The point of all this is that it is possible to come to know God in a personal way and to live life the way he intended.
In an amazing statement Jesus said what it is all about: a relationship with God: “This is eternal life that people may know you and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
It is not a matter of getting religious but of getting to know someone. This relationship with God is not about what we do for him but what he does for us. It’s a gift to be received not a reward to be earned.
It’s not dull religion but life as it is meant to be here and now.
How can we begin this relationship?
God is not distant and uncaring, but close and compassionate. He is as close as a mother to a child in the womb, and has a greater love. The greatest statement of that love was expressed when Jesus said “God loved the world so much that he sent his only son so that all who believe in him may not perish but have eternal life.” And the greatest demonstration of that love was that he gave his life on behalf of others when he was crucified.
Things are not good. The world is in a mess and people are in a mess. The root cause is that we have turned away from God. The symptoms of that root cause are an impressive list of hidden and explicit shame: greed, selfishness, violence, sexual immorality, pride, criticism, war, abuse, cynicism, grumbling … the list could go on. All of this tells us that life on earth is not as it should be and that we play our own part in the problem. We need forgiveness and a new way of doing life.
It’s not possible to read an account of the life of Jesus without realising he was going to achieve something when he died. It was a brutal death – crucifixion. But he said he had come ‘not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ His death, therefore, is the means through through which people can be forgiven.
And to prove it, an outstanding earth-changing event happened after he died. Many times he had said he would rise again after he had died. Guards were put on the tomb to stop any mischief and subsequent rumours of resurrection. Yet, just as he said, three days later he was restored to life again and the tomb was empty. This was witnessed by scores of people over several weeks. As many as 500 people saw him at one time.
People always thought there was something special about Jesus but this was the ultimate demonstration of it. As a result they realised he was the visible expression of the invisible God – God’s Son. For us, this means it is possible to get to know him today: he is alive and he said he would send his Spirit to live in those who believe in him.
How can we experience it?
Tell him that’s what we want! Jesus has made this possible so all we do is accept it. It will mean we are forgiven for our failure, given a new type of life with his Spirit in us and the promise of a future beyond death. Those who have done this say it is the most profound step into the greatest reality.
Do you want this? Jesus said we need to receive him. Those who receive him become children of God. Here’s how you can do it. You can pray the following:
Jesus, I acknowledge that you are God and that I need you to live life the right way. I recognise I have not done that and so I ask for forgiveness and for your Spirit to come and live within me. Make me the person you want me to be. I put my trust in you now and thank you for the promise of eternal life. Amen.
If you pray this then you will begin the adventure of a lifetime.