“You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” — 2 Corinthians 8:9
It is possible to be close to Christ, yet so far from the life He offers. This was true even among His original 12 apostles. Even in that inner circle there was one, probably the most trusted member of the group (for he kept the money), who never really had the kind of personal connection with Christ that we are talking about.
Judas knew a lot about Jesus. He knew the Teacher’s habits well enough to lead Jesus’ enemies to a garden meeting place. He knew Christ well enough to betray Him with a kiss of greeting. But Judas didn’t know Jesus as his Savior and Lord. Trusted though he was, the “keeper of the money” never had the kind of personal, Christ-centered relationship with God that is available to us today.
Knowing Christ died—that’s history.
Believing He died for me—that’s salvation.
A personal relationship with God begins with an event Jesus called a new birth (John 3:3). When we are born spiritually into God’s family we become His children and members of His spiritual kingdom.
To begin this personal relationship, take these steps:
Admit your need. We come into the world physically alive but spiritually dead—missing out on the quality of life for which God made us. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10), and “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Realize what God has done for you. God loved us enough to send His own Son into the world to rescue us from the devastating effects of our sin (John 1:1-14; 3:16). Jesus died in our place, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice. With one sacrifice, He paid for the least—and the worst—of our sins.
Personally believe and receive God’s gift. No one is saved by trying to be good. We are saved by trusting in Christ. The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The actual words we say to God to receive this gift may vary. What is important is that we believe Him enough to be able to say something similar to the following:
God, I know I have sinned against You. I believe that Jesus is Your Son, that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins, and that He rose from the dead to prove it. Now I accept Your offer of full forgiveness and eternal life. I accept Jesus as Your gift for my salvation.
If this is the honest expression of your heart, you have entered into a personal relationship with God! What better time to make it personal than today!