in. But our relationship with God was wrecked when humanity opted to defy God. That defiance was catastrophic, bringing sin and death into the world. The word ‘sin’ means wrong actions and wrong thinking. It is as if our sin leaves us permanently stained. God is pure and holy. He cannot tolerate sin, but he wants our relationship with him to be restored, so something has to be done about the sin.
The concept of needing to find peace and freedom, and to be rescued from an imperfect world, is not unique to Christianity. What is unique is that humanity is rescued by God himself – because humanity cannot rescue itself.
You Must be Born again:
John 3:3 Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God
But Jesus died for our salvation
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Salvation is a gift from God
Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Chris Jesus our Lord.
The Bible book, Romans, says ‘…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. God is just and fair. For God, sin is too serious to ignore. And so, for the sake of God’s justice, sin needs to be punished. A price has to be paid. The part of the Bible before the birth of Jesus Christ – the Old Testament – tells the history of the Hebrew people. They made amends for their sin by offering animals as sacrifices. The Bible book, Romans, says ‘the wages of sin is death…’ The stain of sin on humanity is so deep no-one but Jesus can remove it. And it can only be removed by Jesus – God in human form – sacrificing his own life. It is this spilling of Jesus’ innocent blood that forgives and saves humanity. The punishment that humanity deserves because of its sin, has been taken by Jesus once and for all. As the Bible book, 1 Peter, puts it, ‘by his wounds (we) are healed…’ The Bible says Jesus was given his name because he would save people from their sins. When an angel announced his birth to shepherds in Bethlehem, he described the baby Jesus as a ‘Saviour’.
Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, Thomas, I am the way, the truth, and life, no one comes to father except through me.
.Jesus’ death means that salvation is on offer to everyone. It is a free gift. It cannot be earned. Anyone who puts their trust and faith in Jesus Christ, turning from their current way of life and declaring him to be the Son of God will receive salvation. As the Bible book Romans says, 'anyone who calls on the name of the Lord (Jesus) will be saved.' Christians refer to this free gift of salvation from Jesus as ‘grace’. This is God’s plan for everyone. There is no other way to be saved. In the Bible book, John, Jesus says ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me’. The Bible book, 1 Timothy, speaks of ‘God our Saviour who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth’.
Jesus has provided your salvation
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For he made him, Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whomsoever would believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The bible teaches that there will be a day of judgement, when everyone will stand before God and have to answer for all that we have said and done.
God will deal with sin. He will view everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their saviour as innocent. It will be as if they had never sinned.
They have been acquitted. They are now reconciled with God.
But the bible teaches that anyone who has rejected Jesus will not have this protection from the consequences of sin.
They will face God’s judgement on their own. This is why we must all be born.
John 3:3 except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Because we have all sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
It is appointed for all men to die once but after this the judgement .
Every one of us shall give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:12.
You can escape this judgement through repentance today.
How to become a Christian or Prayer of Repentance:
Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I believe that you died and rose again on the third day so that I can have a new life. Lord Jesus forgive me for my sins.
Right now I repent, I turn away from all my sins and I ask you to come into my heart and become Lord of my life from this moment onwards.
Congratulations if you said this prayer today.
The bible says you have now been totally forgiven. 1 John 1:9-10 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.
All heaven is now rejoicing because you made this decision.
Luke 15:10 Likewise i say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
Your name is written in the book of life:
Revelation 20:15 And anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
salvation is not just something that operates at the individual level, but something that God is doing for the whole universe.
The book of Colossians describes how the death of Jesus Christ achieves something that is cosmic in its proportions:
‘God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.’(Colossians 1 v.19-20)
This means that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ began something that will be fully realised at the end of times, when a new heavens and new earth will be established; a place where there is no violence, no mourning, crying or pain.
Your can be saved today:
Seek the lord while he may be found, call upon him while his near Isaiah 55:6.
Joshua 24:15 Choose this day whom you will serve.
John 5:24 He that heareth my word, and believes on him that sent me , has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.
Believe in Jesus:
Acts 16:31 Believe on the lord Jesus Christ and though shall be saved.
Repent/ turn away from your sins
Except you repent, you shall perish , Luke 13:3
Confess your sins to Jesus :
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5.
Confess before Jesus Christ before others:
Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth the lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.
