If you clicked on this link you are probably wondering why I think I have the answer to how you can have a relationship with God.  Fortunately for you, I am not giving my opinion on this page.  Contained here, are the words that Jesus and his disciples left for us.  This is how the Bible says you can get a relationship with God.

Perhaps you don’t even know what I mean by the statement, “a relationship with God”.  To most people God is just this disembodied spiritual force that watches his great science experiment from far off and doesn’t intervene.  Perhaps you even picture him as somewhat sinister, a God who allows evil to triumph and who tolerates injustice.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.  In the Bible, God is described as a loving father who desperately desires a real relationship with you.  He doesn’t desire you to obey a list of rules or practice a bunch of religious rituals.  [For more on this visit my page, “Why Christianity is NOT a Religion”]


Originally, when God created humans, we did have this relationship with Him.  We walked with Him in the Garden of Eden and fellowshipped with Him.  That’s why He created us.  When humans (Adam and Eve) chose to sin (do things our own way and not God’s way) we created a rift between God and us.  Sin entered the world.

From that point on, everyone that was born was born into sin.  We are all predisposed to try to do things our own way and not God’s way.  God is perfect.  There is no sin in Him and we cannot fellowship with Him if we have sin in our lives.  If God allowed sinful people to enter heaven it would no longer be perfect.  It would end up being as bad as it is here on earth.

At this you might be thinking, “yeah but I’ve a pretty good person.  I’m sure compared to most people, I’m a saint.  I’m sure God will let me into heaven.”  I have asked many people and almost every one of them has told me that they think they are going to heaven.  They are less clear on exactly who will go to hell.  The reason they know they are going to heaven is almost always the same; “Because I’m a good person.”  My response is to ask them a few questions to help them see their life from God’s point of view.  Take a minute and answer these questions truthfully:

  1. Have you ever told a lie?
  2. Have you ever looked at someone with lust?
  3. Have you ever stolen anything?
  4. Have you ever been envious of something someone else has?
  5. Have you ever used God’s name as profanity?
  6. Have you ever hated anyone?
  7. Have you always placed God as the highest priority in your life, all the time?

If you answered yes to number one, then doesn’t that mean you are a liar?  Jesus said if you lust after women in your heart it is the same as committing adultery with her (Matt 5:28).  If you’ve stolen anything then that means you are a thief.  Each of those items above are one of the 10 commandments.

Do you think that God will find you guilty or innocent when you stand before Him and he decides whether to send you to heaven or hell?  Those are the only two options (guilty or innocent…heaven or hell).

Think about this for a minute.  What if someone were to place a device in your brain that could record all your private thoughts for a week, and then they played them on a big movie screen for all your friends and family to see?  The bible says that God knows the secrets of our hearts (Psalms 44:11).

If you concluded that God will find you guilty, you are correct.  The Bible says:

“For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.” ~ James 2:10

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” ~ 1 John 1:8

The Bible is clear that it is not just Adam and Eve that are guilty, but everyone.  We have all sinned.

“The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God.  But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt.  No one does good, not a single one!” ~ Psalms 14:2-3

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. ” ~ Romans 3:23

Did you catch that?  “No one does good, not a single one”!  Many people think that they will get to heaven by doing more good deeds than bad deeds.  The Bible makes it clear that “God’s glorious standard” is well beyond reach for us.  In fact, that is the literal translation of “sin”.  It means “to miss the mark”.  God’s standard is perfection.  We would have to be perfect to earn it on our own.

In God’s eyes we are all guilty.  If you tell a “white lie” it earns you the same ultimate punishment as murder.  Do you realize that even if you only committed five sins a day, in one year that would be 1,825 sins.  If you live to be 70 you will have sinned 127,000 times!

So what can you do?  This is a bad place to be in.  You need help.  There is nothing you can do to erase those bad things you’ve done.  You can’t hide them.  God knows every thought you have and everything you’ve done.

If He just ignored all that evil then He’d be unjust.  After all, don’t people already accuse Him of looking the other way and not punishing evil?  No, if He is going to find Hitler guilty, then He is going to have to find you guilty, and me!  We’re in a bad spot here.  We’re guilty as charged.  Our only hope is for someone to pay our punishment for us.

