The problem of how we could possibly be reconciled with a God who hates evil is the greatest problem of history. Before we can see God in Heaven, something must radically change. This calls for no less than the greatest solution ever devised.
Here is what we need to know:
God made human beings with personal and relational qualities like His own (Genesis 1:26) and desired to have a delightful relationship with them. But something went terribly wrong. When Adam and Eve chose to follow Satan’s advice in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), sin poisoned the world and now we are all born with the desire to do things our own way, not God’s.
Our sins against a good and holy God have distanced us from Him (see Isaiah 59:2). God “cannot tolerate wrongdoing” (Habakkuk 1:13). Through sin we forfeit a relationship with God, and along with it our happiness. The result of all this is death. Spiritual death is separation from God in a very real place called Hell. Physical death marks the end of our opportunity to enter into a relationship with God and avoid eternal condemnation (Hebrews 9:27).
There is absolutely nothing we can do to restore ourselves to God. He is holy, we are not. In fact, He says even our good deeds are like filthy rags (see Isaiah 64:6). But God loved us so much He sent us His Son Jesus, fully God and fully man, to deliver us from death and give us life (John 3:16). "God demonstrates His own love toward us…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Jesus went to the cross to pay the price for our sins. He did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. When Jesus died for us, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The Greek word translated “it is finished” was written across certificates of debt when they were canceled. It meant “paid in full.” Jesus then rose from the grave, conquering sin and death (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
God’s greatest gift is a restored relationship with Himself, delivering us from Hell and granting us entry into Heaven (John 3:36). This gift depends not on our merit but solely on Christ’s work of grace for us on the cross (see Titus 3:5). He is the one and only way to God. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
To be right with God, we must admit our sinful hearts and actions, and ask God’s forgiveness. If we do, He graciously promises full forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Then we are to affirm to others that the resurrected Jesus is our Lord.
The life we long for is freely offered to us in Christ. We can believe His promise and call on Him to save us, humbly accepting His gift of eternal life: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). God’s Holy Spirit indwells us and helps us obey Him (see 2 Timothy 1:14).
The gospel is called the “good news of happiness” (Isaiah 52:7). Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). God offers us in Christ the life and happiness we crave and He wants us to enjoy forever. Here’s a prayer that may help you affirm your faith in Jesus. There’s no magic in just saying the words, but they may help you genuinely express to God what’s in your heart:
God, I believe you sent your Son Jesus to die on the cross to pay the price for all my sins. I believe Jesus conquered sin and death through His resurrection from the dead. To the degree I find any of this difficult to believe, I ask that you work in my heart and mind to overcome my unbelief. Help me to trust what the Bible says—that you, Jesus, are the God-man who came to rescue me from sin and death and to restore me to the Father.
I am sorry for and want to repent of my sins, including my self-centeredness. I confess my sins, realizing I’m not yet aware of all of them, but I ask you to make me more aware. With your strength I want to turn away from doing wrong, and give up every part of my life that doesn’t please you—not just my actions but my attitudes. I want to experience the joy of being a new person and living a new life. I surrender myself to you.
I gratefully receive your forgiveness and ask you to be my Savior and Lord and King. Please come to indwell me and empower me to live a new life. Fill me with your love. Help me to learn from your Word and your followers how to live as a transformed person who loves and forgives others as you love and forgive me. Thank you.
I ask all these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Once you’ve accepted Christ as your Savior, one of the most important things you need to do is become part of a family of Christians called a church. A good church will teach God’s Word and provide love, help, and support. If you have further questions about Jesus, you can find answers there. Seek out people who know God’s Word and can help you grow in your relationship with Jesus! Read the Bible, pray, share your faith, and gather regularly with God’s people. “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
See also: Can You Know You’re Going to Heaven? and Can EPM Recommend Any Churches Near Me?
Photo by Hugues de BUYER-MIMEURE on Unsplash
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.