Trust him , His able to keep you from falling Jude 2:4
Romans 10:13 For whomsoever shall call on the name of Lord shall be saved.
Christians who have come to understand that Christ died for our sins and that he rose again enter into the wonder of his salvation as they walk and have intimate fellowship with Him, it is only natural to long to see Christ face to face. The church is described in Scripture as a bride waiting for her husband (2 Cor. 11:2). Just as a bride looks forward eagerly to her coming marriage, when she will begin her life with the bridegroom, so a believer in Christ, even though he is thrilled with the fellowship he has with Christ now, looks forward to that fuller fellowship that will be his when he is in Christ’s presence forever. This is why the hope of Christ’s return is called a blessed or happy hope (Titus 2:13). The more one loves Christ and seeks to have more intimate fellowship with Him, the more he will be looking for the return of Christ for him.
The first coming of Christ fulfilled hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament. As the Old Testament predicted, Christ was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2); He was both God and man (Isa. 7:14); He was born of a virgin (Matt. 1:23); He performed miracles (Isa. 35:5-6); He died on the cross for the sins of the whole world as predicted in the Old Testament as well as in the Gospels (Isa. 53:6; 1 Cor. 15:1-3); and He rose again the third day, predicted in Psalm 16:9-11, and frequently mentioned by Christ Himself (Matt. 16:4, 21; 17:22; 20:18-19; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34; Luke 9:22; 18:31-33; John 10:15, 17-18).
The present age followed His life on earth, and Christ’s taught in John 13-17 The present age, however, will conclude with the return of Christ. Christ Himself spoke on this extensively in Matthew 24.
In His second coming to the earth, He will set up His kingdom for a thousand years and reign on the throne of David (Luke 1:32-33; Rev. 20:4-6).
Do you desire to learn how to become a Christian? If so, I encourage you to consider the truths found in this article with extreme urgency. When discussing how to be saved, essentially we are discussing life and death. I can’t emphasize enough, the gravity of this article. I encourage you to read every section thoroughly, but first allow me to ask you a few questions. Do you want a relationship with God? Have you ever thought about where you’re going upon death? What would be your response if you were in front of God and God asked you, “why should I let you into My Kingdom?” Take a moment to ponder this question.
Be honest, would you have an answer? Would your answer be, “I’m a good person, I go to church, I believe in God, you know my heart, I obey the Bible, or I got baptized.” Would you respond to God saying any of these things?
I ask this because your response can reveal your spiritual condition. If you did not have an answer or if you answered in any one of these ways, then this could reveal alarming news. Going to church does not save, nor does being a good person. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ saves. This is what I will attempt to explain in this article. Please consider all of these truths.
The Problem of sin
Let’s find out what is sin? Simply put, sin is any deviation from God’s holy standard. It is missing the mark of His perfection in thought, deed, words, etc. God is holy and perfect. Sin separates us from God. Some people might say, “what’s so bad about sin?” However, this statement reveals that we are looking at it from our sinful finite perspective.
Let’s attempt to look at it from God’s point of view. The holy mighty sovereign eternal God of the universe has created creatures from the dirt who have sinned against Him in a multitude of ways. One impure thought for a second is enough to separate us from a holy God. Be still for a moment, and dwell on the holiness of God. We have to understand how holy God is in comparison to us. Below, we will learn the consequence of sin.
Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.”
Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness.”
Colossians 3:5-6 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.”
Zephaniah 1:14–16 “The great day of the Lord is near— near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry. That day will be a day of wrath— a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness— a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers.”
The consequence of sin
Eternal separation from God in hell is the consequence for sinning against a holy God. Those who end up in hell will undergo God’s unrelenting wrath and hatred for sin for eternity. Heaven is far more glorious than we can imagine and hell is far more horrific than we can envision.
Jesus spoke more on hell than any other person in the Bible. Being God in flesh He knew the severity of hell. He knows the horror that awaits those who end up in hell. In fact, He rules over hell as Revelation 14:10 teaches us. The consequence of sin is death and eternal damnation. However, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Jesus came to save you from this dreadful place and to have a relationship with you.
Luke 16:24-28 “So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.”
Matthew 13:50 “throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 18:8 “So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet.”
