First, I have some bad news for you. Donít worry though, I also have good news. Actually, I have great news! However, I should start with the bad: You are going to die. Every moment your body is getting older. One day, possibly far in the future (but potentially sooner), your body will die. I say this with certainty.† Iím also quite confident that this is not a surprise to you. Itís not even really Ďnewsí, itís just plain bad.
Here is the great news. God loves you!
He does not want you to die, and He has prepared a way for you to live eternally with Him. I would be grateful if you could allow me a few minutes to explain how this is possible.
Life is like a path. You are on this path, and must choose between two directions. At one end of the path is the One that created you, God. The opposite direction leads further and further away from God. The path towards Him leads to eternal life. The path away from Him continues to death.
You have a decision to make. Do you continue on the path leading to death, or will you choose to turn towards God and life?
For those that wish to choose the path to life, I must first heed a great warning. Desiring an intimate relationship with the One that created you is a life changing event, however, it is just a first step. The moment you make this decision you become extremely vulnerable. This vulnerability is the result of your need. Where there is a need, others will look to profit. For this reason I must take a quick detour.
Having made the decision to pursue God, you still lack the understanding required to do so. You must acquire true knowledge of the correct path, and instruction to traverse it. I write, claiming to have knowledge of the path to the One that created you.
As you well know, there are many that make this claim. Eternal life is immeasurably valuable. Thus, its notion can be a source of great profit for those who are willing to deceive. You must be shrewd in discerning the true path from false Gods, religions and teaching.
A false teacher will profess things that sound true. You must see through this deception by carefully examining their motive. If their teaching is in anyway self-serving then know it is false. If anyone seeks to profit in from their claimed path to God, their teaching is false! Further, profit is not strictly monetary. It can also be less tangible such as a position of power, or feeding a sense of pride.
If someone claiming to have the truth about God places themself between you and that God, they are attempting to lead you astray to suit their own purposes.
A person seeking to place him or herself between you and a God, even the One true God, should not be trusted. That individual is seeking profit, and will only lead you further from the God you seek.
There is only one true God. The the path to Him is narrow, while the path away from Him is broad. False teachers will lead you in the wrong direction.
A true servant of God seeks one thing, and has only one motive. A truthful teacher seeks to lead you to God and Eternal life, with the motive of pleasing God. They seek no personal profit.
I am writing this to guide you on the path to life. Share this writing as freely as you desire, I seek nothing but to please the Lord.
This marks, the end of our detour, we will now get back to the task at hand!
If you decide to turn towards God and take the path towards eternal life, the first step you must take is called repentance.
Up to this point, you have exercised full control over your life. To start on the path towards God, you must release control to Him and agree to follow His plan for your life.
Your decision to follow His will is a difficult one. †It requires faith in Him. Faith is not simply belief that someone exists, but more clearly understood as the level of trust you in someone or something. †If you trust that God has your best interests at heart, is wiser and greater than yourself, then you are better off with Him in control of your life.† With this level of faith, repentance becomes a logical and beneficial step.
The big question is: What does God want you to do with your life? The answer is a simple one. He wants you to build an intimate relationship with Him. He desires that you get closer to Him.
To have an intimate relationship, you must share a similar moral foundation. Would a marriage between a monogamist and a polygamist work? How about a murderer and a Doctor? Can a couple with disparate morals find intimacy? I think not!
The path towards God requires an agreement to strive towards His moral standard. This means that His standard must be understood.
We will now borrow a term from the sport of archery. In archery, an arrow is shot at a target. The arrow will either hit the target, or miss it. An arrow that misses the target is called a sin.
The target we are aiming for is Godís moral standard. Anything that falls short of His standard is called a sin.
If you try to hit a target with an arrow, while blindfolded with no sense of direction, your chance of success is very low. If you want to successfully hit a target, the first thing you need to do is set our sights on it.
This is further reason to be weary of false teachers. If you are taught to aim for a false target, you will never hit the real one.
If you desire is to take the path that leads to God and eternal life, you must learn to see that true path.
By trusting God with your life through repentance, and properly discerning truthful teaching about Him and His moral standards, you have made the first and most important step towards Him. However, there is still a seemingly insurmountable problem to overcome.
You are a sinner, and sin has consequence. Missing Godís perfect moral standard causes pain and suffering. Take a look around your world. The pain is evident. We have defined our own moral standards, and the results are disastrous: pain, suffering and death. You are currently growing older each and every moment due to the consequence of sin. One day you will die because death is the cost of sin!
Sin lies in the path between you and God. It is what separated you from Him to begin with, and it accumulates as a debt which blocks your path to Him.
