Accepting Jesus As Our Personal Savior -Jim Smith
In order for one to accept Christ as their savior we have to first understand what God's plan is for us as a species. We need to understand why we need to be saved, and from what? The Bible is God's word revealed to us. It was written by people that were so yielded to God's will that He chose them to write it. The people who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired (given the words) by God. All of the writings agree in purpose and point to Christ as the Messiah. The Bible teaches that all people have sin in their lives. This leads to the question: What is sin?
Sin is any act that displeases God, as sin separates us from God, who is perfect, such that the payment we are to pay for sin is spiritual death, or permanent separation from God. Romans 6:23: says "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Spiritual Death entered into the world when Adam and Eve sinned. Genesis 2:17: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eat thereof thou shalt surely die." Romans 5:12: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" Romans 5:14: "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come." This gives us the Understanding of who can save us from our spiritual death that we not only inherited from original sin, but, deserve from our own sinful actions as well.
We are all born sinful, we are unable to please our perfect God by resisting all temptations of this world so God sent His son Jesus as our representative and as our ransom to redeem us from captivity to sin and death. John 3:16-17 : "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." This belief is trust, and this trust is called faith. Faith is the belief that God is who He says He is without scientific proof. He provided the payment for our sin by His son taking our place as a substitute or sacrifice. All sins, past, present and future were forgiven by Christ at the cross. although men condemned Him who knew no sin to a cruel, physical death, Jesus died to save everyone from our sins. Hebrews 10:10: "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Someone had to pay with his life for all of our sins. Hebrews 9:22 (NIV)" In fact, the law requires that... without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Jesus died to pay for the sins of every man woman and child. However, he rose again, conquering death and making it possible to be saved; so we accept Jesus when the Holy Spirit calls us not merely our thinking and reasoning it out, but realizing that it is based on God's provision and His gift.
In fact, Christianity is not just a volunteer religion. (Jesus called his disciples, they generally didn't come to him already determined to follow him.) In the same way we cannot merely "accept" Jesus, but we can receive what he gives us through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does call us all to repentance and to follow God through the preaching of God's Word and accepting the Good News (Gospel). Those who do not believe have rejected God's free gift, those who do believe only have faith because it is the free gift of God (grace). We have to Admit that we have sinned, because it is a prerequisite to accepting Christ. Once we understand that we are sinners and that all have sinned we can turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness by repenting of our sins and seeking to fill the rest of our lives doing His will. We then profess that Jesus is our savior. Romans 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Say, "Father in Heaven, I believe that Jesus died for my sins." And God will impart eternal life to your spirit." We must Understand that Jesus said to receive or accept Him we must receive the one whom sent him. (John13:20) That is the Holy Spirit (John15:26). Then we can ask for the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit does not come automatically when a person believes but Jesus says everyone who asks receives in Luke11:9-13. Then we will begin to taste and see that the gifts of the Lord are good.
We can believe that God loves us; He has shown this by giving His Son to face our punishment and die in our place as your sacrifice for all the bad things we've done wrong and for all our sins. Repentance is the decision to turn away from sin and to turn to God and obey him. Once we have done this, every other step will fall into place. If we still have a hard time with this concept, we can trust Jesus as Lord over us as well as our Savior. Next we should talk to God in your own words. There is no protocol to follow in order to talk to God. God listens to your prayers even if you do not say them. But this does not mean He does not like to hear you seek His help and His forgiveness. Jesus said to "Remember that god already knows what we need." God does not judge us violently, because He just is not a human being like us! He is our eternal Father; He is our Brother and our personal Protector/and Mediator, and He wants to become our Best Friend! God wants us to confess our sins to Him, because He wants to forgive us, and He wants us to tell Him our secrets, even though He already knows everything about us. This is a promise: Matthew 7:7-9 "7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 [For] Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" Tell God what you want to say to Him. But realize that: John 9:31 "Now [in this] we know that God [listens] hears not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and does His will [receives Christ], him He hears [answers]." Talking to God can take on many forms, whether in a prayer or in an ordinary way as in talking to others. Just tell God what you want to say to Him in your own words, expressing all your love to Him: here are a couple samples from other people...
"My God and my Savior, I know I have sinned before you, and I know about all the bad things I have in my life. But with you my God, I shall never fear even the worst things in life, because you have sent your only and Son, Jesus, to be crucified, and to pay the price of my sins. I come to you my God to confess everything I have done in my life, and to tell you I am sorry. I am here to declare you as my King, King of my thoughts, and King my actions. I want you to be my Savior. Please God, forgive me, because I have sinned before you. My God and my LORD, reign over my life, because your reign is perfect and your kingdom will never see an end. Amen" - unkonwn and jim.
"Merciful God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart. We have failed to be an obedient church. We have not done your will, we have broken your law, we have rebelled against your love, we have not loved our neighbors, and we have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive us, we pray. Free us for joyful obedience, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen" - The Methodist communion prayer.
Its not really a good idea to do the same prayer over and over because it loses its feeling and becomes trite. We should always strive to feel the presence of God in faith while praying. I personally don't believe that one has to Kneel to be efficient or to concentrate on nothing but our prayer. But, some people like it and it doesn't hurt to do so. Once we have understood and accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior we should seek to be baptized in accordance with the New Testament. Baptism is used to signify the death and burial of our sinful person and our resurrection as a forgiven Christian through the power of the Holy Spirit just as Jesus was (Romans8:11, Col. 2:12,13). Baptism is commanded "for the forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:38) Prayer and faith was not enough to save the devout Cornelius in Acts 10. He was commanded to be baptized. After every example of a person having faith and believing in Christ, he or she is always baptized to complete his or her salvation! (Acts 2:41; 8:13; 8:37,38; 9:18; 16:30-33, etc). As a new convert we have the option to find a place and time to do this and who to do it with. We are not required to take any label but Christian.
Once we are "saved" from now on we try to put others needs before our own. We try to love everyone even if we hate what they are doing. We try to find ways to help others and love others all day long. We wake up and talk to God in prayer; thanking Him for the good from the day before, and asking Him to help us from the bad. We look to feel like servants to everyone around us not to bring glory to ourselves, not to win favor of others, but to please and thank God for the great things He has done for us. As we do these things, God will be blessing us for doing them which will encourage us to do more. When we find ourselves in doubt, we pray for answers. Most importantly "we still make mistakes". As time passes hopefully they will be fewer and farther between but we must realize that we will never be perfect until we are redeemed on the day of judgement.