The internet is full of biblical teachings about a variety of topics. You’ll find teachings on prosperity, health, the Holy Spirit, and so much more. However, I think that the simplest message most people need to hear is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Some people might think they don’t deserve to go to heaven or even God’s love. They believe they’ve been so bad in the past that nothing could make up for them. They might have been told that their current lifestyle or practices send them straight to hell. They only know judgment and not the provisions God made for them.
I want to take a moment and inform you or remind you of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps you’ve heard it before and thought it was too good to be true. Perhaps you’ve heard it in churches or online but concluded that you are too much of a sinner for God to forgive you.
Even still, maybe you don’t see any way out of the addictions, lifestyles, cutthroat business practices, etc. Well, I’ve got good news for you. Keep reading.
God’s Forgiveness is For Everyone
John 3:16 (NKJV) — 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
You’ve probably heard of the infamous John 3:16. God loved the world so much that he sent Jesus to die for your sins, and all you need do is accept it, i.e., believe that Jesus did it for you personally.
The problem is some people immediately disqualify themselves from God’s love. They say something like, “Not me. I’ve done too many bad things in the past,” or “Not me. My lifestyle now is far beyond God’s love and forgiveness.” Stop it! Nothing you can do or have done could separate you from God’s love and forgiveness. Check this out.
Romans 5:8 (NKJV) — 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Again we see how God demonstrates His love toward us. While we were still living in sin, Christ died for us. God’s forgiveness is available to you right now, regardless of your lifestyle.
Some have a misconception because of religion that God is waiting for you to get your life right before He will forgive you. No. Jesus died for you WHILE you are in sin.
A song was sung in the church I grew up in with lyrics like this.
“If I pray right. If I get right. If I walk right. I’ll draw all men unto me.”
Those lyrics say we must get ourselves right before God saves us. That is not true. God is not waiting for you to get your life right. Let me share something with you that you may not have realized. You cannot get your life right. You do not have the capacity, willpower, or ability to get your life right.
People have tried for thousands of years to get their life right by following religious doctrines and practices. History shows that it never worked, and it still doesn’t. Therefore, realize that the only way for you to get your life right is with God’s power. We have access to that life-changing power through Jesus Christ.
How To Get Forgiveness
Hopefully, you can see that you can’t save yourself from the doom that exists for those who are in sin and separated from God. We can get forgiveness by responding favorably to the Gospel. The Bible declares that sin brings about death. Here’s the thing, though. You can die for your own sins, i.e., go to hell for eternity, or you can accept the payment of the penalty provided by Jesus Christ and go to heaven to be with God for eternity.
Going to heaven is easy. Just put your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (forgiveness of your sins) instead of trying to save yourself. Believe that Jesus died for your sins, rose from the dead, and ascended to the Father. Receive God’s gift of salvation, and you will be forgiven for all your sins. It’s really that simple.
Going to hell is easy too. Just continue your life without accepting the gift of salvation and die for your own sins. Jesus is the way to salvation; if we reject him, we reject it. If we reject Jesus, we reject God and eternity with Him.
Consider this. Let’s say you are in poverty and living on the streets. You have to beg for food or get it whenever and wherever possible. You’ve stolen food, ate horrible things, slept in awful places, were mean to people, and more. Now imagine I open a bank account in your name and place one million dollars in the account. I then find you and tell you that you have $1,000,000.
You have two choices. Believe me and take ownership of your money or reject me and stay on the streets in poverty. I think it would be a no-brainer to take the money and forget all about your past deeds.
Now, some of you might be thinking, “Yeah, but what’s the catch? What will I have to do for the money?” There is no catch. There was no agreement. The account is already set up for you, and you only need to claim it. Still, some will say it is too good to be true and possibly reject the gift.
There is no catch for salvation. You only need to believe in Jesus Christ, just as John 3:16 said to receive God’s forgiveness.
Believe in Jesus Christ, and God will forgive you.