This punishment is described as “death” in the Bible.  There are two kinds of death, physical death and spiritual death.  Everyone will experience the first death, physical death.  But, the Bible says that our sin makes us deserve the second death, spiritual death.  This spiritual death is eternal separation from the love of God.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Because of our sin, we deserve the spiritual death of being separated from God for all eternity in Hell.  However, there is another half to the verse above.  God has provided a way out, an escape, from our death penalty.  This way is through Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  The wages of sin is always death.  Someone must pay for sin with their life.  It is our debt and we deserved to pay it.  But, God loved us and desires to restore His relationship with us.   So, He agreed to pay the price for us.  Jesus Christ, who was fully God, decided to take on human form.  He agreed to come to earth and pay the price, to die, for my sin and yours so that our relationship with God could be restored.

“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Timothy 2:5

Jesus Christ is the only one who could reconcile us with God because he was completely sinless.  He became our Mediator, our Bridge, between us and God.  He stood in the gap and paid our debt.

“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time.  He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.  He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” ~ 1 Peter 3:18

Jesus Christ conquered death.  He suffered physical death but not spiritual death because he was sinless.  He was raised from the dead and lives forever with God the father in heaven.  Because of his sacrifice, all of us can conquer the spiritual death.  The Bible says:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:54-55

This is the great hope that is found in Jesus.  As Christians we know that when we die we will be with Jesus in heaven and will not be eternally separated from God’s love.  This is ours, not because of anything we have done, but because Jesus rescued us.

But it is only through Jesus that this hope is found.  You cannot get it by trying to earn it, by following another path or believing in another god.  After all, no one else died to save us.  No one else paid the penalty for our sin.  No one else has ever even been qualified to!

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father except through me.” ~ John 14:6

God’s plan to restore His relationship with us is summed up in this passage:


“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.  There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him.  But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” ~ John 3:16-18

It is a free gift, and it is for anyone who will accept it.  God does not discriminate.   But, you must receive the gift.  You have to believe in and trust the one who is offering the gift enough to receive it.  The Bible says that there are two things you must do in order to receive this gift (in order to be saved): confess Him and believe in Him.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved . . . For Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9, 10, 13

You must come to a place in your life where you recognize that you are a sinner, that you deserve this death sentence.  It is for your sins that Jesus had to die on the cross.  Repent of this sin and turn to Jesus.  The word “repent” means to make a “U-turn”, to stop going your way and turn your life over to Jesus.  He will show you how to go His way.

If you let Jesus come into your heart He will wash away all your sins.  You will be completely forgiven in God’s eyes.  You will begin the relationship that God planned for your life.  The promise of heaven will be yours as well.

If you are ready to take this step, I encourage you to pray something along these lines.  It is not the words that are important but the condition of your heart.

[Jesus, I know that I am a sinner.  I have repeatedly done things my way and not your way.  I know that this sin has caused a great separation between me and God that I cannot cross without you.  I believe that you came to earth and died for my sin.  You paid the price that I could never pay.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  I believe that God raised you from the dead, and that through you I can conquer death as well.  Please forgive me of my sin and come into my heart.  I open the door.  I repent from my sin.  From today on I will allow you to direct my life.  You are my Lord and Savior.  Thank you Jesus. ]

If you prayed that prayer and meant it in your heart, you may not feel any differently, but something has changed.  You now belong to Jesus.  Your sin is gone.  You can approach God.  He will hear your prayers.  Your relationship with Him has begun!  In fact, the bible says that you are now his child!


“. . . to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” ~ John 1:12

The next step for you is to start growing.  You need to confess your faith before others (just like Romans chapter ten says, “confess with your mouth”).  You need to find a local church that teaches the Bible and get involved in a small group of believing Christians who can help you grow.

I would love to hear about your decision as well.  Please contact me and let me know.  I will pray for you and I may be able to help connect you with some local believers.

If you aren’t ready to receive God’s free gift yet, continue to pursue it.  You may want to visit my page Evidence You Can’t Ignore.  There are also some other good resources out there.  Here is one that may address some of your concerns: The Evidence Bible

108 Responses to “How to Have a Relationship with God”

  1. Robbie Says:

    Thank you, you’ve showed me the way.

