Jesus didn’t come to this earth, suffer torture, then die on the cross so that we could have religion. No, Jesus wants a personal relationship with YOU. He wants to be YOUR personal savior. This blessing and salvation is open to everyone, but each person has to invite Jesus into their lives. Otherwise, just knowing that Jesus is the son of God doesn’t get you to Heaven, just to hell.
To understand this, we need to go back to King David in the Old Testament and his plea to God for forgiveness after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed.
Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
5 For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6 But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.
16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.Psalm 51:1-17 NLT
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Jesus desires the sacrifice of your repentant heart. That means that you recognize the fact that you are a sinner and that you want to stop sinning. You want to do a 180 degree turn in your life. The road you are heading on is taking you directly to hell. Now you are turning around and heading to Heaven.
Live in the Light
Sin leads to darkness. Jesus is the Light!
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.1 John 1:5-10 NLT
We are all lost sheep
In the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, we read…
But he was pierced for our rebellion,Isaiah 53:5-6 NLT
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.
Enter Jesus, the Good Shepherd
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.John 10:11-16
Jesus takes the time to go find his lost sheep…
4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!Luke 15:4-7 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
Does Jesus know YOU?
Ever since I can remember, growing up Catholic, I knew that Jesus was the Son of God, that He died on the cross and then rose again and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. Fine. But that didn’t save me. As long as that is all I thought “religion” was, I was headed for hell. Thank God that He had other plans for me.
As a Catholic, I had in my mind that it was “OK” to sin as long as you confessed your sins on Saturday, so you could attend mass on Sunday and receive Holy Communion. Heck, I even lied to the priest and told him I did sin that week when I really didn’t. Yep, I sinned confessing my sins. Links to my testimony are below.
Jesus tells us what a True Disciple is…
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’Matthew 7:21-23 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
You really don’t want Jesus to say that you, do you? No, we want to be friends with Jesus. Jesus didn’t die so we could have religion! Jesus died so we could have a personal relationship with Him! Here’s a podcast I did as part of the 22 Benefits of Salvation: A Personal Relationship with Jesus…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
Pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and my life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…
- Start reading the Bible daily. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, Bible.app and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great daily devotionals and Bible studies.
- Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
- Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one and be baptized!
- Part 1: From Catholicism to Prodigal
- Part 2: From Prodigal to a Progressive, Halfway Christian
- Part 3: From a Halfway Christian to a True, Born Again Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ
Soli Deo Gloria — to God Alone be the Glory!