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HOPE IS HERE
Every person has two great longings. The first is to be loved and the second is to love. But when pressures and heartaches come into our lives, many give up any hope of ever finding love.
John 3:16, perhaps the most well-known verse in the Bible, reads: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Simply stated, this verse tells us four things:
God loved. God gave. We believe. We live.
God’s creation was perfect until Adam and Eve disobeyed God and introduced sin into the world. Their sin resulted in their immediate separation from God. And because we are all descended from Adam, we each inherit his sin nature when we are born. This means we also are separated from God. Even though we did not choose this condition, it exists nonetheless—just like everything else we inherit from our parents. But in spite of our sin nature, God still loves each of us and wants to remove that separation. John 3:16 tells us both the depth of God’s love and His provision for our sin
The penalty for sin is death. Romans 6:23 reads, "The wages of sin is death [eternal separation from the love and mercy of God]." That is why there were so many sacrifices required in the Old Testament of the Bible. But God gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, as the ultimate sacrifice to pay the penalty of sin, once for all, on our behalf. Jesus’ death on the cross was the payment for the sin debt we each owe. We all need to understand that we cannot do good works as a way to earn God’s love and make it to heaven. If we could save ourselves, Jesus' death on the cross would have been unnecessary! The Bible says it is "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His [God's] mercy, He saved us" (Titus 3:5). Salvation is by God's grace (a gift), not through our works. (Ephesians 2:8-9).
What is our response? We can ignore God’s love or we can believe it. We can reject God’s gift or we can receive it. If we choose to believe Jesus is the Son of the living God who died on our behalf and was raised again, and if we surrender our lives to Him, according to John 3:16, we can live. What we could not do for ourselves, Jesus has done for us! "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8). This is the story of Jesus. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for us, was buried, and then was raised from the dead on the third day to prove that His payment was acceptable to God (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus then ascended into Heaven and He is alive today to have a relationship with you! All that remains is our acceptance of God’s payment and forgiveness. He will not force it on us. And this is a decision each person needs to make personally: No one else can do it for you. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). Want more information? Read the Gospel of Luke or even both Matthew and Luke. Each book tells the story of Jesus, His death and resurrection.
When we make our decision to trust God, His Holy Spirit immediately starts to live in our lives. Our sin nature is replaced with a new nature. The Holy Spirit provides strength, peace, and guidance in our daily lives. And we receive God’s promise of life forever in Heaven after we die. This is called Salvation in the Bible. Salvation is God's gift to you, and you receive this gift through faith in Jesus. "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). This very moment, you can receive Christ's gift of salvation and start your new life with Jesus by sincerely praying a simple prayer like this from your heart: "Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that You love me and want to save me. Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God, who died on the cross to pay for my sins. I believe God raised You from the dead. I now turn from my sin and, by faith, receive You into my life as my personal Lord and Savior. Come into my heart, forgive my sins, and save me, Lord Jesus. In Your name, I pray, Amen."
If you prayed the prayer above, or something similar to it, we'd love to help you with your next steps. Please reach out to us here and let us know about the decision you have made. We would love to have you worship with us at Parkwood, and if the distance between us and you is too far, we would love to help connect you with a great church where you can grow in your faith.More News
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