Made to know a father
We were made to be children of a loving father. Unfortunately, many never
had that experience growing up in a human family, instead knowing
rejection or at best tolerance. But God gave us families so that we might
yearn for the Father-relationship He wants to have with each of us.
Separated by sin
The reason we don't have an automatic relationship with God as Father is
because of our sin. We are separated by an infinite gulf from a perfectly
holy and righteous God, so He seems like a stranger, perhaps even like an enemy.
Although His children by creation, like the Biblical prodigal son (Luke
15), we have
all wandered far from God to a far country, seeking to feed our souls with
the things the world says will satisfy. But, also like that wandering son,
we have found that the things the world offers don't satisfy the soul.
Like any loving father...
But God, like any loving father, wasn't willing to allow this chasm to
separate Him from His created beings. He knew that we could never wash
ourselves clean from the stain of sin, so He did an unbelievable thing. He
sent His Son to become one of us, taking on the body of a man, yet
without sin - the God-man, Jesus Christ. Although it is
impossible for us to completely comprehend, Jesus was one person with two
natures, fully God yet fully man.
Like no other...
From the beginning, He was revealed as being unique both in His coming and
His person. In fact, 700 years before He was born, the prophet Isaiah
predicted His coming. Noting that all of us have wandered like sheep,
astray and turned to our own way - like the prodigal son - Isaiah
says "But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him."
A sacrificial substitute
This prediction, along with many others, was fulfilled when Jesus was
crucified on a Roman cross. Jesus' death was entirely unique in the
history of the world. As the sinless Son of God, He took on Himself in His
death all the sin of the world. God's wrath against all ungodliness was
satisfied in His death. He arose 3 days later to prove His victory over
sin and death and ascended to His Father in heaven.
Not the end of the story...
Great, you may say, sin is paid for and I'm home free! No, that's
not how the story ends. His death doesn't automatically turn us from being
rebels to being His loving children. Like a convict facing death row but
offered a pardon, we must each, individually, accept the pardon and in the
process agree to our guilt. The Bible says we are saved by grace
through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace means God's gift to us that we
didn't deserve and could never earn - forgiveness and cleansing from sin.
Faith is your grasping God's gracious gift by believing that Jesus' death
was in payment for your personal sins, a gift you can never receive any
So simple, but so difficult...
If this sounds simple, it's because it is! But it is difficult for at
least two reasons. Many people simply will not accept the fact that they
are in debt to God. Like the convict, they will not agree to their sin, so
have no basis for accepting pardon. Many, many others weigh the positive
things they have done, look around them at people with greater sin and
conclude they are good enough to earn God's favor on their own. To switch
metaphors, they are like a drowning man facing an oncoming hurricane, clinging to a
small piece of wood, steadfastly determined to swim to safety on his own.
Clinging for dear life...
The only ones who find their forgiveness in Jesus Christ are those that
recognize the desperate condition they are in and grab hold of the life
preserver that is Jesus Himself. Acknowledging their guilt before God,
they claim His gracious offer of forgiveness and ask Jesus to come into
their lives and make them what they ought to be.
The Great Exchange
When sinners come to God with that heart attitude, God does an absolutely
incredible thing. In the greatest exchange in all history, He not only
washes our hearts clean from all sin, He credits us with the very
righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ. When He looks at us, He sees His
Son Whom He loves dearly, and loves us with equal intensity. That is the
Father-love you have always wanted, what you were made to experience.
What are you waiting for?
The prodigal son, when his resources were gone and he realized both his
total poverty and the riches of his father, came to
himself. Preparing a speech of repentance, he made his way home, hoping
against hope that his father would at least allow him to become a hired
servant. But, to his astonishment, his father was watching and waiting for
him with open arms and welcomed him as a son. This is a beautiful picture
of God who waits with open arms for each of us to recognize our 'lostness'
and come to Him. Forgiveness has already been won by Jesus on the cross -
a gift waiting to be claimed!
God, like the father in the story, is not looking for flowery speeches,
just a heart attitude of repentance and trust. If you recognize your
sinful condition before a holy God and also believe that Jesus died for
your sins, God will make the great exchange mentioned above and place His
Holy Spirit within you, making you His child forever. You will then begin
the greatest experience of your life, learning all it means to be loved by
a gracious, generous Father - the King of the universe!
No magic words...
There are no magic words that earn God's favor - He is just looking for
the heart attitude mentioned above. But if you struggle for the words to
express your heart, here is a short prayer that emphasizes the way you
must come to God to claim eternal life
I realize my sins have separated me from you and that I cannot make myself
good enough to earn your favor. But I understand that you loved me so much
you sent your Son Jesus to die for me. I repent of my sins and trust Him right now for
forgiveness, and ask that He come into my heart and make me the kind of
person you want me to be. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Welcome to the family!
If that prayer represents your heart attitude, God has made you His own
child. Welcome to the family of God! You are now ready to live the life
for which you were made.
Now that you belong to God, He will begin to work in your life by His
Spirit, to make you like Christ. Only He can do that, but you have a
responsibility as well. Like any relationship, your relationship with God
depends on communications. He has written you a love letter - the Bible -
and since the author is the same Holy Spirit that is living in you, it
will come alive as you expectantly read it and talk back to God in prayer.
To help you see God's Word as a love letter and understand more of the
dimensions of God's love and His plan for you, go