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The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens.
Prov. 3:19



Appendix

Receiving Christ as Lord and Savior

As Creator, God in His sovereignty has created mankind for His own purpose. Mankind's reason for existence is tied in with the Creator's plan. There is an emptiness in those who are living apart from God's plan and purpose. Their very reason for existence is not realized. Those who are going through life apart from God's plan seek one avenue after another in order to find fulfillment, but in each path is found emptiness.

The Scripture says of Jesus, "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him" (Col. 1:16). Jesus created all things and it is "for Him" that they were created. In Jesus Christ is found the meaning of existence.

God's plan and calling

The Apostle Paul laid out the plan of God and His calling: "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:4-7).

This passage shows:

  1. God is calling those He created into a personal relationship of love with Him.  This is an intimate relationship where His people are called His children and God is called "Father." God reveals Himself as a God of love and a relationship with Him is to be one of love and fellowship.

  2. God's plan is that His people would be "holy and without blame before Him in love."  God is holy, meaning He is set apart from sin and unrighteousness. His holy character cannot allow sin in His presence without it being judged. Therefore a relationship with Him must be one where His people are also "holy and without blame." This presents a problem. The Scripture says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." There is no one who can stand before a holy God on his own righteousness. Therefore sin must be dealt with in order for a relationship with God to be possible. This also calls for repentance on the part of those who would come to God. Repentance is a willingness to turn from sin and turn to God and His righteousness.

  3. This relationship is through Jesus Christ.  God Himself has solved the problem of sin by becoming a man, living a sinless life, and therefore becoming the way to God. This is in the person of Jesus Christ who has become the mediator between sinful mankind and a holy God. The Scripture says, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus is the way to God, for Jesus is the One who has reconciled mankind with God. Therefore the Scripture says that God has "predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself." The path to God has been predetermined by God. God's people, the church, have been destined beforehand to be God's people only through Jesus Christ. Those who come to God must do so through this path to God.

  4. In Jesus Christ is the forgiveness of sins.  The Scripture says, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." Jesus, as Mediator, has taken away the sins of the world through His death on the cross. In this He suffered the judgment of God toward sin in the place of all sinners. Scripture says, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus was perfect but our sins were placed upon Him and He died in our place. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and then ascended into Heaven, received by the Father into great glory. The righteousness of Christ is now accounted toward those who trust in Christ, and their sins are fully forgiven.

  5. This relationship is according to His grace.  A relationship to God is attained solely by His grace. This means it is not earned. The Scripture says that a restored relationship to God through Christ is "to the praise of the glory of His grace," and also, "according to the riches of His grace." God's unmerited favor is a gift to be received. The Scripture says that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). All have earned death, and abide in spiritual death, because all have sinned. But God offers eternal life as a gift to be received through Jesus Christ, according to the riches of His grace.

Receiving Christ

The Bible says of Jesus, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12). One enters into a relationship with God as His child by receiving Christ and believing upon Him. Concerning the receiving of Him Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me" (Rev. 3:20).

The way to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is presented by the Apostle Paul: "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:9-10). Receiving Christ involves both the mouth and the heart. One must "confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus." This is to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and to place one's allegiance on Him. One must also "believe in your heart" that God has raised Him from the dead. To believe this is to believe, in one's heart, that Jesus died on the cross for one's sins and that He is risen and living. He is the living Savior, one who will come into one's life to bring spiritual life.

A prayer to receive Christ

Jesus Christ can be received by a prayer such as this:

Jesus, I acknowledge that you are the Creator and have created me for your purpose. I acknowledge that you are the Christ, the Messiah of Israel. I acknowledge that I have sinned against God, have rebelled against you, and have gone my own way. I now turn my life over to you and ask that you be my Lord and my Savior. Forgive me of my sins and give me eternal life in you, even as you have promised to do for those who ask. I believe in my heart that you are the risen Lord of all. Deliver me into the Father's presence, and send the Holy Spirit to live in me. Thank you. Amen.

What next?

Those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are spiritually born into God's kingdom. This is a matter of faith, but nevertheless some very real changes have occurred. Those who believe Christ from the heart can count on God to be faithful to His promises. God has promised that the believer is forgiven of all sin. God has promised that the believer has eternal life with Him. God has promised to send the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer to give him assurance, comfort, and help in living for God.

The redemptive work of Christ includes provision for those who receive Him to grow and flourish in a relationship with Him. The new believer must appropriate the resources that God has freely provided so that he can mature in the faith. As a newborn human cannot survive apart from a nurturing environment, even so the newborn believer cannot survive apart from the environment that Jesus Christ has provided.

The environment for the believer to live in, or abide in, is in Jesus Christ Himself. There are several aspects of this:

  1. Abide in the Word of God.  Jesus is the Word of God. He is the "light of life" and through His Word, the Bible, comes the light of the knowledge of Him. This is a very important aspect in growing in a relationship with God. It is best to begin with the New Testament books of the Bible. The "Gospel of John" is a good place to start. The Holy Spirit will teach and bring understanding to God's word.
  2. Abide in prayer, communion with God, and worship.  Spiritually, the believer is with Christ in the heavenly places. One is delivered into God the Father's presence by being in Christ. It is here, in the spiritual dimension, that the believer is to dwell. This involves prayer with God, communion and fellowship, thankfulness and worship.
  3. Abide in the Church.  The Church is the body of Christ. The believer is a member of that body, and therefore the body of Christ is a vital place of growth. Seek out a church where the members believe the Bible to be the Word of God. Ask God's direction to find a church that fellowships around God's word and emphasizes worship and praise to God. As a new believer get baptized. This is Jesus' command. Baptism is the outward testimony of the believer's inward identification with the death and resurrection of Christ. It is an important aid to faith to help mark the believer's new life in Christ.
  4. Abide in grace under the rule of Christ.  Do not get caught up in legalism where one tries to obtain God's blessing and favor through works. Let the reverse be true. Let God through His Spirit fill one's life freely according to God's new covenant promise. The result will be good works that come naturally because of a changed heart. Look for direction from Jesus who is the loving Shepherd and Lord of one's life. Through Christ comes the grace needed to follow after God. Begin to live a life of faith and trust in Christ, for "without faith it is impossible to please Him."