    Thank you again

    Best regards robbie

  2. Sonja Says:

    Thank you for helping me to find the light My heart have been troubled for so long in search of a relkationship with our God and saviour Thank Thank Please pray that I can pass trhis along to my family as we grow in his name together.

  3. Dona J. Says:

    Amazing!! When I read this believe it or not I became scared and frightened. Because I believe in God and how I came across your site was due to asking a question thru Google about relationships with God. I confess to being a born again Christian, I study Gods Word, Pray, Fast and talk to Him. These words made me cry, because I don’t want to have to face Our Father and have Him say to me, Leave Me for I knew you not. I want to be able to hear My Father say, Well Done thy good and faithful servant. You may have finally touched on something here with your words. Thank You and God Bless!!!

  4. Rachelle T. Says:

    Thank you for this site. I have realized how much I have been sinning and I have never had a relationship with God. You site was very helpful to me. Thank you.

  5. michelle Says:

    what would you say if I tell you that, I am already gods child, and I have a relationship with God and that the only thing church did for me was to make me feel guilty…

  6. philippians1v21 Says:

    Michelle,
    Thank you for posting. My initial reaction is to pose this thought to you. . . If you are really God’s child and have a love relationship with God, wouldn’t it follow that you would love the things that God loves? If God loves the church (and He clearly states that He does…enough to die for it) shouldn’t one who claims to love Him also love the church as well?

    “…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” ~ Ephesians 5:25-27

    If Jesus Christ loved the church so much that He was willing to die for it, then perhaps it deserves more than just a casual dismissal on your part. After all, it has been bought and paid for at a HIGH PRICE!

    The second thing I would mention in response to what you said is that there is one glaringly obvious rebuttal…You are guilty. Pardon my frankness. Bear with me on this one, OK? You are guilty in the same way we ALL are guilty. That is what I tried to explain in this page. How we ALL have gone our own way and chosen to rebel against God.

    “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” ~ 1 John 1:8

    We all are sinners in need of someone to bring us into a right relationship with God. We all are guilty; myself included . . . even especially myself!

    Going to church doesn’t make me “feel” guilty. However, it does often remind me of the reality that I “am” guilty. Apart from Jesus I stand condemned with no hope of anything but hell.

    “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” ~ John 3:18

    At some point everyone must come to the place where you confront, recognize, and admit your own massive amount of sin and repent of it. This is what it means to be saved. Apart from repentance there is no forgiveness of sins.

    “All who belong to the LORD must turn away from evil.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:19

    You cannot repent until you agree that you are guilty. If you haven’t faced the reality of your own sin, you cannot have a relationship with God.

    “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” ~ 1 John 9-10

    I am not sure what you meant by your comment, but it is possible that you have already admitted and repented of your sin. Perhaps you meant that all church did is remind you of your past, that you are a sinner, and that made you feel guilty. If this is what you meant, then I would say that this bothered you because you don’t have a very good understanding of God’s grace toward you.

    There is a reason it is called “Amazing Grace”! If you have repented of your sin and placed your faith firmly in Jesus Christ as your only hope of salvation, then your sins are gone! There is no reason to feel guilty anymore because the debt has already been paid. You are clean, pure, spotless and blameless in God’s eyes. That is because you are covered in Jesus’ righteousness, not your own. When God looks on His children He sees Jesus’ perfection, not our pathetic attempts to earn favor by our actions. There is no more cause for guilt or condemnation…

    “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” ~ Romans 8:1

    If you want to read more about His grace read these two blogs. . .

    http://missionarybrewer.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/rve-agrace-the-enormous-gap-between-what-i-deserve-what-god-has-given-me/

    http://missionarybrewer.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/saints-in-the-hands-of-a-loving-god/

    God may bring conviction in your life if you are in sin, but it is not the same as condemnation…there is a difference. Conviction reminds us that re need to continually repent of sin so that it doesn’t interrupt our relationship with God. But, it never changes our state, that we are forgiven and clean in God’s eyes.

