Are You Searching?
On one hand, finding and knowing God is so simple that many people cannot comprehend it. Jesus says that we have to have childlike faith. On the other hand, becoming a true child of God can seem impossible because we have to set aside pride and commit ourselves to be totally dependent on someone else; someone we cannot see or touch. Thankfully, God understands these things and also knows our heart. When we truly desire to have a relationship with God, He gives us the faith we need to believe.
Here are the three steps to entering into a personal relationship with God:
Step One: Understand our need to be made right in God's sight
God is totally holy and totally righteous and because of this no sin can come into his presence. Practically speaking this would mean that no one can be made right with God. While most people are "good people" no one is perfectly good and has never sinned [to sin is to fall short of God's perfect standard]. This is why he, God who is perfect and without sin, came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ [a] to become a perfect and acceptable sacrifice for our sin. When we accept Jesus as saviour God no longer "sees" our sin, He sees us through the righteousness of Jesus, who is perfect and without sin.
Step Two: Take a step of faith
Start talking to God. Be assured He will hear you! Remember God is going to give you the faith you need to believe. He loves you! Tell God you want to know him, that you are sorry for all the wrong you have done in your life and you now receive his gift of forgiveness and accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour of your life.
Step Three: Tell someone
The Bible says, "If you confess with your mouth (tell someone) that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
What happens when I accept Jesus as my Saviour?
An important question. It is the reality of these answers that gives Jesus' followers such conviction of his existence, that he is who the Bible says he is and their absolute confidence in him.
1. The first thing you realize is that there is in fact a God who cares about you. Personally. Intimately. Passionately.
2. Typically, you will experience a deep inner peace, unlike anything you have experienced before in your life.
3. If you have been aware of sin in your life, having a feeling of being worthless and unforgivable, you will feel a tremendous weight lifted from your shoulders. You will know God has forgiven you.
4. You will become aware of the presence of God. That void in your inner self will be filled. You will feel complete.
5. You will feel a sense of excitement and a "need" to share your experience, your encounter with God, with others.
6. You may experience what feels like a physical hunger to read the Bible and, as you read it, you will find the words on the page come alive, often as though God were speaking to you directly (which, through the Holy Spirit, He is in fact doing).
7. You will experience a strong desire to praise and worship God.
8. You will notice that as you pray you begin to see your prayers being answered, often in ways that will confound and amaze you!
9. Over time you will understand the concepts and promises of the Bible. That ,when you accept Jesus as your saviour, God indwells you in the person of the Holy Spirit.
10. In time you will realize and understand the spiritual gifts God gives you. There are more than twenty spiritual gifts described in the Bible. Typically you will receive two or three, one being a primary gift. These 'gifts' God uses to build up and serve his family, the body of believers, that is the church.
But is Jesus really God? What does the Bible say?
Simply - Yes!
There are hundreds of verses and passages in the Bible that either directly, or indirectly, refer to the deity of Jesus (Jesus being God).
There are many more than we can possibly put on this page. Please see the page Is Jesus God? which will provide much insight as you study this topic. As you read it we strongly urge you to have a Bible at hand so that you can look up the verses and read them in context.
People throughout history have quoted selected verses from the Bible and use them to make opposing arguments, that Jesus is not God. In theory you can choose isolated verses to make a case for just about any belief, even if the Bible is actually stating the contrary. Crusaders in the middle ages used the Bible to justify the persecution of Moslems and Jews. Slave traders used the Bible to defend slavery. Don't be fooled or misguided; read and interpret selected passages of Scripture in context of the whole Bible . Let the Bible speak for itself!
How is Christianity different from other faiths and beliefs?
Strange as it may sound, Christianity is not a religion as most would understand the meaning of the word, rather it is a relationship. A personal, one-on-one relationship with the living God.
We cannot, in the space available, begin to compare all the religions and belief systems out there. What we can do is give you some pointers as you seek God, highlight some of the tenets of the Christian faith and give you some pointers in your faith journey.
Christians are often accused of being arrogant when it comes to their faith, their conviction that there is only one way to God. It is unfortunate that their certainty is interpreted as arrogance (refer "What happens when I accept Jesus as my Saviour?" above). Conversely, an atheist would, with equal conviction state that there is no God. A born-again Christian simply argues that an atheist has not encountered or experienced God and an atheist's conviction or belief in no way invalidates the testimony of an individual's personal encounter with God.
It is important to remember that not all people who call themselves Christians are. Jesus refers to them as wolves in sheep's clothing. For instance, some European countries would consider themselves to be a 'Christian nation', yet it is estimated that less than five percent of the population have actually accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. As we note in some of our studies; no one was ever born a Christian. Every [true] Christian who ever lived became one as a result of conversion [being born again] as they place their faith and trust in Jesus. The fact that both your parents may be believers [Christians] does not make you one.
