These days, you don’t have to look too hard to find bad news. It’s all around us. Newspapers, websites and TV stations keep us up to date on all the latest tragedies. Perhaps in your own life, you’ve been feeling the pain of some bad news: a lost loved one, a lost job, a broken relationship. Maybe that’s why you clicked on this “Good News” button. No matter what your situation may be, whether you’re happy or hopeless, God has some great news for you. Here it is: God loves you with an immense love! He wants a close relationship with you! He’s provided a way for you to be free of guilt. He would like you to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. All of this is possible because of one amazing person and one amazing act of sacrifice. The amazing person is Jesus Christ and the amazing sacrifice was His willingness to receive the death penalty for crimes that He did not commit. He was dying for anyone who’s ever been guilty of anything before God. He faced God’s justice for all of us. Amazingly, after receiving the death penalty, Jesus rose from the dead and now offers to begin a personal, spiritual relationship with anyone who will acknowledge that their only hope is found in Him. Now that is the kind of news that we all need to hear!
To find out more about Jesus, and what He has done for you, please read on, and we’ll explore what the Bible has to say. Feel free to contact us with any comments or questions by using our email contact page.
Is there a God?
Statistics continue to show that a large majority of people believe in God, even in our society, where religion and morality are in decline as humanism and materialism are on the rise. The Bible confirms that people have a natural awareness of the God who made them. It says, “…what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20*). Note that the existence of God is closely tied to the universe around us. Creation is not proof of God’s existence, as that would eliminate the need for faith. However, creation is compelling evidence for a Creator God. The Bible also says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1*).
Is the Bible from God?
The Bible certainly claims to be from God. It says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true…” (2 Timothy 3:16~). While this is convincing for those who trust the Bible, others would ask for more compelling evidence of the Bible’s authenticity. The Bible is the world’s all-time bestseller with over a billion copies printed. It has accounted for more changed lives than any other book. It has withstood numerous eradication attempts and continues to be translated into new languages and dialects at an astounding rate. Archaeology has confirmed the accuracy of the Bible’s historical references. It is a book like no other. It seems unlikely that God would create the universe and place mankind in it, only to leave us in the dark about why we’re here or where we came from in the first place. He hasn’t done that! He’s given us the Bible!
The Bad News
There is a universal problem that plagues every human being at some point in life. It is the problem of guilt. The reason we experience guilt is because God has given us a sense of right and wrong. The Bible says, “They demonstrate that God’s law is written within them, for their own consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right” (Romans 2:15~). Even though we all have a conscience, it doesn’t always keep us from doing wrong. In fact the Bible says that, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23*). To fall short of God’s glory means that in our sinfulness we miss the purpose that God originally created mankind for: to reflect His own perfect character. Because He is perfect and holy, sinners like us do not meet God’s standards. We can not get to Heaven no matter how hard we try. In fact, the Bible says that, “the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23*). In other words, sinning before the holy God who made us means we deserve to pay the ultimate penalty. But thankfully God had a plan all along to graciously and lovingly reach out to all of us with an offer of forgiveness. Let’s learn more about that now!
Jesus is widely considered to be one of the greatest people who ever lived. No person has had more influence on the course of history and on humanity than Jesus Christ. The Bible explains that Jesus was far more than a good man with a good message. It says, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23*). The Bible teaches that Jesus was God in human flesh. He was fully God and fully man. He was God stooping down to earth, not only to show humanity what God is really like, but also to be the one who would pay the terrible death penalty for the sins of all of humanity. Though His crucifixion was orchestrated by hateful men, Jesus could have escaped. When he was arrested He said, “Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels … and he would send them instantly?” (Matthew 26:53~). Instead, Jesus submitted Himself to His executioners knowing that His death was not for His own sins but for ours. The Bible says, “Christ also suffered when He died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners…” (1 Peter 3:18~). Though the death of Jesus seemed brutal and unfair, it has provided something wonderful; something that we all desperately need.
The Second Birth
The Bible uses several terms to describe someone who follows Jesus. One of the most interesting comes from the lips of Jesus Himself. He said, “I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:5~). He explained that our first birth is natural, and physical, but that it does not provide us with a spiritual life connected to God. That is why we need a second birth. God has made it possible, not only because Jesus died in our place, but because He also rose from the dead. The life God gives us in the second birth is the resurrected life of Jesus that also raises us from the dead, spiritually, and unites us with God. But how does that happen? Is everyone automatically born again? No. Jesus said, “…the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 7:14~).