    Perhaps the intention of the church you went to was to convict of sin in your life. One sign of a true child of God is that they welcome the convection of the Holy Spirit in their life because it removes things that separate them from their loving Father. However, the Sprit never condemns us. God is a loving Father.

    Hopefully this helps. If not let me know more about what it is you experienced, exactly.


  7. I really appreciate the post. I’m currently a believer in Christ and what he did for me, but I lately, I don’t feel like I’ve been putting God first in my life. God made sacrifices to rebuild a relationship with me. I need to do the same. The best time to change is now. I don’t know if I will have another chance.

  8. tatiana Says:

    Hi, I’m Tatiana i wandered on your site because i got saved 3 years ago when i was 12 and i just wanted to grow my relationship with God, because it feels stagnant but every time i try i get kinda discouraged and stop. i now realized that the discouragement is a trick of the enemy and that i want to experience God and to grow in him so i have to try. I found your site really helpful. Please pray for me and with me

  9. Busi Says:

    Thank u for this message its such an opener.

  10. roland Says:

    hi am roland, before today i thought my “born again” process was fully done, but i never realize that i should confess my faith to people, i did confess it to my self… so, to all of you guys, i confess that i love jesus, he is the lord and the savior of the world, he died for my sin and set me free, thank you jesus…

  11. julia Says:

    WOW to much reading … :P

  12. Nicky Says:

    NO doubt ^^^

  13. julia Says:

    wow nicky, wow o… :p

  14. mersaides Says:

    maan this is crazy.

  15. philippians1v21 Says:

    Sorry it was cumbersome for you. This blog post is actually not even 4 pages of text. I think this issue is worth spending a little time on, since it is the most important decision you will ever make. Not everything is the Sunday comics, but then again I doubt they will change your life and save you from hell.

  16. Lucas Says:

    I have confesed my faith many times because God has called me to. I am a lover of Jesus and I truly believe in Jesus Christ our Savior! Romans 12:2 really has helpede and still is in my walk with Jesus. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

  17. Mason Says:

    Thank you! You have re-opened my eyes and showed me true meaning. Thank you!

  18. Ben Says:

    this has helped me. im 15 and i contemplated selling my soul a lil while back and i was scared and felt empty. I found this and i believe this will help me. i have received a few touches from God after that point and i have a hunger for him. I got to Rock City Church of Baltimore and I am on the verge of becoming the next bassist of the band there. this really helped and it made me understand what being saved is!Thank You!!!

  19. Ajayi Oluwabunmi M Says:

    Thank God for the life of the person that shared this…..I gain my freedom in death from Christ, and I hope others will do so as well. The Spirit of God will speak for them.

  20. Ajayi Oluwabunmi M Says:

    This site had made me realize that I have conquered death.

  21. Sue Says:

    I do beleive in jesus and yes he died for our sins i would like to confess that i have sinned throughout my life. Reading your blog has now opened my eyes on how to have a relationship with god thankyou so much there should be more people like you to speak the truth about jesus because jesus payed the price for our sins like you said he was sinless i will forever have jesus in my heart. God bless you.

  22. Sue Says:

    I would also like to add that i have suffered from depression and anxiety for some time like i said i beleive in jesus and always will till the time i die but i now know that i need a relationship with god i dont like the feeling of being numb my heart is very hardend is there any prayer i can prey to jesus for my health would greatley appreciate it thankyou.

  23. maysa Says:

    your words have put me into tears i can finally start trusting again im a child of christ!

  24. Kenneth Daniels Says:

    sam

    I love the word of God

  25. sue Says:

    thankyou so much for explaning on how to have a relationship with god i will definatly do as you have written and the prayer i will start to use you are a great person to help those to get closer to god who do not know how to hopefully people who have read your statement will get a better idea on how to have relationship with the lord and turn there lives around i know that i will be one of thse people who would greatley want a relationship with the lord. thankyou so much and may god bless you.

