Do you know....
Jeremiah 31:33 KJV
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Romans 1:16 NIV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
The intention behind the bible is NOT a reference book of rules. The bible is a gift from God that reveals God's purpose for our existence, which is to live it in a relationship with Him.
It is an historical document comprised of 66 books written by 40 different divinely inspired authors chronicling God's interaction with humanity.
He does not force us to have a relationship with Him. He gives us a choice and it is up to us to respond to His invitation for a relationship.
The intention behind the laws in the old testament is to help us understand our own depravity. We can't live up to the law by our own will. We need God's help to live as He created us to live. It was also through the fulfillment of the law system by the Lord Jesus Christ that God was able to demonstrate His love for us.
God created our first ancestors, Adam and Eve. God breathed His living spirit into Adam and then created Eve from a part of Adam. When they disbelieved God and did the one thing He had asked them not to do, His spirit departed from them and they immediately became spiritually dead. This separation between man and God is bad news for us because the whole purpose of our existence is tied to our relationship with Him.
Even though we humans have grieved God throughout history, He did not give up on working to restore our relationship with Him. He established a special relationship with the nation of Israel in order to communicate with us. They were the writers and guardians of the old testament. They wrote of a savior who would restore our personal relationship with God. God manifested himself in the world as Jesus, being born to an Israelite woman. Jesus fulfilled the old testament prophecies regarding a savior of the world.
When Jesus died on the cross, He fulfilled the old testament sacrificial law. Whereas sins had only been atoned for by following the old testament law, Jesus's sacrificial death fulfilled the sacrificial law and resulted in the forgiveness of sins for all of humanity; past present and future.
Jesus = Truth:
John 14:6 KJV Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Jesus = Messiah = Christ = Savior:
John 4:25-26 KJV The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
We are all forgiven through the sacrificial act of Jesus. And through the resurrection of Jesus, God now gives each of us the choice to accept the restoration of His spirit within us ....or not. If we accept Him into our lives, He can work with each of us to live in the way humans were originally created to live. He does not rule over us like a dictator, but instead works with us to help us become the best we can be for all of eternity.
The choice of a relationship with God is up to you. If you acknowledge His saving grace and your need for Him and ask Him to restore His Holy Spirit within you, he will do it ....no water, church or other person necessary ... just you and God. The fact that God made a way to restore our relationship with Him is called the gospel or good news and it is tied to the restoration of His Holy Spirit in us which is called salvation.
Acknowledging Jesus's sacrificial act to reconcile man to God and then accepting the Holy Spirit into your heart (made possible by Jesus's resurrection) is called baptism. It is also referred to as being born again (you were first born into the physical world and now you are born into God's spiritual world).
Baptism in water by another person is merely an outward show to the world (based on Judaic traditions) and there are those who are baptized with water who have never accepted the Holy Spirit. Many people recommend finding a church right after you have turned to God and accepted His life within you. However, if you feel uncomfortable doing that, there is no commandment that you have to go to church. Actually, when the Holy Spirit comes to live in you, you are part of THE church -the ecclesia - the called out ones. You have been called out from the world to be under the lordship of Jesus Christ. In the past, before the internet and mass telecommunication, a person had to go to church if they wanted more information. Now we have the internet at our fingertips to search and learn. But it can be helpful to have someone who is more mature in their faith to help you along the way.
You may or may not feel any physical emotion/reaction when God's spirit comes to live in your heart. Do not let that worry you. Be patient and God will reveal more and more to you in time.
If you have asked the Holy Spirit to live in your heart:
The following are suggestions to help you grow in your relationship with God:
Talk with God as much as you can. This is also called praying. There are no rules to talking with God. You can talk to Him out loud or silently in your thoughts.
Read and study the bible and seek answers to your questions. When you really study the bible, you'll be amazed at what it really says! Many churches and religious groups have distorted the real message of the bible through their doctrine causing a confusing mess. The message of the bible is not about religion, it's about a personal relationship between you and God.
Don't expect to be perfect. None of us is ever going to be perfect here on earth. Remember that through Jesus, all our sins - past, present and future - have been forgiven. Always turn to God for His help to assist you in overcoming any struggle.
And lastly, though it may sound strange at first:
Give thanks to God in all circumstances (good and bad). We have Him to thank for our wonderful times, and with His help our bad times can be transformed into something good!
Truth is true – even if no one knows it
Truth is true – even if no one admits it
Truth is true – even if no one agrees what it is
Truth is true – even if no one follows it
Truth is true – even if no one but God grasps it fully