This gift offer is the absolute best gift anyone could ever be offered. Have you ever been offered a great gift and decided not to accept it? Not many people would refuse but, unfortunately, that is exactly what many people do with this gift offer -- they turn it down.
How about you? What will you do? Please read on...
The best gifts are ones with a personal touch and God has prepared just such a gift for each and everyone. One of the best known verses in the Bible sums up nicely the Gift that God has made available to anyone willing to receive it.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
The fact that God loves us and offers us the gift of eternal life is nice but why is the offer even necessary? Why don't we already have eternal life if God loves us? And what does it mean to "believe" in His one and only Son, Jesus Christ?
The short answer to our problem is that we are all sinners. In thought, word, and deed we have all committed acts that God says are wrong. We don't have to go far through the Ten Commandments to find one that we have broken. How about "You shall not steal" or "You shall not bear false witness" (also known as lying)? Clearly everyone fails to keep just these two commandments without even considering the other eight. The Bible tells us plainly...
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23
Since God is holy (perfectly good) and we are not, sin causes separation between God and us.
This separation between God and people because of sin has not always been the case. Mankind was originally created in the image of God, both male and female. This means that God placed in us His attributes including His perfect holiness -- we were not sinners in the beginning. However, being created in God's image also means that we were created to be moral beings. Everyone has the ability to choose to love or hate, obey or disobey, forgive or seek revenge, and the list goes on. This is essential because loving or obeying someone means nothing if you don't have the ability to choose NOT to love or obey them. Love or obedience without a choice is not love or obedience at all. God built the ability to choose into us and we choose to sin by disobeying God and there is a severe penalty for sinners...
For the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23
and the penalty is more than just physical death -- there is a second, eternal death.
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars*, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8
(*if you've told a lie, you made the list)
We live in a world that is clearly broke. There is pain, suffering, death, and ultimately hell to pay all as a direct result of choosing to disobey God by sinning.
God in His holiness has many attributes that He perfectly expresses in everything He does. Included in those attributes are God's perfect justice and His perfect love. Based on God's justice, we stand condemned because we are sinners. We find in Romans 6:23 that the wages (or payment) for sin is death. On the other hand, how can a loving God condemn us to an eternity in Hell separated from Himself? God's solution satisfies both His justice and love for us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
God stepped out of Heaven in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ and took our penalty (death) upon Himself because of His love for us. Why did God have to do this Himself through His Son, Jesus? No one else qualifies to die in our place. Our substitute needed to be perfect; otherwise our substitute would be a sinner under the same condemnation we are facing.
God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
And what proof is there that Jesus was the perfect substitute, dying in your place for your sins? After He was crucified on the cross, He rose from the dead.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, I Corinthians 15:3,4
One of the greatest proofs of Jesus' resurrection is the fact that most of His disciples died defending their faith in Jesus. Would you be willing to die for something you knew was a lie? Because of Christ's death for our sins and His resurrection, it is now possible for our relationship to God to be restored through the forgiveness of our sins.
All the prophets testify about Him (Jesus) that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name. Acts 10:43
So God has satisfied both His justice (Christ's death as the penalty for our sins) and His love by giving us a second chance to spend eternity with Him.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
So now we see God's gift offer -- forgiveness of sins and eternal life through Jesus Christ!
How can forgiveness of sins and eternal life be yours? The first thing to understand is that you can never deserve or earn forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life -- our own efforts can only earn us condemnation and death because of our sins. The answer to receiving forgiveness of sins is found above in Acts 10:43 and in the following verses:
For it is by grace (God's undeserved favor) you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8,9
Gifts are not earned, they are either received or rejected. Forgiveness of sins and eternal life is available to you only by placing your faith (believing) in the finished work of Jesus Christ -- His death and resurrection which He completed on your behalf. Salvation (forgiveness of sins and eternal life) is only through God's grace through faith alone - not by good things we do.
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved... Acts 16:31
"Believe in the Lord Jesus," sounds simple? It is simple and, yet, also difficult. A faith that saves is more than just having knowledge about Jesus Christ. Faith that involves only knowledge can even be found in demons in James 2:19. This Bible verse tells us that even demons have a form of belief but their belief only makes them shudder; it doesn't save them. What is the difference between genuine faith and false faith?
Genuine faith requires repentance which is turning from away from sin and turning to God. Repentance first involves an understanding of our bankrupt, sinful condition and the awful cost of our sins to God -- sending His one and only Son to die in our place. Do you have a genuine grief over your sin and its terrible cost? If so, that leads to a desire to turn from sin and turn to God seeking His mercy and forgiveness that is only available through Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us in these verses that repentance is necessary:
Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you no, but, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:2,3
In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10
We also read in the book of Acts:
Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; Acts 3:19
Again, Jesus Christ himself tells everyone to repent:
Repent and believe the gospel... Mark 1:15
Do you think you're basically a pretty good person and this repentance business is only for seriously bad sinners? In the end, the only judgment that matters is God's. Would God find you innocent or guilty of lying or stealing among many other sins? If you still think you are good enough to go to Heaven, think carefully about whether that is true.
This is why believing is simple and yet difficult. It is simple in the sense that Christ has done the work for us and difficult because of our sinful pride. No one likes to admit they are wrong and seek forgiveness especially when it involves the very essence of who we are. By our nature we are sinners who desperately need forgiveness.
Genuine faith involves repenting (turning from sin to God); it involves the mind, emotions, and will as we place our faith (belief) in Jesus Christ...
"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved..." Acts 16:31
Now the decision is yours, God is offering a gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Will you accept or reject the God's gift offer? Think carefully! You will never make a more important decision in your life. Speaking of life, we have no idea whether we will be alive tomorrow, next week, or two minutes from now. This life is our only chance to accept God's offer. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 9:27 that it is appointed for everyone to die once and after this comes judgment. "Not guilty" is a verdict we can all live with -- forever in the presence of God!
Ready to place your faith in Christ? If so, here is a short prayer for you to follow but, please understand saying a prayer doesn't save you, Jesus Christ saves you. Telling God what we are doing is of far more benefit to us than God. God knows your heart and, if your faith in Jesus Christ is genuine, your sins are forgiven before you say the first word of this prayer:
"Dear God, I know I'm a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe Christ died for me and rose from the grave. I trust Jesus Christ alone as my Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have. In Jesus' name, Amen."
Did you place your faith in Christ? If so, welcome to the family of God! It says in the book of John you become God's child.
"But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name..," John 1:12
The angels in Heaven are rejoicing over you right now (Luke 15:10) -- a party in your honor as a new child of God.
What do you do now? Tell someone about your decision. Tell us so we can celebrate with you! Our contact information is at the bottom of this page.
Placing your faith in Jesus Christ is just the beginning. You can grow in the faith by reading the Bible, praying, and attending a local church where the Bible is taught as God's Word. All these activities will help you to begin growing spiritually. You will begin to better know and understand who God is and He will equip you to do good works (Ephesians 2:10) which brings glory to God and blesses people. If we can be of assistance in any of these areas, please use a contact option below to let us know.
One last thing, your salvation and eternity with Jesus is secure. God does not give a gift only to take it away at a later date. Your good works could not save you in the first place and neither will they keep you saved. Salvation is all of God and nothing is able to separate you from the love of God.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38
God bless and see you in eternity!