  26. HelloKittii Says:

    I have ben feeling like I dont want to belive annymore but i want to and feel like I am constitantly fighting something that wants to not believe. I had a better conection with God as a child I am 17 now. I am sad alot I have tried to feel like i did before but just seem to feel weak. Does bein gin a depressed state effect things?? I just need some help and direction. Pleas let me know if you know how to help. Reading your article and saying my prayers made things better i feel lighter but I dont want to get lost again.
    xXHelloKittiiXx@ymail.com
    I would apriciate any help.
    Thank you

  27. Kate Says:

    Dear sir/madam
    please pray for me i want to have this relationship with my God but when i try to pray my mind think of other things i cant concentrate like wright nw when i was praying this prayer my mind is all over the place please pray for me so the devil will leave me so i can focus on doing what the Lord want me to do and work in his parth

  28. philippians1v21 Says:

    Father,
    I pray right now for Kate. I pray that you will cast out the enemy or any influence that is clouding her mind. I pray that you will guard her with your heavenly warriors. I pray that you will send them to fight for her. God, please help her know and feel your love for her. Help her to know and understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Your love for her is. May she experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then I know that she will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

    Kate,
    I encourage you to cry out to God out loud. Ask Him for help to clear your mind and focus. Speak the name of Jesus Christ out loud commanding any evil presence to leave by the power if His name. It is important that you speak the name of Jesus out loud and in faith. There is amazing power in His very name.

    Praying for you,
    Jake

  29. Danielle Says:

    In order for us to trust God, we must have a personal relationship with him. Then he will begin to show us the deeper things. My desire is to be more like him and less of me. Praise the Lord!!!

  30. philippians1v21 Says:

    HelloKittii,
    Be encouraged! God wants you to grow and He wants you to not get lost. He is on your side and wants to help you. The biggest thing you can do to help your state be lighter and help you in every area of your life is to abide in Jesus. This means to live, reside, rest, and stay in Him. Be in constant prayer to Him as you go throughout your day. Talk to Him, laugh with Him, joke with Him, cry with Him, sing to Him, and work for Him. Pick up your bible and read John 15. This is Jesus’ desire for you. He is your source of peace, joy, hope, and strength.

    Depression can be caused by a number of different things. We have three dimensions to our being: body, spirit, and mind. All three need to be aligned and in good health for us to function correctly. Depression can be caused by any one of these three aspects being out of whack. If you are feeling depressed, I would first address the spiritual side. Confess any sin you haven’t repented of. Seek God and pray for Him to lift your cloudy state. Make sure you physical needs are being addressed. Are you eating healthy? Are you exercising regularly? Are you getting enough rest? Depression can also be caused by chemical imbalances in your brain. This is a very real thing. If you have tried these other things and you feel that your spiritual and physical sides are in a good place, but still feel depressed, perhaps you should seek some counseling to help address the mental side. I am no psychiatrist, but if this depressed state is continual and you cant pull out of it, then perhaps it may be a simple as correcting the chemical imbalance in the brain. Someone who is trained to diagnose and treat this could help.

    It also sounds like (from your brief comment) that you may be experiencing a spiritual attack from the enemy. Demons are very real and they really do want to destroy you. They can and will lie to you and can even cause you to have negative, self-condemning feelings. When you say that there is something in you that doesn’t want to believe, this sounds like the influence of the enemy. The good news is that God is so much more powerful than our enemy. I encourage you to cry out to God out loud. Ask Him for help to clear your mind and focus. Speak the name of Jesus Christ out loud commanding any evil presence to leave by the power if His name. It is important that you speak the name of Jesus out loud and in faith. There is amazing power in His very name. Do this as often as you have negative thoughts or whenever you hear a voice that challenges your faith.

    I will be praying for you. Let me know how you are doing.
    Jake

  31. samuel Says:

    amen

  32. Norbert Says:

    May God continue to bless His Word as it reveals and then meets the needs of our dark and wounded hearts.

  33. ngozi igboanugong Says:

    I want to ask only one thing,if no one is perfect like God. We are all sinners,Who then will make heaven please?

