I believe there is a God. Not only do I believe that there is …..“A” ….God, But I’m totally convinced that God is the exact One which is described in the ancient writings of the New Testament which have been studied and scrutinized for over 1900 years.
Finding the God of the bible is a weird endeavor – it’s not about facts and figures because it’s actually about having a Relationship with God. Because it’s a person we’re dealing with, that means simply studying it like a scientist, or thinking about it like a philosopher doesn’t get you there.
Hers is a Quick Summary:
First off, becoming a disciple of Jesus is simply about placing our faith and trust in Him as our only means of salvation. A criminal was executed on the cross next to Jesus, and He simply said “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom”, and that was enough to save Him. True belief in God, and then placing our faith in Jesus, is all that is needed.
Here is a summary of the process of having a relationship with God.
- Acknowledge that God might exist, and maybe ask Him to help you have faith.
- Follow Jesus by committing to implementing His way into your life, getting to know Who He is, what His ways are, and what it means to be His disciple (Disciple means that He is your teacher).
- Eventually you’ll believe. Maybe not right away, but as you’re following Jesus, there will be a time when you simply believe that He was who He claimed to be, and you’ll know in your heart it’s real. Realizing that God came in the flesh, died, and rose again, causes us all to lean in carefully to obey Him.
- Realize you’re a sinner, repent, & turn from your sin. We all need to realize that like every person ever, we’re guilty of breaking God’s law and we need Jesus to pay our penalty for breaking that Law. If we truly believe Jesus, we will repent of our disobedience and start a journey to live a life that obeys Jesus commands. Our salvation isn’t dependent on our ability not to sin, it’s dependent on our faith in Jesus because He did the work needed to save us. But out of our belief in Jesus, we need to turn from our sin and try to live like Jesus did.
- Place your faith in Jesus’ work on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. We had a fine to pay, but He came along and paid it for us! All we need to do is trust and believe in Him and we receive eternal life!
- Receive Eternal Life and the Holy Spirit. Jesus says that we experience a rebirth, with new desires, new purpose, and a new life. God says that every believer recieves an “advocate” which is God’s spirit, living inside us. The Holy Spirit encourages us, convicts us, empowers us, and allows us to be full of God’s goodness.
- Obey to become Holy & work at the great commission. Jesus said to “seek first the kingdom of Heaven, and living righteously, and everything else will be added unto you” Matthew 16:33. This command means we need to work at sharing the Gospel as well as living at living a Holy life.
HOW TO FIND THE GOD OF THE BIBLE:
1 – Acknowledge and Reach out:
So what do you do to have a relationship with someone? Well first off, acknowledging each other is a pretty Good start.
Acknowledging that there might be a an unseen, Creator-God, means that you’ll need to “reach out” to Him. Reaching out to the God of the universe is a little bit like what you might imagine a ghost movie might show as someone talks to a Ghost in a house; but this is on a much more personal and monumental scale.
Reaching out to God means you actually speak out loud to Him. He claims to be listening, and He claimed He’s eagerly waiting for you to seek Him out, and reach out to Him; so that’s what you must do. In the quietness of your bedroom, car, or something – you “REACH OUT” to God and tell Him something like “God, if you’re real…. I’d really like to know…. will you please show yourself to me? I’m reaching out in faith so show Me what to do. Speak to Me, and I’ll have just enough faith to reach out a bit…. and follow you”..
Reaching out to God like that, is kind of like on Indiana Jones and the temple of Doom – where there is a seemingly IMPASSIBLE chasm…… but unknown to us, there is an INVISIBLE BRIDGE spanning the chasm.
This invisible bridge is one you could only see if you sought it out, and took a step in faith. Just like what Indiana Jones does, we must step out and trust that there’s something there. After we step out and land on the bridge, we’ll be able to confidently walk across it in the future; But until we’ve discovered it, our minds are left in despair of the chasm. The bottom line is that starting a relationship with God starts with acknowledging Him with just a little faith – and reaching out to Him.
