I had, and I have heard from many others, a lot of misconceptions about the possibility of enjoying a right standing and real relationship with God. Maybe you have too. I hope these points will be clarifying and helpful to you, and I pray God will bless you as you honestly consider them and seek Him.

I. The Gospel (God’s Good News) is NOT about being &/or doing good enough for God to accept you.

We cannot earn a right standing with God. All of our attempts to merit His favor through religious endeavors, good deeds, and high morals fall short. So, in the matter of gaining a right standing with God, it may surprise you to learn that it does not matter whether you have been religious or irreligious or even relatively moral or immoral. All of us begin at the same starting point relative to God. The Bible declares that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23.

II. The Gospel is about God being SO good that He has already done everything His perfect justice requires to accept us just as we are.

In spite of our rebellion against God (sin) and God’s righteous condemnation of it, God’s love moved Him to pay the highest price ever paid (the death of His only begotten Son) to meet the requirements of His perfect justice so that He could show His pure mercy by offering us eternal life with Him as an absolutely free gift. God’s Son Jesus lived the sinless life that we have not, then voluntarily paid sin’s penalty on our behalf & was raised victorious over sin, death & Satan, so that in saving union with Him we can enjoy God’s forgiveness, fellowship & favor forever. The Bible declares “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”- Romans 6:23.

III. God’s Good News must be believed to be received.

God wants to give people this life. Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid…your Father has gladly chosen to give you the kingdom”- Luke 12:32. In light of this, God has made receiving His gift uncomplicated. The most famous verse in the Bible states that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”– John 3:16. God loved and gave. We believe to receive. By ‘believe’ the Bible means more than merely thinking something is true. It means trusting in and relying on that something or someone…it means betting your life on them.

IV. Receiving God’s Good News will transform your life forever.

When a person receives God’s gift of life by trusting Jesus to be their Savior & Lord, they are not just receiving a gift from God. They are receiving the gift of God. The Holy Spirit permanently indwells every true believer’s heart & progressively transforms him or her to increasingly live a life of love & faithfulness that honors & pleases God. This blessed new life is not the ‘white-knuckled’ experience of trying to do good enough to repay God for His mercy that it is often misperceived to be. People saved by God’s grace through faith in God’s Son are pardoned, not paroled, & we could never repay God’s priceless love. Rather, this new life is a Spirit-empowered life of increasing freedom from sin’s reign & ruin. Transformation is the fruit (result), not the root (source), of a real relationship with God in Christ. The Bible states “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control; against such things there is no law”- Galatians 5:22-23.

I hope you will turn to God and trust Him to save you from attempting to save yourself from your sin and His condemnation. Making the move from self-reliance and rule to God-reliance and rule may be frightening and difficult, but it is infinitely worth it. Life with God, under His loving rule even in the most difficult circumstances, is truly life – one filled with faith, hope and love. Life, even in the best of circumstances apart from Him, is empty no matter how we try to fill it. Please turn to God & trust Christ to save you from sin’s penalty (immediately), power (progressively) and presence (ultimately). He will receive you as His very own forever, and you will receive Him, the life that satisfies and saves forever.

Sincerely yours in Christ,