  34. philippians1v21 Says:

    Ngoni,
    Thanks for the comment. I spent a good bit of time answering your question the last half of my blog above. But here is a summary. There are two ways you can try to enter heaven: 1) by your own righteousness or 2) by Jesus’ righteousness substituted in place of yours. The bible makes it clear that only the last way will actually work. This is because you can never be good enough to earn it on your own. Even if you never sinned again you cannot erase all the sins you’ve already committed. Just one sin is enough to separate you form a perfectly holy God forever. So if you stand before God when that day comes and claim to be a good person deserving of heaven, it isn’t going to go well for you. How good is good enough? Where does the line get drawn? In order for heaven to remain perfect, only perfect people can be allowed in. . . By definition. Also, the only way God can remain perfectly just is if He never fails to punish evil.

    The other option is the wonderful offer extended to you by Jesus Christ. Jesus volunteered to take your place and pay your sin debt for you. He absorbed your punishment so that you can go free, unpunished and so that God can remain just (because the punishment was paid). When you place your faith, hope, and trust fully in Jesus Christ to be your righteousness, His goodness is substituted for your lack of goodness. In God’s economy, you are seen as completely righteous, blameless, and perfect. The charge against you now reads “paid in full”!

    God doesn’t ask you to do anything to earn this. Jesus has already done it all! This is why He said from the cross, “It is finished!” Nothing else needs to be done. All you need is to believe in Him. You need to trust in Jesus to be your righteousness. You need to repent of your sin and confess your efforts to earn it yourself. Surrender your life to Him. Agree to stop going your way and to go His way. He will guide you and lead you. All you must do is follow. It is only the person who does this that will enter heaven. This is why Jesus said to the thief who was being crucified on the cross next to him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” It wasn’t the thief’s good deeds that earned him heaven. It was Jesus’ good deed and the man’s faith.

    Hopefully that helps you. Please read the last half of the blog above for more details.
    Jake

  35. sue Says:

    thankyou so much this has made me see a different outlook and has helped alot god bless you.

  36. SAGunner Says:

    No matter what has happened in my life – I continue to search for an explanation as to how one has a relationship with God – how does one have a relationship without spaking – or only one person speaking without hearing or seeing replies – I find this diffiocult – one prays at infinitum – 7 years later the status quo remains as is – where is my relationshiop – yet I continue to break bread in my quiete time and pray.
    I know there are man “Christian cliches” like gods ways are not your etc etc – but I am his son and in trouble – I need his help. Why does my relationship seem so one sided?

  37. Gys Louw Says:

    Before I started to read your blog I was having doubts, I regret to say that now I’m even more confused. I love God Jesus and the spirit with my whole being. I can’t get enough of reading spiritual readingplans and at the moment I even sit at work doing my reading for I seriously wants God in my life, but herein lies the problem, the devil just won’t leave me alone and I’m constantly under attack from him. PLEASE help

  38. philippians1v21 Says:

    Gys,
    Can you send me an email explaining exactly what you are experiencing. What exactly do you mean by “the devil won’t leave me alone”. That is a very general statement and can cover a lot of ground. If you help me with how specifically he is attacking you and. Where you see this it will help me respond. Thanks.

    With love,
    Jake

  39. ESE OSUDO Says:

    I am a believer but at a point of my life I lost my place in christ as a result of sin. Since then so many things has gone wrong in my life. I need God again but most times I still see myself going back to those things I don’t want to do. Please I need help. Pray for me help me take my place again in Christ

  40. Kholie Ruho Says:

    I’m truly a sinner and i know i’m going nowhere if i continue to pursue my own ways without God… I feel like, i’m only a christian by name and not by faith.. i go to church, pray, sing, worship god calling out his name but i myslf know dat somthing is still missing deep down inside me….. M baptized but i do understand dat alone wont giv me the ticket to heaven, i wana REPENT n Built my relationship wit God frm now on…. Pray for me…Amen.

