Jesus is Definitely Worth Considering!
If you were unemployed and owed $90,000 to a bank, you would probably feel that the situation was hopeless. But what if a billionaire told you that he would cover your debt and deposit $1 million into your account? What more could you do to clear up your debt? Nothing more than accept the gift and draw funds from the now healthy bank account.
What about our spiritual account with God? Jesus has done all that is necessary to provide complete salvation for every person who has ever lived or ever will live. The huge debt of sin has been paid. And that includes you, no matter how deeply or how often you have sinned.
It Is Finished.
The great truth of 1 John concerning the all-sufficient work of Jesus Christ is emphasized throughout the New Testament. On the cross Jesus said, "It is finished!" (John 19:30). He knew that He had emptied the cup of God's wrath. His work was done. It is so complete that God requires nothing more from us to be added to that sacrifice--no personal merit, no religious ritual, no exhausting work. All we need to do is trust ourselves to Him!
It is offered to us.
John told us, "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12). Jesus offers new spiritual life to all who will believe in Him (John 7:37, 38). Because Christ has defeated sin and death through His atoning sacrifice and His victorious resurrection, we can be restored to God. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ covers all our sin, gives us acceptance with God, releases us from bondage, delivers us from wrath, and enables us to stand unblemished in God's presence.
God wants you to rest on the finished work of Christ. His sacrifice has infinite value. Salvation is available to all who will accept the gift. The apostle Paul wrote:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
If we accept Christ's offer, we can exclaim with the apostle Paul, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15).
If you wanted to fly from New York City to Paris, you would go to the airport, buy a ticket, and get on the plane. It would not do you any good to sit around the airport terminal saying, "Yes, I know the airplane is trustworthy and the pilot is well-trained, and I will get to Paris if I get on board." You need to board the plane. It's not enough simply to know the truth; you have to do something about it. The same is true if you want to go to heaven.
What Is Faith?
Faith involves a response to the truth we know about Jesus Christ. When we speak of faith in Christ, we mean a personal expression of trust and dependency on Him. It is not enough to acknowledge intellectually that Jesus is the only One who can take us to heaven. It is not enough to know that what He did was sufficient to pay the penalty for our sin. We must put our trust in Him, accept His offer, and place ourselves in His hands.
In 1 John 5:1 we read, "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God". Your faith in Jesus Christ--your belief that He is indeed the Christ, the Son of God--is what God requires for you to become a member of His family.
John also told us, "…whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God" (1 John 4:15). People may view Jesus as the greatest man who ever lived, as the supreme example for us to follow, or as the most impressive revealer of God's love. But if they do not confess Him to be the Son of God, they are not saved.
Where Does This Leave You?
Maybe you are troubled by the suspicion that your profession of faith wasn't real. We have all seen examples of this. A young man goes through the motions of accepting Christ because a girl he wants to date has said she won't go out with him until he becomes a Christian. Sometimes people profess faith in Jesus Christ in a moment of deep emotional turmoil and then forget about it the next morning.
If you are not sure that your faith is real, evaluate why you feel that way. It could be that your former expression of faith was indeed shallow and not from the heart. It could be that you never really understood all that Christ has done for you until now and you didn't realize that you couldn't earn your way to heaven. If so, take time now to put your trust completely in Christ for your salvation. Anchor your faith on what the Bible tells us about Christ.
Maybe you can point back to a definite time in your life when you sincerely decided to put your trust in Christ as Savior and Lord. If so, your present doubts may be more a matter of unreliable feelings than a dependable indicator of your true spiritual condition. In this kind of situation, the fact that you are genuinely concerned is a very encouraging sign.
If you have truly acknowledged your sin to God, admitting your need of forgiveness, believing that Christ paid the penalty for all your sins, and have opened your heart and your life to the leading of God's Spirit, trust in His promise. Thank God for your salvation. And when future doubts come, talk to God about them and reflect on what the Bible has to say.
The life of a follower of Christ is characterized by righteousness, rather than by sin.
Remember, you don't need to be perfect. And your salvation is not based on obedience. But if you genuinely want to obey the commands of Christ, and if you see evidence of your growth in holiness, you will have one more reason to believe that you are truly saved. (See John 14:15-23)