How can I become a Christian?
How can a person grow as a Christian?
How will you respond to Jesus?
John’s record leaves no question as to who Jesus really is. He is God! (See ch1, v1 and v14.) Neither does it leave any doubt as to why he came. Jesus said, ‘I came that they may have life and have it abundantly’ (ch10 v10).
This isn’t just a nice biography about someone who lived 2000 years ago. These truths are dynamite! How you respond to them will have an eternal impact. You must get it right.
The big problem
However, not all truths are easy to swallow. One of the hardest is that you have a big problem: your sin. To many people, the idea of sin is offensive, but sin is doing anything that God, in his love, commands us not to. It’s a deliberate flouting of his laws and living our own way. Sinning is easy. It comes naturally. But our sin has shattered our relationship with God. It is offensive to him and he can’t just ignore it and sit idly by. His commands, which reflect his perfect character, have been violated. Sin must be punished – his justice requires it. The penalty is death – eternal separation from God.
It’s not comfortable being told we’re sinners who must be punished, and so our immediate response is often to justify ourselves. ‘Why should we worry about what Jesus says anyway?’ we ask. We’re tempted to do the very worst thing possible – ignore and reject him. When we do this, we fulfil Jesus’ prediction: ‘this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil’ (ch3 v19).
The shadow of judgement looms over our heads. We must and will pay the consequences.
The only answer
Yet John’s record of Jesus also offers hope. Despite all your sin, God loves you! He doesn’t take delight in punishment, but he wants to restore your relationship with him. So he set about making it possible for you to be forgiven, with all your sin permanently taken away, so you can have eternal life with him in heaven.
However, God can’t just ignore sin and brush it under the carpet – it must still be paid for. This is why Jesus came. You don’t have to be the one who pays for it. Jesus offers to!
Jesus had no sin of his own to pay for, as he was sinless. Yet out of love, he willingly stood in and took the full weight of God’s judgement against our sin. He personally bore the penalty. He died! He fully paid the price and three days later he rose from the dead. Sin had been paid for, death had been defeated, Jesus was victorious.
The offer of forgiveness is open to everyone. When the offer is accepted, an amazing transaction takes place. Jesus takes our sin and all its consequences. In exchange, he gives us his perfection and all its eternal rewards.
Jesus said, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (ch3 v16).
So, what about you?
As with all gifts, this offer is not yours until you personally accept it. Just because Jesus died, it doesn’t mean everyone is automatically forgiven. Neither is it just a free ticket to heaven, meaning you can live your life as you like. God requires you to truly repent of your sin. This means having a genuine heartfelt sorrow for grieving him, unconditionally renouncing all your sin and wanting to live to please him. It means walking a new way: God’s way. He must have his rightful place in your life; he must come first.
Does all this seem too much for you to keep up? Well, you’re right – by yourself you can’t do it. But you won’t be on your own. God promises to be with you every step of the way. He will change your desires, values and priorities from the inside.
And so it is possible for you to be forgiven. For you to have your relationship with God restored and have eternal life! The offer is there – will you accept it? Have you ever thanked Jesus for dying in your place, turned from your sin, and asked him to forgive you and take control of your life? It’s the only way to escape eternal death and enjoy eternal life. It’s the biggest decision of your life. How will you respond?
‘You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (8:32).