Do you know Jesus… for real? No, it’s not a question of whether you believe that Jesus once lived, was a great teacher… or whether you believe that Christianity is the right religion. Nor is it a matter if you go to church, perform religious acts, or live a good and decent life. The question is, Are you born again? Do you have the “witness” of God’s Spirit in your heart, like John Wesley finally experienced… or that the monsignor Billy Graham described? Have you experienced what the Apostle Paul described as “old things passed away, and all things become new?” Do you you know absolutely sure, that if you were to die at this very moment, you would go to heaven and spend eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ?
If your answer is no, maybe, not sure… or anything other than an absolute resounding yes… then I ask you to do what the priest did. Review the scriptures for yourself, fall to your knees and ask Jesus to come in to your heart. Just as Wesley did, by faith, trust Christ completely as your Lord and Savior… and allow your heart likewise, to be “strangely warmed” by the New Birth of His indwelling Spirit.
Or perhaps you once gave your heart to the Lord Jesus in the past, experiencing the joy and peace of His presence long ago… but over time, you grew distant and have not continued to follow Jesus with your life. For you, the remedy is the same… you need to come back to Jesus with faith and repentance and let Him renew your heart and life! His love and forgiveness is as much available to you! “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Some may quibble over the semantics here, claiming, “Even though I’m not living for God the way I should anymore, I was already saved in the past… and I still believe in Jesus… and certainly don’t need to get saved all over again!” I can agree in-part with such contention, however it is also a fact that there’s usually little difference between the life of an unbeliever and a backslidden Christian. And if a person is so far out of divine fellowship that God is unable to influence one’s morality or the way they live, do they really want to assume that He will have a greater influence over their soul after they are dead? Think about it.
Regardless whether a person calls themselves a Christian, if they reject any attempt to follow their Savior, and instead, live a life surrendered to the desires of sin and the Devil, I find it inconsistent with scripture to believe that they will open their eyes in Heaven when they die. I’ve said many times, “God has a greater grip on us than any of us have on Him” …but it would be very foolish for anyone to gamble with their soul, thinking they can depart from the faith, principles and lifestyle of their Lord Jesus, and still be assured of Heaven.
When it comes time for you to take your last breathe on this earth, I don’t think you want to risk the possibility of unexpected surprises when you open your eyes on other side. Don’t gamble with your soul. Now is the time, while you have opportunity, to come back to a place of renewed faith and repentance… and like in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24), the Lord Jesus is eager to forgive, to love you and rekindle your fellowship again! God’s Word says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Sin is often thought of as some vile or immoral act, but the Bible helps us understand that it is much more… it is actually an attitude of rebellion against the ideals of God, intrinsic to our inherited human nature. In other words, it is the nature for all human beings to think, do or say things that violate God’s holy standards. According to scripture, this is a condition that was passed down to all the ancestors of Adam, the first man… who allowed sin to alienate himself from God’s presence, and which continues to obstruct man’s fellowship from the Lord today. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Not only does sin separate us from God in our present time, but it also maintains that separation beyond the grave… in a dreadful realm of eternal death and darkness that was never intended for mankind. The Bible says that the Lake of Fire was created as a place of everlasting punishment for the Devil and his angels, who sinned and rebelled against God, and were expelled from Heaven long ago. Unfortunately, this Hellish place will also be the shared destination of all those who remain separated from God when they face death. “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire “Revelation 20:15).
However, the great news is, rather than to abandon the fallen sinful human creatures that God originally created for His fellowship, God loved mankind so much that He devised a plan to redeem us, giving everyone an opportunity to make a choice… either to continue in sin and apart from God… or to turn to the Lord, receive His offer of forgiveness and walk in His fellowship. A relationship with the Lord brings new spiritual life and assurance of everlasting life with the Lord in Heaven when we die.
To implement His plan for redemption, however, God also had to find a way to comply with His own righteous standards by fulfilling His law of sin and death. In other words, according to God’s values, death is an irrevocable consequence of sin that must be satisfied…. so in order to rescue man from death without violating His own principles, He found an alternate means to fulfill the demands of His law… by sending His son, Jesus, to die in our place. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The only sacrifice acceptable to fulfill this enormous debt in behalf of every man, woman and child on the earth, required a perfect, sinless sacrifice. Jesus, the son of God, was the only one who could take our place, since He is the only man without sin to ever walk on the earth.
So, God makes this amazing offer of forgiveness and salvation available as a free gift to every person, if they will comply with just one thing: To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). To believe on Him means that by faith we accept that Jesus was indeed God’s son, who came and died in our behalf on the cross, rose from the dead on the third day, and was exalted by the Heavenly Father as both our Savior and Lord.
The instant you acknowledge this reality in your heart and confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior, something extraordinary occurs… in fact, it is miraculous. The Spirit of Christ is born in your heart and you become a habitation of the Lord’s presence. Becoming born-again brings new spiritual life, and God’s promise of salvation and everlasting life. The Lord receives you as His child and He writes your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
So are you ready to accept this gift of salvation that Jesus offers you right now? The scripture says, “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” (Romans 10:9-10).
Here’s a sample prayer that you can put into your own words:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I realize that I am a sinner and that I need of your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins on the cross and rose from the dead so you could wash me of sin and give me eternal life. Please come into my heart now, forgive me and save me. I confess you as my Lord and Savior and place my faith in you. I will follow you as long as I live, and trust that I die, you will receive me into Heaven. Thank you for your forgiveness, for coming into my heart and for making me a child of God!”
The very moment you sincerely express this prayer to Christ in faith, He will enter your heart by His Spirit. You may or may “not” sense anything different at first… but don’t be too concerned with that right now. Sooner or later you will eventually sense His inner peace, joy and presence along with other encouraging things… but for the moment, simply trust in His promise by faith. Jesus assured that at the moment you call out for the Lord to come into your heart, He will. He promised to save you, to forgive “all” your sins, and to write your name in His book of Life. Trust Him, and by faith thank Him for doing what He promised. Now after this, it’s important to open and read the Bible each day to see what God has to say to you (start in the New Testament book of John)… and is equally important to talk to Him daily through prayer. Ask Him to guide your life and to fill you with the fullness His Holy Spirit. Get involved with a good Bible-believing church and attend faithfully. Ask to be baptized in water at your earliest convenience, in obedience to what Lord commanded (Acts 2:38), and by all means continue to live your life daily for the Lord!