Someone said, “Knowing Christ died – that’s history. Believing He died for me – that’s salvation.” A personal relationship with Christ begins at the moment of our salvation. Only when we are born spiritually into God’s family do we become members of His spiritual kingdom.
While we may not know exactly when this new life begins, we can understand the steps we need to take to begin this relationship.
We need to admit our lost condition.
All of us are born to the parents of a fallen humanity. We come into this world separated from the life of God and absorbed with an interest in finding satisfaction and significance on our own terms. We don’t show our natural desire for God who made us for Himself (Romans 3:11-12).
The Bible says we all come into this physical world alive but spiritually dead. The apostle Paul wrote, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), and “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
We need to know what God has done for us.
The word gospel means “good news.” The gospel of Christ is that God Himself loved us enough to send His own Son into the world to rescue us from our sin (John 1:1-4; 3:16). The good news is that Jesus lived the quality of life that God intended for us to live. He loved His heavenly Father with all of His heart, soul, and mind and showed us what it means to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Then, to solve the problem of our lost relationship with His Father, Jesus died in our place, offering Himself as a perfect sacrifice to pay the price of sin. Because He was not only man but God our Creator as well (John 1:1-14), His death was of infinite value. When He rose from the dead, He proved that He had died in our place to pay the price of all sin – past, present, and future.
We need to personally believe and receive God’s gift.
While we all have earned the wages of spiritual death and separation from God (Romans 6:23), no one can earn a relationship with God. It is a gift of His love and mercy. No one is saved by trying to be good. We are saved by trusting in Christ: “For by grace [undeserved favor] you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9; see also Romans 4:5; Titus 3:5).
This may sound too simple. But it takes a miracle of God’s grace to break our pride and self-sufficiency. It takes God’s Spirit to draw us into this kind of personal relationship. The actual words we say to God to receive this gift may vary (Luke 18:13; 23:42-43). What is important is that we believe God enough to be able to say, “Father, I know I have sinned against You. I believe that Jesus is Your Son, that He died for my sins, and that He rose from the dead to prove it. Now I accept Your offer of eternal life. I accept Jesus as Your gift for my salvation.”
If this is the honest expression of your heart, welcome to God’s family! By simple childlike faith you have entered into a personal relationship with the One who made you and saved you for Himself.
- Vol. 19, Our Daily Bread