The Source of Confusion
Religion is the reason that many are confused about receiving God’s forgiveness. They have gone to church and been part of a religious environment that convinced them they must work to earn God’s forgiveness. Religion says that we must not do this and do that. People think that watching certain kinds of movies, wearing certain types of clothing, listening to specific genres of music, and so much more is how God determines who goes to heaven.
The Bible says those whose names are not written in the book of life are doomed to hell (the lake of fire). That’s in Revelation 20:15. Remember, all you need do is believe in Jesus Christ to be saved. Consider what the Apostle Paul said.
Ephesians 2:8–9 (NKJV) — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus. So, they had already received God’s forgiveness. He reminded them that God’s salvation came because of His grace through faith in Jesus Christ. They didn’t do it because it was a gift. They didn’t work for it; otherwise, people could brag about their actions.
Grace means unmerited favors or undeserving favors. God provided salvation for us even though we don’t deserve it, and we surely cannot earn it.
Grace: God provides salvation for us as a gift. We can’t earn it, and we don’t deserve it.
Faith in Jesus: We put our faith in Jesus for salvation and receive God’s forgiveness
Do you see how simple it is? Stop trying to do good deeds for God to accept you and save you. All your good deeds will add up to filthy rags.
Isaiah 64:6 (NKJV) — 6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
The word “righteousnesses” means good deeds, charitable acts. How can an unclean thing make itself clean? It can’t do it by itself. It must have clean water. We are like unclean things, and we can’t get ourselves clean. We need God to clean us up, which is done through Jesus Christ.
You’re A New Person
Here is an area that people fail to realize happens and is essential for understanding the power of God once we are saved. Consider what the Apostle Paul said.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) — 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
When you are saved, you become a new person on the inside. Your spirit is brought to life from your dead state, separated from God. God’s Spirit dwells on the inside of you, making you a new person. A real change occurs when you are saved and receive God’s forgiveness.
Therefore, don’t worry about the things you do now. Don’t worry about the sinful things you do, the lifestyle choices you make, or your bad behavior. Just know that God made you a new person, so go forward with that.
You will soon find conflicts within yourself. You may slowly develop aversions to certain things you do. God’s Spirit inside of you is guiding you. Even your practices and lifestyle will change over time. It may not happen immediately, but people will begin to see the change that occurred on the inside when you were saved.
Therefore, stop looking back at the old you and wondering how God could forgive you, bless you, help you when you are in trouble, etc. You became a child of God when you put your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. He is with you and wants to bless you abundantly with His life.
All things are new. You’re on a different road now, so go with it and enjoy your new life with God through Jesus Christ.
Can I Do Whatever I Want?
You might ask if you can do whatever you want since God has forgiven you. For example, can I continue stealing, lying, cheating, etc., after I’m saved? Remember, you are a new person. Those things are not what God will lead you to. You will find that you want to avoid stealing, cheating, or anything contrary to God’s way.
What you want to do will be influenced by God’s Spirit inside you. You won’t be perfect or sinless. You’ll desire to do the right thing, and gradually your behavior will change.
A misconception about God is that He is putting stars next to your name when you do good things, and he takes them away when you do bad things. The only thing in the book of life is your name, which gets there by being saved.
You will not be before God at judgment, where he checks the number of stars next to your name to allow you to enter heaven. He will only check that your name is in the book of life. So, stop trying to earn what God has already given you.
Your sins are forgiven. God is not holding your former lifestyle, former sins, and the bad things you did against you. Jesus Christ has washed you clean, and you are now with God for eternity. That eternity starts before you die. It begins when you put your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation instead of works.
The good news is God’s salvation is a gift to you. You don’t have to go to hell and be separated from God. Believe in Jesus Christ, and you will receive it. The Gospel is to believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead. Because He lives, you can too. Believe and be saved.
You cannot earn nor deserve God’s salvation, so don’t even go down that path. Religion confuses you, thinking we can earn God’s love and do enough good deeds to go to heaven.
Put your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation instead of yourself and receive God’s forgiveness. Be the new you and live your life knowing that you are with God and He is with you. The Gospel is simple. Don’t complicate it.