The Bible's Message
What does the Bible teach about who God is and how to know Him? Consider this summary from God's Word (all quotations taken from the NASB):
The Bible says God is personal and good.
Psalm 86.5-10, "Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Thee. Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; And give heed to the voice of my supplications! In the day of my trouble I shall call upon Thee, For Thou wilt answer me. There is no one like Thee among the gods, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Thine. All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord; And they shall glorify Thy name. For Thou art great and doest wondrous deeds; Thou alone art God.
The Bible says God has made us for Himself and His own glory.
Genesis 1.26-27, "God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth'. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them".
Ephesians 1.11-14, "we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory".
The Bible says the purpose of life is to know God.
John 17.3, "And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent".
Philippians 3.8-10, "More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death".
The Bible says we must be perfect to have a relationship with God.
Matthew 5.20, Jesus said, "I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven".
Matthew 5.48, "you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect".
The Bible says we do not know God as we should because of our sin.
Romans 3.23, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God".
Romans 5.12,18-19, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned...even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous".
1 John 1.10, "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us".
The Bible says we are helpless to change our nature by mere effort or any kind of religious practice.
Romans 3.20, "...by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin".
Galatians 2.16, "...a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified".
The Bible says that God joined a perfect human nature to Himself in the person of Jesus Christ – the unique God-man – in order to break down the barrier of sin when we could not do it ourselves.
Philippians 2.5-11, "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father".
The Bible says God is able and willing to give us the perfection we need on the basis of the perfection of another – Jesus Christ His unique Son, who paid for the debt of our sin once for all on the cross.
Romans 5.6-8, "...while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us".
The Bible says this perfection is credited to the account of all who place their trust in Jesus and do not depend on their own "merits".
Romans 3.21-24, "...apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus".
The Bible says that faith in Jesus alone gives us a new standing before God.
John 3.16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life".
John 1.12, "as many as received him, to them he gave the authority to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name".
Romans 10.9-13, "the word of faith which we are preaching [is] that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; for 'Whoever will call upon the name of the LORD will be saved' ".
2 Corinthians 5.17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new".
Ephesians 2.8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast".
The Bible says that those who trust in Jesus Christ as their sin-bearer and substitute before a holy God will show evidence of the new life they have received from God. This is the fruit of their salvation, not the root.
Ephesians 2.10, "...we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them".
1 John 2.4-5, "The one who says, 'I have come to know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him".
The Bible says that the following things will help a believer in Jesus Christ grow in his/her faith:
Reading and studying the Bible
Psalms 119:105, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path".
2 Timothy 3:16 , "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness".
Learning to pray
Philippians 4.6, "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God".
Luke 18.1, "[Jesus] was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart. . . "
Obeying Christ's command to be baptized
Acts 2.41, "So then, those who had received his [Peter's] word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls".
Becoming involved in a sound local church where God's Word is taught
Hebrews 10.23-24, "let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near".
Learning to serve other people before yourself
Galatians 5.13-14, "...through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'".
Resisting temptation and living a godly life
1 Peter 4.1-2, "since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
Telling others about what God has done for you
2 Corinthians 5.11, 20-21, "Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men ... we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him".
Mark 16.15, "And [Jesus] said unto them, 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature".
1 Corinthians 9.16, "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"
How to become a Christian
Understand what the Bible says about God and your standing before Him
Do you grasp what the passages above teach? God urges us through His book to believe all this is true. Understand that God created you to know and love Him. Although He is perfect, holy and eternal, He seeks a personal relationship with you for His glory and your good.
Change your mind
Change your mind about your relationship to God (the Bible calls this "repentance"). The Bible says all men have fallen short of God's perfect standards by following their own sinful ways. Their relationship with God has been broken and they cannot serve God and worship Him acceptably. The Bible says the consequences of sin are physical death and eternal separation from God.
Trust in Jesus Christ
Trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became a man and died on the cross for you. Although all deserve God's judgment, Jesus willingly took that judgment in your place and rose from the dead to prove His payment for sin was sufficient. The Bible says that all who place their trust only in the Lord Jesus are forgiven, given eternal life and enabled to begin a new life that pleases God.
If you would like to know more about becoming a Christian, we would welcome the opportunity to talk with you.