Matthew 18:9 “And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”
We are all under the curse of the law
The law is a curse upon all of humanity because we cannot fulfill what the law requires. Disobedience at any point to the law of God will result in the curse of the law. Those who are cursed from the law will undergo the punishment of being accursed. We learn from Scripture that those who hang on a tree are accursed by God. God desires perfection. In fact, He demands perfection. Jesus said, “Be perfect.”
Let’s took a moment to examine our thoughts, actions, and words. Do you fall short? If we’re honest, when we examine ourselves we notice that we are far from perfect. We have all sinned against a holy God. Someone has to take upon the curse of the law. To remove the curse of the law, you have to be subject to the punishment of the curse. There is only one person that can remove the law and that is the Creator of the law. The one who bore that curse had to himself be perfectly obedient.
Jesus took upon the curse that you and I deserve. He had to be innocent to die for the guilty and He had to be God because the Creator of the law is the only one who could remove the law. Jesus became a curse for us. Take a moment to truly take in the weight of that. Jesus became a curse for you! Those who are not saved are still under a curse. Why would anyone want to be under a curse when Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law?
Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Galatians 3:10 “For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
Deuteronomy 27:26 “Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
Galatians 3:13-15 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”
The scary truth of the Bible
The scary truth of the Bible is that God is good. What makes this truth scary is that we are not. What is a good God to do with bad people? Humanity is evil. Some may say, “I’m not evil.” To other human beings we consider ourselves good, but how about to a holy God? Compared to a righteous and holy God we are evil. The problem is not only that we are evil and have sinned, but the person who we have sinned against. Consider this. If you punch me in the face, the consequences are not that severe. However, how about if you punch the president in the face? Clearly there will be greater consequences.
The greater the person of who the offense is towards, the greater the punishment. Consider this as well. If God is holy, perfect, and just, then He cannot forgive us. It doesn’t matter the amount of good works that we do. Our sin will always be before Him. It has to be removed. Someone has to pay for it. Don’t you see? We are so far from God because of our sin. How does God justify the wicked without being an abomination to Himself? Let’s learn more about this below.
Proverbs 17:15 “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.”
Romans 4:5 “However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”
Genesis 6:5 “When the Lord saw how great the wickedness of human beings was on earth, and how every desire that their heart conceived was always nothing but evil.”
Take a moment to ponder this.
I want you to picture someone killing your entire family with clear video evidence of their crimes. After they do the crime, they go to jail and eventually they are in court for the murders. Can a good, honest, fair judge say, “I’m loving so I’m going to let you go free?” If he did, he would be an evil judge and you would be outraged. You would tell the world about how immoral that judge is.
It doesn’t matter if the murderer said, “for the rest of my life I’ll give, I’ll help everyone, and more.” Nothing can erase the crime that was committed. It will forever be in front of the judge. Ask yourself this, If God is a good judge can He forgive you? The answer is no. He is an honest judge and just like any honest judge He has to sentence you. God set up the legal system and while on earth you will be sentenced to prison for a crime. If your name is not found in the Book of Life you will be sentenced to hell for eternity. However, something happened so you don’t have to be sentenced to hell.
God came down
The only way God could forgive vile people like us was for Him to come down in the flesh. Jesus lived a sinless perfect life. He lived the life that God desires. He lived the life that you and I can’t live. In the process He taught us to pray, fight temptation, help others, turn the other cheek, etc.
Jesus took upon Himself the wrath of God that you and I deserve. He bore your sins on His back and was crushed by His Father because of you and me. Jesus took upon Himself the curse of the Law that you and I rightfully deserve. In His love He has taken our place to reconcile us to a holy God.
Ephesians 1:7-8 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight.”
He lavishly poured out His grace upon us. While we were still sinners He died for us so that we could be set free. God came down in the form of man and He thought of you. He thought of (Insert name). The gospel of Jesus Christ is so personal. He thought of you specifically. Yes, it’s true that Jesus loves the world.
However, to be more specific and intimate, He loves (Insert name). His immense love for the Father and His immense love for you drove Him to the cross. Presence makes love more real. God came down from heaven and became poor and endured pain, humiliation, and betrayal because He loved you. On the cross He took away your sin, guilt, and shame. Jesus made it possible for you to know God.
Don’t you see? Sin was standing in the way of you having a relationship with a holy God. Jesus made it possible for you to have a relationship with Him by putting that sin on His back and dying for your sins. Now there is nothing that is blocking you from knowing Him.