Faith is just like that – the first step to having a relationship with God is actually reaching out to Him and having enough faith to speak to Him and ask for His help…..You start with acknowledging that He might exist….
So the God of the bible can’t simply be found through the scientific method – because He is a PERSON. Just like a person that you’re trying to get to know, the next step in the relationship is to get to know each other. “Getting to know God” is done by “following Jesus”.
2 Follow Jesus
God has been around forever, and He’s been interacting with Humanity for thousands of years, but it all came to a head when God came down to earth as the person of Jesus. The ancient documents of the Bible are documents that’ve been rigorously scrutinized and are worthy of your engagement. After reaching out to God, you’ll have to get to know Him, His story, His character, How He thinks, His standards and His ways.
When Jesus was on earth, He told filthy sinners, cheaters, prostitutes and others to “stand up, and follow Him” in order to start the process of placing their faith and trust in Him. Jesus showed us that faith begins with saying “Yes” to Him, deciding that you’ll submit your ways to His ways in all things. That means that we decide to “install” Jesus’ way into our life by obeying His commands. His commands were so much more than a list of rules, they were a way of believing, living, and a relationship which require us to know who He is and to work at implementing His way into our life. His way is to Love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Following Jesus often means to get to know Him and His way through His word and His disciples. The word is the Bible, and a good bible believing Church is a great place to find other disciples to do life with. Getting to know Jesus’ way is done by knowing the testimony or account of His life, which is done by learning about Him in the New Testament.
Reading through the Bible with someone Who knows Him, is the most helpful step in having a relationship with the God of the universe. The “testament” or testimony of who God is can be found in the Bible. The “Old Testament” is the story of the God creating and then about a group of people God chose to interact with and call “His people”, known as the Israelites. While the “New Testament” is all about Jesus. The Old Testament predicted the coming of a “Messiah” that would reconcile people to God, and Jesus was the fulfillment of that prophecy.
If you acknowledge God, reach out to Him, and then Follow Him as I described above, I promise that you will eventually find yourself believing that Jesus was who He claimed to be. But let me pause right there for a moment, and talk about a glaring issue.
WHY ALL THIS SCREWING AROUND WITH FAITH?
If you’re like Me, I immediately ask “why should I have to reach out to God like a stupid make-believe Ghost? If He’s so loving, powerful, and good – why doesn’t He just show Himself and give Me a definite sign? Why do we need all this “screwing around with faith?”
Here are two thoughts about this valid question:
The first reason why God doesn’t just show himself to us in physical form is because – drum roll please………..He’s done that already. He showed Himself multiple times throughout history; to Adam and Eve and the ancients, to Abraham, Moses, and the entire nation of Israel, and then through the prophets and eventually with Jesus. God has intervened plenty of times in the past, but Us seeing Him, hasn’t lead to the submission and obedience that you’d imagine. Consider that the people of Israel were witness to some of the craziest miracles God’s ever done, and they still struggled with obedience, idolatry, and sin; over and over and over again. The whole story in the old testament shows how God set aside and chose a particular nation of people to be His very own , yet they went through cycle after cycle of Rebellion, punishment, repentance, and eventual restoration. This happened over and over again. It’s crazy that the people who witnessed God’s miraculous wonders struggled so much to love and obey God.
So when you think to yourself “why doesn’t God just show Himself and make it much easier for us to believe?”, remember that He’s done that multiple times, which is what the Bible testifies about. He DID show Himself, we read about that in the Bible.
The second point needs a quick nuance. We now see that God HAS interacted and plainly revealed Himself to humanity, with mixed results. But couldn’t God just be constantly present in the physical form, sprinkling in displays of His omnipotence and omniscience so we’d be trembling to obey?
If God were to come and eradicate the need for trust, faith, and reliance; we would simply be slaves to God. God says that He wants to have a relationship with us that’s marked by LOVE, and LOVE is only LOVE, when it’s given freely rather than coerced or commanded.