  41. Kholie Ruho Says:

    I tried to read my bible as encouragd by pastors but i’m finding it hard to take dat into my habit, or concentrate on it and maybe dats because i’m not getting the real insight/meaning of the bible…. Its just recently that i started to divert my attention to going through spiritual articles/sites, everytime i get time to browse the net. I feel like God is trying to show and teach me the meaning of christian life/meaning of bible etc in a more clearer and simplier way for me to understand….. I believe its helping me alot…. Thank u

  42. philippians1v21 Says:

    Kholie, I will certainly pray for you. Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

  43. Steven Says:

    Don’t forget Mark 16:16, He that believes and is baptized, will be saved, he that doesn’t believe will be condemned.
    Also, Acts 2:38 mentions the very folks that killed Jesus asking what should we do (now knowing they had just killed the Lord Jesus). Peter told them, turn from your sinning and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, FOR the forgiveness of sins.

  44. Tyanna Says:

    Reading this really encouraged me to do the right things now as a teenager because I know that the things that those other kids are doing is not the same as me. I try to read the Bible whenever I have the chance & I pray every day & thank God for what he has done for me . I always go to the same verse whenever I do wrong & ask God for forgiveness … its really hard trying to stay focuses on being in church and being the good Christian kid all the time so I know I have slacked a bit. I just need to know the answer to how to keep me away from temptation ….

  45. philippians1v21 Says:

    Ese,
    I will pray for you. Please let me know if I can be of any help.

  46. philippians1v21 Says:

    Steven,
    Thanks for your comment. I won’t get into a debate about if baptism is necessary for salvation with you. But I certainly will be clear that my position is that it is NOT necessary for salvation. I get this position from scripture. Yes, every believer should be baptized, and it is certainly one of the things God calls (even commands) us to do. However, the thief on the cross was in Paradise with Jesus that same day, and he was never baptized (Luke 23:43). Similarly, in Romans 10 Paul explains what is necessary to be saved (to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart). He does not mention baptism here. He goes on to say that “every one who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. There are certainly many who have done this and never were baptized. So, unless Paul got it wrong, you are adding something.

    My question to the person that believes baptism is required is this: what is it about baptism that saves you? Is it the physical water, the physical washing? The bible is clear that it is faith alone that saves (Rom 4:5, Eph 2:8). This is one of the 5 “solas” of the Protestant Reformation, “Sola fide”. If it isn’t the physical washing from water and the bible clearly teaches that it is only faith that saves you, then what exactly does baptism add?

    Peter (the same man you quote in your comment) elsewhere makes it clear that it is NOT the physical washing of baptism that saves you (1 Pet 3:21). He says it is “not the removal of dirt from the body” (washing with water) that saves you but the “appeal to God for a clean conscience”. It is this appeal for God to wash your heart. It is the baptism of the heart (conscience). The outward, physical baptism is just a representation of inward baptism by which Gods cleanses your sinful heart because of your faith in the work of Jesus Christ to pay for your sin on the cross. He says it is done by the power of the resurrection of Jesus. It is Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection that gives us the ability to have a clean conscience, a pure heart, in God’s eyes.

    So yes, I agree with the passages you quote. “Believe and be baptized” (Mark 16:16). But, it is the belief that saves, not the water. The water is an obedient outward display of the baptism that happens in the heart. Baptism can also be a powerful display of salvation if they both
    (faith and physical baptism) happen simultaneously. In the case with Peter exhorting the crowd to turn to God and be baptized, this is what he is saying. If you are baptized at the same time as you gain faith in Christ, then the inward baptism can take place simultaneously with the outward washing. It is incorrect, though, to take this one instance and prescriptive. This is a descriptive text. It is describing what happened at Pentecost, not telling you what MUST ALWAYS happen.

    There are other examples in the bible where people receive the Holy Spirit prior to physical baptism (For one example see Acts 10:44-48). We know from Scripture that you cannot posses the Holy Spirit if you are not saved (Rom 8:9, 1 Cor 6:19, 12:3, Eph 1:13, 4:30, Tit 3:5). Therefore, it is clear that baptism cannot be a requirement for salvation. I could write more on this, but I think this is sufficient.

    God bless,
    Jake


  47. Basically needed to express I’m just lucky I stumbled on the site.

  48. philippians1v21 Says:

    Glad I could help. Just know that luck had nothing to do with it. God-ordained events are orchestrated by His hands. :)

  49. Suzana Says:

    Hellow to all beleivers I have been strugling with depression and anxiety for 12 years I want gods help I am a beleiver I just dont know how to start or what I truly need to know in having the lord in my life. I dont like the feeling of loneliness sad and always being afraid I want my life back. Please if there is something you can share with me I would greatley appreciate it may god bless you all.