John 3:16 “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.”
1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.”
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Jesus did not lose His life. Jesus willingly laid down His life. Rarely will you ever find a shepherd that will die for his sheep. However, “the Good Shepherd lays down his life for His sheep.” This Good Shepherd is extraordinary. He is not only extraordinary because He died for His sheep, which is remarkable in and of itself. This Good Shepherd is extraordinary because He intimately knows every sheep.
If Jesus wanted He could have sent angels to either protect Him or kill everyone, but someone had to die. Someone had to satisfy God’s wrath and it was only Jesus who could have done it because He is God and He is the only perfect man to have ever lived. It doesn’t matter if it were 1000 angels, only God could die for the world. Only the precious blood of Christ is sufficient to cover every person’s sin, past, present, and future.
Matthew 26:53 “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”
John 10:18 “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Jesus drank your sin and not one drop fell from that cup.
The cup that Jesus drank from represented the judgment of God. Jesus willingly drank the cup of God’s great wrath and laid down His life as a sacrifice for sins. He willingly bore the divine judgment that should have rightly fallen upon humanity. Charles Spurgeon said, “I am never afraid of exaggeration, when I speak of what my Lord endured. All hell was distilled into that cup, of which our God and Savior Jesus Christ was made to drink.”
Matthew 20:22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.”
Luke 22:42-44 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
Through Jesus we can know and enjoy God.
Salvation should lead to rejoicing. “All my sins are gone! Jesus died for me! He saved me! I can begin to know Him!” Before the foundation of the world God wanted to have a relationship with us. However, due to the fall sin entered into the world. Jesus eradicated that sin and restored our relationship with God.
Through Christ we can now know and enjoy God. Believers have been given the glorious privilege of being able to spend time with the Lord and cherish His Person. The greatest gift of salvation is not escaping hell. The greatest gift of salvation is Jesus Himself!
Let’s grow in treasuring Jesus and getting to know Him. Let’s grow in our intimacy with the Lord. Praise God that there is no barrier that is prohibiting us from growing in Him. Something I pray often is, “Lord I want to know You.” Let’s satisfy our souls in Christ. As John Piper said, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
Romans 5:11 “Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Habakkuk 3:18 “yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
Psalm 32:11 “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
Come to God with all your heart
Be honest with Him. He already knows. Cry out to Him. Repent and believe in Christ and you shall be saved. Call on God now to save you!
The answer to how to become a Christian is simple. Jesus! Trust in the perfect work of Jesus on your behalf.
1. Repent: Are you having a change of mind about sin and what Christ has done for you? Do you believe that you’re a sinner in need of a Savior?
2. Believe: Anybody can say something with their mouth, but you must believe with your heart. Ask Christ to forgive your sins and believe He has taken away your sins! Trust Christ for the forgiveness of sins. All your sins are removed and atoned for. Jesus has saved you from the wrath of God in hell. If you were to die and God asked, “why should I let you into heaven?” The answer is (Jesus). Jesus is the only way into heaven. He is the claim for humanity. He died, He was buried, and He resurrected defeating sin and death.
Be honest: Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven?
Be honest: Do you believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried for your sins, and rose from the dead for your sins?
Be honest: Do you believe that all your sins are gone because in His amazing love for you, Christ paid for all of them so you could be set free?
3. Surrender: Your life is for Him now.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Christians are saved by faith alone. Ask Christ to forgive your sins, trust Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and believe He has taken away your sins!
“Saving faith is an immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, resting upon Him alone, for justification, sanctification, and eternal life by virtue of God’s grace.” Charles Spurgeon
Christians are not saved by what we do or have done, but we are saved by what Christ has done for us on the cross. God commands all men to repent and believe the gospel.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Mark 1:15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
Mark 6:12 “So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God.”
I encourage you to be still for a moment. Quiet your heart and come to Jesus Christ genuinely. Take a moment right now to confess and ask for forgiveness. Repent and put your trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ on your behalf. He has made you right before the Lord. Below we will talk more about what repentance means!
What is repentance?
Repentance is a beautiful thing. Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of direction. Repentance is a change of mind about Christ and about sin that leads to a change of action. Our lifestyle transforms. Repentance is not, I’m going to stop doing this stuff and that’s it. In repentance you’re not left empty-handed. Repentance is, I’m dropping all that is in my hand to grasp a hold of something better. I want to grasp a hold of Christ. In Him I have something far more precious.
