The story is told of a young woman who received a phone call stating her father was ill, and that he only had a matter of hours to live. Because she lived a few miles away, she got in her car and began anxiously driving to see her father. As she was going through a small southern town, she looked in her rear view mirror, and there was a cop car chasing her. Because she was going so fast, the officer didn’t merely gave her a ticket, he arrested her. The next day she appeared before the local county judge who told her that for going 90 miles per hour above the speed limit, her fine would be $300 or three days in jail. She pleaded with the judge, “Your honor, you don’t understand, I don’t have $300 with me, and I can’t spend three days in jail. I must go see my father who is dying.” The judge said, “I’m sorry, young lady, but the law says you must pay $300 or spend three days in jail.” As she began to weep, the judge was moved with compassion. To the surprise of everyone in the court, he stood up, stepped down from the bench, walked over, took off his robe, put on his sport coat, walked around in front of the bench, pulled out his checkbook, wrote a check for $300, and laid it on the bench. Then he walked back around, took off his sport coat, put back on his robe, and resumed his seat. He said, “Young lady, the law is very clear. You must pay $300 or spend three days in jail! But, I see someone has paid the fine for you. Case dismissed!”
In essence, that is what God did for us. The Bible says that the penalty for sin is death [Romans 6:23]. When we stood condemned, without hope, deserving death and hell, God took off his robe of deity, put on a robe of humanity, became a man in the person of Jesus Christ, and died for us. God did for us what we could never do for ourselves [Romans 5:6]. According to scripture, Jesus is both God and man. He has two natures: one human, the other one divine [Philippians 2:6,7 and Romans 1:3,4]. As man he bridged the gap between us and God. If we have received forgiveness, when we stand before God as Judge, we will be standing before the very one who loved us and paid the fine for us.—Case dismissed! You must believe that Jesus really died for your sins: and that he arose from the dead [I Corinthians 15:3-5, Romans 10:9]. Since it is your sin which has been keeping you from God, you must acknowledge your sin and be willing to turn away from it [Mark 1:14,15]. The Bible calls this repentance, which simply means to turn around If you are headed down a one way street the wrong direction, away from God, turn around. As you turn back to God, ask God to forgive you and receive you back. The Bible says that if you will confess [admit] your sins, no matter how great or small they are, God will forgive you [Isaiah 1:18; I John 1:9]. The moment you do this you are totally, 100%, forgiven. Your sins will n e v e r be held against you [Romans 4:7,8].
As an act of faith, in order to become a Christian, you must invite Jesus to come into your life to be your Savior and Lord. [S a v i o r refers to the fact that he s a v e s us from our sin, and Lord simply means the One in charge.] It means getting out of the driver’s seat, and letting him be in the driver’s seat of your life. Once you do this, not only are you forgiven, but God places his Holy Spirit within you. [Ephesians 1:7-1 4 , Galatians 2:20]. You become a child of God. Would you go to a stranger’s funeral and ask the family of the deceased for a share of the inheritance? You could tell them, “I’m a good person, and I do nice things for others.”— would that impress them? No. They say, “I’m sorry, but the inheritance is for family members ’only. We don’t even know you.” Well, the same is true with God. You must be born into God’s family if you expect to inherit what is God’s. His inheritance is for his children, for those who know him. That is why Jesus said unless a person is born again; he or she will never see the Kingdom of Heaven [John 3:3-18]. The moment you receive Christ into your life, you are spiritually reborn into God’s family. You become a joint heir with Christ [Romans 8:32]. You inherit eternal life, and glory beyond your wildest imagination awaits you [I Corinthians 2:9; 3:21-23; Ephesians 1:3; Romans 8:31,32].
If you meet God’s conditions for salvation, which I have just outlined, you can know and rest assured you are a child of God; that when you die you will go to Heaven, where you will live with God forever [John 14:1,2; Revelation 21:1-4]. I John 5:11-13 says, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW you have eternal life.”
How can you know for sure that you will go to Heaven? Does it depend on how you feel, or upon circumstances? No! If you do what God says, believe in Christ, God will hold up his end of the bargain. God does not lie. The Bible says that if you pray and ask for anything according to God’s will, He will answer you [I John 5:14].—So, is it God’s will that you believe in and receive Jesus? Yes. [See: II Peter 3:9.] Therefore, when you ask God to forgive you and come into your life, you can count on it [Romans 10:9, Ephesians 3:17]. There is no other sacrifice acceptable to God than the death of Jesus on the cross. Scripture says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” [Acts 4:12].
Whatever guilt you are carrying, God is willing to forgive. God does not lie. He promises to forgive you if you will but ask [Isaiah 1:18; I John 1:9]. He will give you the strength to overcome any sin [I Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 4:13]. With God’s Spirit living in and through you, you can begin to experience God’s peace and joy [John 14:27; Galatians 2:20, 5:22; Romans 7:14-8:11]. No one has a deciding vote in this decision but you. God votes for you. Satan, who is also very real, votes Against you. According to scripture, there are no second chances in another life [Hebrews 9:27].—The question is whether you are willing to receive him and give your life to him. Jesus said, “Here I am I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. If anyone [you] hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in . . .” Revelation 3:20.
Right now if you’re convicted by God’s compassion, love and grace; and believe that all I’ve said is true, then find a quiet place and make your peace with God by confessing your sins to him; inviting Jesus into your life. I suggest you pray something like this: “Dear Jesus, I thank you for loving me. I am sorry for the ways that I have sinned against you. I believe you died on the cross for my sin. I confess with my mouth that you are Lord Jesus and I believe in my heart that God raised you from the dead. As best as I know how, right now, I invite you to come into my life. Please forgive me, and cleanse me, from all my sin. Make me the person you want me to be. I need you. Lead me always with your holy spirit; Thank you for hearing my prayer. Amen.”
These words are not magical. The important thing is that you mean them and trust God [I John 5:11-15]. Study the bible daily and spend quality time with your God.