How to be Born Again
The second birth begins with hearing the good news about Jesus. The Bible says to believers in Jesus, “you have been born again. Your new life did not come from your earthly parents … this new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God” (1 Peter 1:23~). The fact that you are reading this webpage is an important step in your spiritual journey! Of course hearing the good news is not enough. It also requires a positive response. This is where faith comes into play. The Bible says to those who have been born again, “…you have been saved through faith…” (Ephesians 2:8*). To be saved is another expression the Bible uses to describe the second birth. No one can be saved or born again without believing that the good news about Jesus is true. This believing is more than just knowing about it. Real faith is expressed by a commitment to the object of that faith. It’s a matter of trust. It is one thing to say that you believe a passenger jet can fly you safely to another city. It’s quite another thing to actually get on the jet! Faith is getting on the jet—it is trusting the object of your faith. Many people would say they believe in God or in Jesus, but they have never trusted Jesus to save them. They haven’t really had faith in Jesus until they are willing to say, “Jesus I need you, you’re my only hope.” Faith is the key that opens the door to salvation and eternal life. The Bible says “without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Hebrews 11:6*). Another important step in trusting Jesus for salvation is a step called repentance. The Bible says that God is “patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9*). To repent means to agree with God’s assessment of our sin and spiritual need. It means we turn away from the sin that kept us from God and ask God to forgive us. God wants to forgive those who will repent and believe. The Bible says that if we “confess our sins to him [God], he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from every wrong” (1 John 1:9~)
So let’s put it all together. A person is saved, or born again, when they:
- Hear the truth about their sin and God’s good news of salvation through Jesus.
- Agree with what God says about these things and about Jesus Christ, His Son.
- Repent of the sin that separates them from God.
- Trust in Jesus as the only source of salvation and eternal life.
Accepting the Gift
It is hard for many people to accept that eternal life comes through simply trusting in Jesus. It seems much more natural for us to want to earn it; to do something that will please God and cause Him to accept us. This is what makes most religious people” religious.” Religion is an attempt to make ourselves acceptable to God. Trusting Jesus is something entirely different. The Bible teaches that in ourselves we are completely unacceptable to God. It says, “…when we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6~). To trust Jesus is to come to God empty-handed, knowing we have nothing to give. But God offers to give us something that the Bible calls “his indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15*). It is the gift of Jesus and His salvation. Have you ever had someone try to pay for a gift you were giving them? Probably not, but if you have, you know what it is like for God when people won’t just accept what He offers them, and try to earn it another way. In trying to buy the gift, people end up losing it. This is because they underestimate both their own bankruptcy before God, and the great price that Jesus has paid on their behalf. There is only one right way to respond to a gift that is offered in love, like God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus. The right response is to simply accept the gift. The Bible says that “to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12~).
Counting the Cost
In one sense, being born again is a very simple thing. It does not require a long list of difficult religious activities. It simply requires trusting Jesus. In another sense, though, trusting Jesus is not easy at all. Jesus made that clear when He talked about what it takes to be His disciple, or follower. Jesus said things like “no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me” (Luke 14:33~). In other words, trusting Jesus means you can trust nothing and no one else for your security. When a rich man came to Jesus asking about eternal life, Jesus told him, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21*). Jesus knew this man very well. He knew the object of his trust was his money, and He knew he would have to give it all away before he could really trust Jesus. The Lord’s disciples were so surprised by Jesus’ teaching that they asked, “Then who in the world can be saved?” (Mark 10:26~). Jesus taught them that only with God’s help was it possible for a person to trust Him on that level. Becoming a Christian, a follower of Jesus, requires simple trust, but trusting Him is not simple. A person must be willing to say, “I’m with Jesus. I will follow Him wherever He leads me. I will do whatever He wants me to do.” It is trusting Jesus that saves us, but it is our willingness to count the cost that shows our trust is genuine.
Becoming a Christian through the second birth is not just a matter of choosing a religion. We have seen already that being saved through trusting Jesus is not a religious act whereby we try to prove our worth to God. Rather, it is coming to God empty handed and allowing Him to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. Before the second birth a human being has physical life, but not spiritual life. The Bible says, “Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins” (Ephesians 2:1~). However, for those who receive the gift of salvation, it goes on to say “God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ…” (Ephesians 2:4*). Jesus talked about eternal life as well. He said, “I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life” (John 5:24~). Eternal life is more than just living forever. It means that we actually participate in the resurrected life of Jesus. This is an amazing thing! If you trust in Jesus for salvation you begin a relationship with God. He actually comes and lives in your spirit, and empowers you to do the things He wants you to do. This does not mean that we will not still have human weaknesses or problems, but through the second birth we can face these things with God’s help and presence in our lives.
Perhaps you still have questions. If so, please feel free to e-mail us from our email contact page. We will do our best to answer as quickly and as clearly as possible. We can’t answer every question. God has chosen not to explain everything about Himself and His plans. If He had, we wouldn’t have to trust Him, since we would have all the answers. But remember, God wants, more than anything, for us to trust Him, even if we don’t understand everything. We can assure you that God is completely trustworthy. So it comes down to a choice. Will you trust in Jesus and the salvation that He offers to you, or will you choose a different way? The Bible says that “anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21~). We pray that you will make that choice today! May God bless you as you seek Him!
~ These verses are quoted from the New Living Translation of the Bible
* These verses are quoted from the New International Version of the Bible