Repentance is the result of seeing the beauty of God and His goodness and being so consumed with it that everything that you’re holding onto looks like trash in comparison to Him. The good news of the gospel is that you get to repent of sin without shame because Christ gave His life for you and resurrected. He is the one that says you are covered.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis
When we are repentant we see sin like we’ve never seen it before. We begin to hate it. We begin to see how it leaves us broken. We see what Christ has done on the cross for us. We change directions from that sin to the direction of Christ. That is biblical repentance.
It may not always be perfect, but the heart will have a new relationship with sin. Sin will begin to bother you and break your heart. The things that didn’t use to bother you before will bother you now.
Acts 3:19 “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.”
Luke 3:8 “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham. That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.”
Acts 26:20 “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.”
2 Corinthians 7:10 “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
To repent is to:
There is a lot of confusion when discussing repentance. However, allow me to clarify a few things regarding repentance. Repentance is not a work we do to earn salvation. 2 Timothy 2:25 teaches us that it is God who grants us repentance. Repentance is a work of God.
As stated above, Repentance is a change of mind about Christ, which will lead to a lifestyle change. Repentance is not what saves us. Trusting in the perfect work of Christ is what saves us. However, without first having a change of mind (repentance), people will not place their faith in Christ for salvation.
Biblical repentance should lead to a growing hatred for sin. This does not mean that a believer won’t struggle with sin. The statement is true that “no one is perfect.” However, a true repentant heart will not live a continuous lifestyle of sin. Evidence of salvation is that a person will be a new creature with new desires and affections for Christ and His Word. There will be a change in that person’s lifestyle. Paul taught that man is saved by faith apart from works (Romans 3:28). However, this leads to the question, does it matter if a Christian lives a lifestyle of sin and rebellion? Paul gives a response to this question in Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Believers have died to sin. Paul then goes on to use baptism as an illustration of our spiritual reality.
Romans 6:4 “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
We were buried with Christ and raised from the dead in newness of life. Dwell upon this thought for a second. It’s impossible for a person to be risen from the dead and not have their entire life changed.
A genuine believer will not desire to trample on the grace of God because He has been supernaturally changed by God and has been given new desires. If someone is claiming to be Christian, but sin doesn’t bother them and they boldly proclaim, “I’ll just sin now and repent later, I’m a sinner anyway,” is this evidence of a changed heart or an unregenerate heart (A heart that has not been radically changed by God)? A repentant heart has been so moved by the grace of God, and it has been so
captivated by the beauty of the Lord, that it wants to live a life pleasing to Him. Once again, it is not because obedience somehow saves me, but because He has already saved me! Jesus alone is enough to live a life of obedience.
Now that we learned what repentance is, allow me to give you some helpful advice. I encourage you to repent daily. Let’s be professional repenters. Be intimate with the Lord and be specific when asking for forgiveness. Also, I encourage you to consider this.
Is there any sin that is stopping you from trusting in Christ? Is there anything that is holding you back? Is there something that you find more precious than Jesus? Jesus died so that you could be set free from sin. I encourage you to examine yourself and be honest.
Whether it be sexual immorality, pornography, greed, drunkenness, drugs, pride, lying, cursing, anger, gossip, stealing, hatred, idolatry, etc. Is there anything that you love more than Christ that has a hold on your life? The blood of Christ is strong enough to break every chain!
Get alone with God and be honest with Him about your struggles. This is a way of being totally reliant upon God. Ask for forgiveness and pray for a change of mind. Say, “Lord I don’t want these things. Help me. I need You. Change my desires. Change my passions.” Pray for help with these things. Pray for strength from the Spirit. Pray for help with dying to self. For those of you who struggle with sin such as myself, I encourage you to cling to Christ.
In resting in Christ there is victory!
Romans 7:24-25 “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
What is the gospel?
This is the good news that saves.
(Jesus died for our sins, He was buried for our sins, and He was resurrected for our sins.)
