Category: How do I get right with God?

God has given us some very clear instructions in His Word as to how we are to  live for Him. These include the command to love one another (John 13:34-35), the call  to follow Him at the cost of denying our own desires (Matthew 16:24), the  exhortation to care for the poor and needy (James 1:27),  and the warning to not fall into sinful behaviors like those who don’t know God  (1  Thessalonians 5:6-8). Jesus summed up a life lived for God when a teacher of  the law asked Him the most important of commandments. Jesus replied, “Hear, O  Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your  heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment  greater than these” (Mark  12:29-31).

Jesus’ prayer prior to His crucifixion also sheds light  on our purpose. Referring to believers, He prayed, “I have given them the glory  you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May  they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and  have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given  me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me  because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though  the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I  have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that  the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:22-26). Jesus’  desire is for relationship with us.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism  says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” A life  lived for God glorifies God. We pursue God with our entire being – heart, soul,  mind, and strength. We abide in Christ (John 15:4, 8) and therefore act like Him  by loving others. In doing that, we bring glory to His name and also enjoy the  relationship for which we were originally created.

Those who wish to  live for God must seek Him in His Word. We must seek the guidance of the Holy  Spirit to apply the Word to our lives. Living for God means giving up ourselves  and desiring God’s will above all else. As we draw nearer to God and come to  know Him more, His desires will more naturally become ours. As we mature, our  desire to obey God’s commands increases as our love for Him increases. As Jesus  said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15).

In order to get “right” with God, we must first understand what is “wrong.” The answer is sin. “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3). We have rebelled against God’s commands; we “like sheep, have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).

The bad news is that the penalty for sin is death. “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). The good news is that a loving God has pursued us in order to bring us salvation. Jesus declared His purpose was “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10), and He pronounced His purpose accomplished when He died on the cross with the words, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).

Having a right relationship with God begins with acknowledging your sin. Next comes a humble confession of your sin to God (Isaiah 57:15) and a determination to forsake the sin. “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:10).

This repentance must be accompanied by faith – specifically, faith that Jesus’ sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection qualify Him to be your Savior. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Many other passages speak of the necessity of faith, such as John 20:27; Acts 16:31; Galatians 2:16; 3:11, 26; and Ephesians 2:8.

Being right with God is a matter of your response to what God has done on your behalf. He sent the Savior, He provided the sacrifice to take away your sin (John 1:29), and He offers you the promise: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21).

A beautiful illustration of repentance and forgiveness is the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). The younger son wasted his father’s gift in shameful sin (verse 13). When he acknowledged his wrongdoing, he decided to return home (verse 18). He assumed he would no longer be considered a son (verse 19), but he was wrong. The father loved the returned rebel as much as ever (verse 20). All was forgiven, and a celebration ensued (verse 24). God is good to keep His promises, including the promise to forgive. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

If you want to get right with God, here is a sample prayer. Remember, saying this prayer or any other prayer will not save you. It is only trusting in Christ that can save you from sin. This prayer is simply a way to express to God your faith in Him and thank Him for providing for your salvation. “God, I know that I have sinned against You and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness – the gift of eternal life! Amen!”