Some decisions you make are more important than others – whilst getting dressed this morning you might have thought of who you might meet, what meetings or classes you had to attend, whether it was sunny or raining etc. Nothing major or tragic was going to result from a wrong decision in any of these matters. However, in the big picture of your life there are some decisions that have massive implications – and from God’s point of view there is one major decision which dwarfs all else. God asks you, Who is Jesus?
Note the question isn’t who was Jesus – that would give you the option of disregarding him as some historical figure like Gandhi, Genghis Khan or Goliath. No, God is concerned about who you think Jesus is now, today, in the present tense. The answer to that one question reveals your decision as to where you will spend eternity. Declare that Jesus is your Lord and you will be saved and God promises to welcome you into heaven for all eternity, Romans 10:9-10 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”(NIV)
It is easy to imagine you can put this mega-decision off, surely there will be time later to decide, after all it is so important that it requires much thought, let’s not be hasty in this… This is the one decision you should not, in fact you cannot, procrastinate over.
Note two things:
Firstly, even the wisest of us does not know the date and time of their departure into eternity, you don’t know when you will die – but whenever that is you can guarantee being in God’s presence as soon as it happens; Secondly, God promises us that life with him, real life, life in all its fullness as God intended for you, starts here and now the moment you believe and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.
God wants you to know Him now, in fact the Bible reveals an amazing fact; before the world was made God had decided he wanted you to be his child, and him to be your Father (Eph 1:4). God has always loved you and has always had a plan and a purpose for your life (Eph 2:4-10).
Many people want God to be part of their life – they want him to help them, to bless them, to make them feel good. The problem is they approach God from the position of what they want. The Bible looks at this from God’s perspective – it declares that we need God, we need to be forgiven, we need to be reconciled to God – and that can only happen through Jesus Christ.
Previous posts in this series have covered the important ideas of what Jesus has done for us and who Jesus is, and it is good to know these amazing truths. We have to be careful that these are not simply ideas but become realities in our life. This can only happen through asking Jesus to become Lord and Saviour of your life – and it has to be an individual, personal decision. God does not have grandchildren – your parents might go to church but that doesn’t make you a Christian. You might go to church but that doesn’t make you a Christian. Only one thing can, a personal decision to ask Jesus to forgive your sin and to make him Lord of your life.
Maybe you know you have made a mess of your life so far, you have failed as you walked in your strength and your ideas. God has not given up on you – in his love he is calling out for you to come to him through Jesus and experience the power of his forgiveness and receive a new life in Jesus (2 Cor 5:17). In following Jesus Christ, God offers you a totally new life – something the Bible calls being born again. How does this take place, how can you make Jesus Lord of your life?
Deciding what you believe about who Jesus is, is the first step towards knowing and loving God. As a Christian you believe that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, who died on the cross in your place to take away your sins – and to remove the barrier that sin has created between God and you (Col 1:20, 2:13-15).
Turning from our old ways is the first step you take towards God – in effect you do a U-turn away from sin and start to walk a new life in God’s ways. (This was talked about in the section on what is sin and how to overcome it.)
We quoted Romans 10:8-9 earlier – you declare your faith, stating that you trust in Jesus to forgive and save you. Prayer, which is simply speaking to God and spending time in his presence, is a great way of declaring your faith, your love and your trust in Jesus.
4. Be Baptized
Being baptized in water as a believer is a sign showing your commitment to Jesus, declaring that you have become his disciple.This was an important step for the first Christians (Acts 2:38, 41) and is an important step of obedience for us (Matt 28:19) [More on this coming soon in the next post.]
5. Receive the Holy Spirit
When Jesus becomes Lord of your life then God gives you his presence and his power through the Holy Spirit who comes to live in you. In the book of Acts being filled with the Holy Spirit was usually part of salvation, and it should be part of your salvation experience (Acts 10:44). Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit, believe he will answer your prayer (Lk 11:9-13, Jn 7:37-39, Eph 5:18).
6. Walk as a Disciple
We shall study more fully how we walk as a disciple of Jesus Christ (“walking the talk”), later in this series. One of the most telling descriptions of Peter and John (some of the first disciples) was that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). As you walk with him, Jesus will shape and change your life into something that is God glorifying and beautiful to behold.
“A believer changes their mind, a disciple changes their life”
You have to choose – will you accept Jesus and God’s offer of eternal life through him, or will you reject him?
Pray this prayer or one like it if you want your sins forgiven and you want to become a child of God and a disciple of Jesus.
‘‘Lord God, I am aware that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus died for my sin. He took away the punishment due to me for my sin by taking it upon Himself on the cross. I repent and turn from my sin and I ask God’s forgiveness. I yield my life to Jesus and make Him my Lord and Saviour. I will obey His commands and live my life for His good pleasure. I know that I now am a child of God and my sins are forgiven as they have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Praise God, Amen.’’
Discuss: What has been the most difficult step in following Jesus? How did you overcome that?