In order to stay consistent with His character and nature of being All-Good, and Holy, He’s done things a certain way which we can only slightly comprehend. He’s done exactly whats necessary to bring Him glory, which involves choice. Rather than make us all His perfect subjects, His plan has included Sin, which is very difficult to understand if you don’t consider that love is only love when there’s an opportunity to turn away and choose otherwise. It’s a complex issue to understand, but God doesn’t just hover in our bedrooms and cars with a laser cannon to fear us into submission, because that wouldn’t cultivate love!
Now to summarize where we are:
To have a relationship with God we must acknowledge He might exist, reach out to Him, then start to follow Him by learning about and implementing “His Way” into our lives which is found in the Bible.
3 – Believe
As your following Jesus, and reading through the scriptures, you’re going to see that God exists, He made everything good and perfect but man disobeyed His goodness which introduced death and what’s known as “the curse”. This curse was what God struck people with after they disobeyed the commandment not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. When Adam and Eve ate it, they betrayed God, and became rebels of Him; God’s punishment was that we would toil throughout the earth having to scratch out our existence while trying to be reconciled to God.
God laid out a perfect moral law, and we break that law by sinning. God said that the wages of sin, is DEATH. Therefore, Adam and Eve’s sin carried with it the penalty of death and damnation. In order to reconcile Adam and Eve to Himself, God actually sacrificed an animal right away, and then used the skin to cover them. This was the first sin, and the first atonement, which is a theme throughout God’s word and Man’s entire existence. When we break God’s rules, we become guilty; the punishment is damnation and death, God’s nation of Israel would use a complex system of animal sacrifice to atone for their sins, and eventually Jesus would be sacrificed to atone for all of humanities’ sin.
So we’ve all got this problem with sin because we break God’s law. Sin is simply breaking God’s moral law which is primarily found in the ten commandments. All of us break these laws often throughout the day, and we’re all guilty. If you don’t believe me, read these questions that show if you’ve ever disobeyed God’s law:
- Have you always obeyed your parents?
- Have you always loved God?
- Have you ever lied?
- Jesus said hating someone is like murdering them in your heart, have you ever hated someone?
- Have you ever been greedy?
- Have you ever stolen anything?
- Jesus said that if we have lust for a person in our heart, it’s the same as if we committed adultery with Her; Have you ever lusted after someone?
- Do you covet, or desire anything other than what you’ve been blessed with?
- Do you ever use God’s name as a swear word?
By now, we all should realize that we have each PERSONALLY broken these laws. The biggest problem, is that we can’t wash these sins away simply by saying “I’m a good person, nobody’s perfect”. Because God is HOLY, perfect, and just, that means We have PERSONAL judgements upon us. Would a good judge allow a person who is guilty of committing murder to go free? Would a good judge refuse to hold a thief accountable for their crimes? NO! A good judge would render a good and just ruling, otherwise the judge would be corrupt. Our God is so perfect, good, and Holy, that He holds us accountable for every single sin we’ve ever committed; We have a HUGE rap sheet that condemns us.
Sound a little extreme? Well it is! Think of how extreme the fall of Adam is when you consider that God provided two trees – the prohibited one called the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, then the one they where permitted to eat called “the tree of eternal life”.God made us His special creations, made us in His image, gave us EVERYTHING we would ever need to live in perfection, and we slapped Him in the face and rebelled. Now, each of us comes out of the womb chock-full-o-sin. We’re greedy, mean, intolerant, banshees even when we’re toddlers. Anyone with a toddler knows that sin exists.
4 – Realize you’ve broken God’s law, and repent.
So we’re guilty, but now what? We carry a judgement that must be paid: Death. HERES THE GOOD NEWS. Jesus paid your fine by dying on the cross in the manner that the scriptures predicted! Jesus takes our punishment and says we can go free, so long as we believe in Him, and place our trust in His work on the cross for salvation.