The following are some, not all, of the identifying characteristics and beliefs of the Christian faith:
1. God is not a remote and insensitive being. God invites us to have a personal [two-way] relationship with him. Even for Christians who know this to be true, it is beyond comprehension. It begs the questions, "Why would a completely holy, omnipotent God, Creator of the whole universe, care about a seemingly insignificant, sinful individual like me?"
2. Just being good doesn't cut it. God's complete holiness and purity does not allow sin to come into his presence. A myriad of good deeds cannot cover up a few sins regardless of how small they may be. Before a perfectly holy God sin is sin and size is irrelevant.
3. God's righteousness demands that sin must be punished and, whether we agree with him or not, God has determined that the punishment for sin is death. Much as we don't like the idea, who are we to argue with or try and convince God that he is wrong?
4. God has dictated that the only ransom for sin is the blood sacrifice of one who is without any sin. Even if you were able to find a perfect, sinless individual who was willing to offer himself as a sacrifice for your sin (an impossibility), what about everyone else? A seemingly hopeless situation.
5. One of the attributes of God's holiness is his perfect love. It is this perfect love that reaches out to us, his created beings. God recognized that he himself is the only being without sin, and because of his love for us came to earth in the human form of his Son, Jesus Christ, to offer back to himself an adequate, perfect sacrifice. Unfathomable you say? You're quite right! It's called grace. A good acronym is God's Riches At Christ's Expense.
6. God looks at the heart. He knows our every thought and action. If we take a proud and arrogant attitude towards God, "I can manage quite well enough without him, thank you.", what hope do we have that He will reach out to us. On the other hand, if God sees a searching, needy heart He will respond in love and give us the faith we need to believe.
7. Because God is Spirit He communicates with us through his Spirit. When we acknowledge our sinful and needy condition and receive the gift of his sacrifice, God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, comes and indwells us. God's Spirit clings to our spirit and thus the personal relationship is established.
8. God communicates with us through his Word, the Bible. Before we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit the words in the Bible can seem to be meaningless and irrelevant. Imagine it being akin to the test for colour-blindness - if you are colour-blind all you see is a jumbled mess of dots. With good vision you can clearly see what is written. So it is when our "spiritual eyes" are opened to what God has written in the Bible. It comes alive and he speaks directly to us.
9. God makes us a promise that after we receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour, even though we may continue to stumble and fall (sin), he will never leave us nor forsake us. We are guaranteed eternal life with God in Heaven when we [physically] die.
10. Finally there are three sacraments [ordinances] that followers of Jesus are asked to participate in; Baptism - a public declaration of our faith, Communion - the taking of bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus sacrifice (often referred to as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist) and tithing - bringing both offerings of time and money, and as the Apostle Paul taught, not under a sense of compulsion but with a cheerful and willing spirit.
What is the "Trinity"? Is it in the Bible?
The word Trinity never appears in the Bible - anywhere; that it endeavours to describe the mystery of a "triune God" is another matter. You don't need to call something by name in order for it to be what it is. So it is with the Trinity.
That the doctrine of the Trinity is beyond human understanding is all too obvious. Nevertheless Christians make the incredible claim that God is in three persons, yet God is one. This is not only a perplexing statement for Muslims and Jews who also believe in a monotheistic God, many Christians have difficulty making sense of it.
Let's consider water as an analogy. When water is cooled to below zero degrees Celsius it becomes solid and we call it ice. The properties of ice are very different from the properties of water, yet the chemical formula for ice is H2O, exactly the same as is for water. If we take water and heat it up to 100 degrees Celsius it turns to steam, which is a gas. Obviously, the properties of steam are very different from the properties of water and also very different from the properties of ice. And yet the chemical formula steam is H2O. Isn't it strange, when we think about it, ice, steam and water are all very distinct, but are essentially the same? Perhaps they will help us to understand by analogy that there is one essential God who is expressed in Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Examining our actions towards and with a triune God may help us to accept, if not to understand, the principle of the Trinity. We talk to God, we listen to the Holy Spirit and we are called to be [act and serve] like Jesus Christ.
[a] Christ is the English term for the Greek Χριστός (Khristós) meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Māšîaḥ), usually transliterated into English as Messiah. The word is often misunderstood to be the surname of Jesus due to the numerous mentions of Jesus Christ in the Christian Bible. The word is in fact used as a title, hence its common reciprocal use Christ Jesus, meaning "Jesus The Anointed One", or "Jesus The Messiah". Followers of Jesus became known as Christians because they believed that Jesus was the Christ, or Messiah, prophesied about in the Tanakh (which Christians term the Old Testament). The majority of Jews reject this claim and are still waiting for Christ to come (see Jewish Messiah). Most Christians now wait for the Second Coming of Christ when they believe he will fulfil the rest of the Messianic prophecy. From Wikipedia.