How Can I Know God?
Have you ever wondered how you can know God? You know, it begins with a relationship. First, you need to understand God's purpose for mankind: God created man to honor, serve, and fellowship with Him.
We are here to bring Him honor and glory.
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11). "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Psalm 16:11).
But, there is a problem. Mankind doesn't naturally please Him.
In fact, we dishonor Him with our sin.
Our problem is sin.
The reality is that everybody has sinned. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). What is sin? Sin is disobeying God. It is breaking His law (1 John 3:4). We sin by doing what God has told us not to do or by not doing what God has told us to do. Do you know the Ten Commandments? Do you think you have kept them?
- One is "thou shalt not bear false witness." In other words, "don't lie." Have you ever told a lie? Of course! We all have lied at some time in our lives. What does that make you? A liar.
- Another commandment is "honor thy father and thy mother." Have you ever disobeyed your parents at any time in your life? Well...yes. Right there you have broken another commandment.
- You could continue down through all of those commandments, and you would have to say that you are a sinner. You have disobeyed God.
And because sin displeases God, we cannot accomplish God's purpose of honoring Him. But, that's not all.
Sin has a penalty.
"For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). If you were to break the law by speeding in your car, a police officer will pull you over, write up a ticket, and make you pay the penalty. There is a penalty for disobeying God's law too. The penalty is death, and the Bible teaches that this death is an eternal death in a place called Hell. The basic idea of death is separation.
There are three types of death or separation.
- Spiritual death separates a person from the life of God (Ephesians 2:1).
If you were to walk up to a corpse and try to start a conversation, you would not get very far. Why? It's because dead people don't respond! Unsaved people are still dead in their sins. They need to be made alive.
- Physical death separates a person’s soul from his or her body (Hebrews 9:27).
Everyone will experience physical death. Some die early, and some live long lives. There is no way around it. Doctors try to prevent it, but eventually every human will die.
- Eternal death separates a person, both soul and body, from God forever in Hell (Revelation 20:15). This death is inescapable. It is eternal punishment in a place called "the lake of fire." Sinners not found in God's book of life are cast here after their physical death.
How can we have eternal life?
People have tried many ways to gain or earn eternal life, but every attempt has been unsuccessful. You can't do enough good things to earn eternal life. You can't be religious enough in your church or rituals to save yourself from your sins. You can't give enough money to buy salvation, and some people even think that they can do enough good to outweigh their bad, and that will give them eternal life.
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved us" (Titus 3:5). "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Jesus is the only way.
Now, let me tell you about this grace. Jesus Christ is God's sinless son. He was sent by the Father to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross in our place (John 3:16). "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18a)
We deserved that death on the cross, but Christ took our place. He was our sinless substitute. This grace, or love, of God is a gift to us. We don't pay for it, and we don't earn it. It is simply a gift that we must accept (Romans 6:23).
How do we accept this gift of eternal life?
You must turn from your sins to Jesus. You must receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus Himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6). In order to receive Jesus Christ as Lord, you must repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone as the only hope of eternal life.
- Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of life. Whereas before you enjoyed sin, now you see sin as displeasing to God, and you live your life in a way that God would be pleased. "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19).
- Belief in something is more than just a knowledge of truth. You can say that a plane is safe to fly in, but until you get in and fly around you have not put your faith in it. Belief in Christ is a wholehearted faith that He is the only way your sins can be forgiven. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).
- Calling out for Christ to save you is not some specific set of words that you pray, and you are magically saved. It is simply saying to God, "I know I can't save myself from my sins. Would You please do it for me?" "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).
What is God's promise for those who respond in repentance and faith?
God's promise is eternal life in Heaven and a relationship with Him. This relationship is more than just knowing who God is. It is one where you know God, and God knows you. I can walk up to the White House and tell the guard, "I know the President," but that is not going to get me in. But if the President walked out and said "Yes, I know _____. Let him in." That signifies a relationship. You may know who Jesus is, but does He know you? (1 John 3:1).
Jesus Christ said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:15-16).
Will you accept this gift of eternal life today?
The Bible teaches that you must:
- Admit that you have sinned against God and ask Him for forgiveness. Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God Who died for you on the cross, rose from the dead, and is Lord.
- Also, call upon Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior. It's not the specific words of a prayer that save a person, but simply repentance and faith. But perhaps these words will help you express your heart to the Lord:
"Dear Father – I know I am a sinner that deserves eternal death in Hell. I realize that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and rose again for me. And right now, by faith, I turn from my sins and trust in You alone for my salvation. Thank you for saving me and making me Your child. Now help me to live for you from this day forward. Amen."
If you have received Christ or have any questions because of what you have read, please contact Pastor Robert Graziano by phone (864.967.7803) or by email. He would love to help you take the next step in your relationship with God.