Here’s an interesting concept; Jesus paid our fine, which is the ONLY thing that clears our guilt. Our good works, not matter how sincere or pious, do NOTHING to clear our guilt, only Jesus’ work on the cross does that. Jesus clearly said that it is our faith in Him that saves us, and that our works do not make us go to heaven. Nothing we can do can get us to heaven, only submitting and placing our trust in Jesus and His work on the cross will do that.
5 – Place your faith and trust in Jesus’ work on the cross for salvation
You see, Jesus is like a parachute. Imagine you’re flying on a plane and you find out that the plane is going to crash, and someone offers you a parachute. Simply acknowledging that the parachute will save you doesn’t help, you need to put the parachute on, in order to be saved when the plane crashes.
The crash is our death and judgement day. Anyone caught without Jesus as their parachute, will find themselves in eternal torment, death, and in a lake of fire.
What is it that causes you to put on your parachute? It is the FEAR OF GOD. That’s what the fear of God is, knowing that He did create everything, He makes the rules, and we’ve broken them. We’ll have to face our creator one day, and give an account for everything we’ve ever done; even if we trust in Jesus. The difference is that our names will be written in the “book of life”, where the atoned, justified, and reconciled names are written.
When we place our faith in Christ, and trust Him, our parachute is on and we are justified, or reconciled with God. But now that we’ve been saved, should we keep on disobeying God’s rules? NO! But are we truly able to live in a manner which doesn’t break God’s law? NO! What then must we do?
The answer is to REPENT and be transformed. We need to Repent from our sin, and turn to God and trust in Jesus’ work on the cross for salvation. When we do this, we are no longer rebels from God but are friends of God. Even when we break the rules now, we’re still in the family. But we can’t keep sinning, Anyone who truly believes that God is going to judge them one day, will fear being cross with Him, and will be UNABLE to continue to keep on sinning deliberately. In other words, our desires and attitudes must be changed for us.
6 – Receive eternal life and the Holy Spirit
Because God knows we need His help, He’s given us His word and the Holy Spirit to help develop new desires, thoughts, and attitudes. The Holy Spirit comes and lives inside of us when we believe, to guide us in our relationship, convict us of sin (conscience), and to empower us to do good works. In other words, we’re not in this alone! The Holy Spirit is like an anti-virus which will start to convict us of our bad thoughts, behaviors and attitudes.
7 – Seek first God’s kingdom and Living a Transformed, Holy, Life
This is all about living a life that’s “fragrant”, good, and holy while helping others hear the good news about Jesus! Share the good news in a winsome manner, and let your life be a light that shines in an uplifting, honoring manner!
So heres the conclusion:
- There is a God.
- He built us all for relationship with Him (and others).
- We are born estranged to Him, under the curse of death and damnation because of the fall of Adam and Eve.
- The first step to knowing Him is acknowledging that He might exist and reaching out to Him because He is a PERSON.
- Once you reach out, Jesus tells us to Follow Him, which means to start to get to know Him by digging into His person, story, character, and promises which are testified about in the documents of the old and new testament. Not only that, but spending time in a bible believing Church will do amazing things for your walk.
- Once you follow, you’ll eventually have a moment when you believe. You’ll then find yourself in a position where you want to repent of your own sin, which is condemning you to Hell.
- Jesus justifies you the moment you believe and trust in Him. You then receive the free gift of eternal life.
- The moment your faith and trust is in Him, God gives the gift of the “counselor” or Holy Spirit; which then lives inside you and will convict you of sin, give you power to do His will, and comfort you.
Here are the most top level commands of God:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul and Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and His righteousness, then everything else will be added unto you.”
This is the love of God, that we should obey His commandments; and they are not burdensome.
My hope is that this helps people find their way to God, to understand how to be reconciled with Him, and helps my family have a permanent testament to what I believe.