Religion..

is a system by which we try to make ourselves acceptable with God.

Of course the problem is that this leaves us always hoping but never sure we’ve done enough to be good enough to be accepted by God.

This is like being at school or college where we are expected to do the studying and preparation until one day we face the Final Exam!

The idea is that we try our best to be good but no-one knows if we will PASS or FAIL until we sit the exam. It sounds so reasonable and fair but IT IS NOT the message of the Bible!

Relationship

The God of the Bible has a different way for us to be accepted. He wants to bring us into His family! It says in John chapter 1 verse 12, to those who believed in his [Jesus’] name, he gave the right to become children of God

Being a child in a family is about being loved and accepted from day one. So what this is saying is that God accepts into His family those who believe in the name of His Son, Jesus. This spiritual birth into God’s family begins a whole new relationship where God is not a distant creator, but a loving Father.

Reconciliation

Hold on a minute! How can a perfect God accept imperfect people into His family? - God has found and made a way to do this. He sent His perfect Son on a mission of reconciliation. Jesus came to die in our place and take the punishment for all our wrongdoing that had so offended a holy God. The cross of Christ was absolutely necessary - we can never be good enough for heaven by our own efforts.

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.

(1 Peter 3v18)

If we could make ourselves acceptable to God, then, as Paul says, Christ died for nothing ! Galatians 2v21

Response

Jesus rose from the dead showing that he really is the Son of God just as he said,

and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations

Luke 24v47

Give up on your own religious efforts to gain acceptance with God. Like the dying thief beside Jesus’ cross - admit your own wrong-doing and call on Jesus for mercy and forgiveness. You can have the same promise from Jesus - to be with Him in paradise. (Luke 23v43)

You’ll have a new relationship with God through Jesus. He’ll give you new desires and the power to follow Him in a new kind of living.