Believe this gospel that Jesus died and rose again defeating sin and death. He died the death that we deserved so that we could have eternal life. Jesus took our place on the cross. We don’t deserve God’s love and mercy, but He still gives it. Romans 5:8 reminds us, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
“The heart of the gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ.” (C.H. Spurgeon)
“The core and essence of the Gospel is its tremendous and glorious revelation of how deadly is God’s hatred of sin, so that He cannot stand having it in the same universe as Himself, and will go any length, and will pay any price, and will make any sacrifice, to master and abolish it, is set upon so doing in our hearts, thank God, as elsewhere.” – A. J. Gossip
Romans 5:8-9 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”
Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
If we are saved by faith alone, why should we obey God?
Let’s look into the the topic of why Christians obey a little further. It is imperative that we don’t start to think that we remain in a right standing before God by our works. This is believing salvation by works. We are saved by trusting solely upon Christ. We are totally loved by God and justified before Him. Christ has perfectly finished the work on the cross. On the cross, Jesus said, “it is finished.” He has satisfied the wrath of God. Jesus has emancipated us from the penalty sin and the power of it.
Christians are already saved by His blood and that is why we obey! We obey because we are thankful for what was done for us on the cross and we love God.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
This passage teaches us that those who trust in Christ are not only forgiven, they are also made new. Salvation is a supernaturally work of God, where God changes a man and makes Him a new creature. The new creature has been awakened to spiritual things. He has new passions and appetites, a new course of life, new purposes, new fears, and new hopes. Those who are in Christ have a new identity in Christ. Christians are not trying to be new creatures. Christians are new creatures!
Evidence of true salvation in Christ.
Advice for new believers
Pray daily: Find a quiet place and go be alone with the Lord. Build your intimacy with Christ. Talk to Him throughout the day. Include Christ in the smallest aspects of your day. Enjoy Him and get to know Him.
Read the Bible: Opening our Bible allows God to speak to us through His Word. I encourage you to read Scripture daily.
come to church: I encourage you to come to church and get involved. Community is important on our walk with Christ. See our get involved page for things you can take part in.
Stay accountable: Never doubt the impact of accountability partners on your walk with Christ. Find trusted mature believers who you can be accountable with and who can be accountable with you. Be vulnerable and share prayer requests with each other. Be honest about how you are doing.
Find a mentor: Find an older believer who can help guide you on your walk with the Lord.
Confess your sins: There is always sin to confess. If we are not confessing sin, then our hearts are being hardened by sin. Don’t hide. You are so loved by God. Be honest with the Lord and receive forgiveness and help. Confess your sins daily.
Worship God: Let’s grow in our worship and praise of God. Worship Him by the way that you live your life. Worship Him in your work. Worship Him through music. Worship the Lord with awe and thanksgiving daily. True worship comes to the Lord with a genuine heart and desires only God. “We can express our worship to God in many ways. But if we love the Lord and are led by His Holy Spirit, our worship will always bring a delighted sense of admiring awe and a sincere humility on our part.”
Rest in Christ: Know that you are deeply loved by God and it’s not because of anything that you have to offer Him. Rest in the perfect work of Christ. Believe in His grace. Cherish His blood and rest in it. Cling to Him alone. As the hymn says, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.”
Don’t give up: As a believer, you will have both good and bad times. There will be times on your walk when you will be discouraged by your struggles with sin. There will be times when you’ll feel spiritually dry and defeated. Satan will try to attack your identity in Christ, condemn you, and lie to you. Remember who you are in Christ. Don’t remain in that state of despair. Don’t feel like you’re not good enough to go to God. Christ made a way for you so that you could be right with the Lord.
I love the words of Martin Luther, “God doesn’t love us because of our worth, we are worth because God loves us.” Run to God for forgiveness and help. Allow God to pick you up and dust you off because He loves you. Then, start moving forward. There will be times on your walk when you can’t sense God’s presence. God didn’t leave you don’t worry. When this happens, remember to live by faith and not your feelings.
Whatever situation that you find yourself in, keep pursuing the Lord. Put the past behind you and move forward to God. Realize that He is with you. His Spirit is living inside you. Don’t give up! Run to Him and seek Him daily. 1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Romans 10:9-11 “If you say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved from the punishment of sin. When we believe in our hearts, we are made right with God. We tell with our mouth how we were saved from the punishment of sin. The Holy Writings say, “No one who puts his trust in Christ will ever be put to shame.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding. Agree with Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.”
Romans 15:13 “Our hope comes from God. May He fill you with joy and peace because of your trust in Him. May your hope grow stronger by the power of the Holy Spirit.”