Godís morality is perfect. For justice to be satisfied this debt of pain, suffering and sin must be paid in full. God created a world where every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Some might call it yin and yang. It is sin that separates us from God, and to be reconciled that sin must be repaid.
This is a seemingly insurmountable problem. To re-pay a debt of death, the only suitable payment is death.† However, our death will not result reconciliation with God, but rather permanent separation. This is a problem that we cannot solve on our own, because it is a debt we cannot re-pay without dying.
Fortunately, no problem is too great for God, the One that made you and all of creation. The solution to this enormous problem is one that comes at a great , and requires an immense sacrifice.† The only repayment for a debt of pain, suffering and death, is pain, suffering and death!† Therefore, that is the payment God makes on your behalf. That is the sacrifice He makes so that you can be reconciled to Him.
God gave up a part of Himself, to become flesh.
God made Himself one of us. He became a man, fully human, while retaining His full knowledge, wisdom and moral standard. He was born as an infant, the Son of the true living God, and grew into a man. In the 30 plus years he spent in the flesh he never sinned, adhering to His own perfect standard.
Before His departure, He provided us the two things we desperately needed. First, he provided the correct understanding of how to walk the path towards Him. He gave us the instruction we require to grow our intimacy with Him. He spent 3 years passing this teaching onto 12 students (Disciple means student). These students repented, followed Gods standards and became teachers themselves. His students knew Him as the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
His second provision is the solution to our insurmountable problem. He repaid the debt of pain, suffering and death. It was a price God willingly paid, because it was the only way He could be intimate with you. Though sinless, and without any debt of His own, the Christ went to the cross. On that cross He took upon Himself the debt of pain and suffering for those who choose the direction of intimacy with God and life.
I recently suffered kidney stones. I am told that kidney stones are comparable to the pain experienced during child birth. Many of you may know the pain of stones, childbirth or something similar. Multiply that pain by an unthinkable amount and it still pales to the suffering of Christ on the cross. When it was done, He completed the payment with His life. He repaid pain for pain, suffering for suffering and death for death.† Three days later was risen.
I can tell you that I know Jesus is the Son of God, and that He went to the cross for me. However, there is nothing I can say or do to convince you of that. †I cannot prove it. In fact, there is nothing on this earth that will convince or prove to you who Jesus is.
Only God reveals who Jesus is, and the truth behind His sacrifice. He reveals this in response to your repentance.
Repentance will trigger the awareness of sin, and of your debt.
To those that refuse to repent, whom choose the path away from God, Jesus is just a man. Some may even think Him a great man, but the truth is hidden from them. They are not aware of their debt, and thus have no need of Him. Only those who chose the path towards God, and give their life in repentance realize their debt and need. Only they will come to know His true identity.
God knows you heart. You cannot fool him. Only true repentance will result in the knowledge of Christ, and the repayment of sin. You cannot dip your foot in the water, you must jump in. If you want a new everlasting life, you must give up your current life. The deal is this: a life, for a life.
I previously stated that I would explain why you can escape death, by turning and taking the path that leads to God. Here is the explanation.
First, think of your soul as this circle:
Should you choose repent, God will reveal your sinfulness, your debt, and Jesusí true identity to you. He will also reveal an area of sin in your life that he wants you to actively work on.
True to your word, you will repent of that sin, turning away from it. You will work to improve this sinful area of your life. In response to your repentance, Jesus pays for the debt of that sin. Put another way, He cleanses that part of your soul.
Now here is the amazing part. More Great News! Jesus cleanses you by repaying your debt, thus creating a place in your soul which God can occupy with His Spirit.
This is the greatest moment of change that you will ever experience. You will have God in you, and you will feel Him!
It gets better. God is eternal, His Spirit will never die. Your soul and Godís Spirit are now joined, therefore, you cannot not die either! You will have an everlasting life in intimacy with Him. Your physical body will perish, but your soul will not!
This intimacy with God and a new everlasting life starts the moment you repent and come to know Jesus. This is like a re-birth. You are reborn with the Spirit of God.
Some will call this being born of the Spirit, while others will call it being born again. Whatever you choose to call it, it is a new start.
This moment of birth is not the end. It is only the beginning. As you work through your salvation, carving out sin through ongoing repenting, the space that the Spirit occupies in you grows.
As His spirit grows in you, your intimacy with Him grows stronger. Through the teaching He providing you continue on the path towards His perfect moral standard, as He transforms you into His image.
You have a choice to make. You can continue on the path away from God, or you can turn and start towards Him.
Once you make that choice, ensure that you are discerning in your selection of the correct path. Aiming for the wrong target will not result in life.
The one true path is narrow. It leads to God through your repentance, and the sacrifice of Christ.
Choose your path wisely.