  50. ivette Says:

    I had a close relationship with God and then so many bad things happens that it had been tough on getting that connection. I know I am blessed I need to feel again that connection. Please help!

  51. victoria Says:

    I am coming to the realization that I have sinned, I am no better than someone who has committed murder. I need to confess my sins. I want to have God completely in my life. It is hard for me sense my parents Don’t go to church, I am 16 with no car. I would love to hear some advise please :)

  52. philippians1v21 Says:

    Suzana,
    I am praying for you, sister. I wrote a couple of couple of things that might help you in my response to HelloKittii above. There are also some thoughts that you may find helpful in my response to Marion on this page: https://philippians1v21.wordpress.com/why-believe-in-jesus/why-christianity-is-not-a-religion/

    I also really think that the book “Victory Over the Darkness”, by Neil Anderson would greatly help you. This book has greatly helped me in the past when I was struggling with depression and anxiety. You can get a copy by following the link above.

    God bless,
    Jake

  53. philippians1v21 Says:

    SAGunner,
    It is certainly true that the relationship we can have with God is unique from other relationships. We would expect that . . . because He is God. If I am separated from my wife and cannot speak with her by phone or email I don’t have the power to communicate with her. However, this is not the case with us and God. He does have this power, but it is manifested in a very unique way. I can testify that He does indeed respond in prayer. Most of the time (with rare exceptions) we don’t speak audibly with Him. But, I have experienced clear and undeniable moments when He has placed thoughts, feelings, desires, and emotions in my head that I know did not originate from me.

    This doesn’t happen all the time. There are certainly more times than not when I pray and talk to God and I don’t hear anything. God does seem nearer to me at some times than others. Sometimes this is because of me and my sin. There are things that we can do that will separate us from the presence of God. He is still our Father (if we have placed our trust in Him), but we need to confess and repent of sin in order for our prayers to not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7). There are other times when God simply removes our ability to sense His presence for a time. Why He does this is somewhat of a mystery, but I think it helps us to value Him more and to seek Him harder. It also can be a time of testing for us. Will we continue in faithfulness and in faith even when the emotion isn’t there and it seems like He is gone? The bible tells us in Romans 5:3-5 that these trials produce perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character, hope. And this hope does not put us to shame. James very clearly tells us that God will sometimes test our faith in this way:

    “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~ James 1:2-4

    In addition to hearing God respond to me in prayer, I also experience relationship with Him in that He answers my prayers in clear and undeniable ways. Just yesterday I prayed for something very simple and immediately, that very day, it I was clearly and undeniably provided. This happens to me continually. It is one clear way I know He is there and He is listening. Sometimes He answers “no” and sometimes it does take way longer for Him to provide things I pray for than I would like. But, the bible says that the Holy Spirit takes the prayers of believers and aligns them with the will of God (Rom 8:26).

    By far the best and most common way that God speaks to us is through His word, the bible. Many people say they wish God would speak to them and tell them what to do or help them know He is there, but they rarely (if ever) pick up the bible. God has spoken to them. He has written them a love letter full of advise, help, answers, and examples of His love. But we rarely read it. The bible is living and active. This means it is more than a normal book. The Holy Spirit uses the words on the pages to speak directly to you, in your situation, where you are at, as you read it! here is a great brief explanation of what I am saying by John Piper: http://missionarybrewer.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/hearing-god-speak/

    If it is really true that you never hear God speaking to you then something is desperately wrong. It is one thing to have periods of time when God seems distant or absent, but it is quite another to say that you have never experienced Him speaking to you. This is not possible for a person who is His child. The bible tells us that every single believer has the deposit of the Holy Spirit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-15). The Holy Spirit is not a force but a person. He speaks to us. If you have never heard His voice, then it is clear you do not have Him. Jesus emphatically claims that His sheep hear His voice and know Him (John 10:4, 27). The person who does not possess the Spirit does not have life (Rom 8:11, 2 Cor 3:6). In fact, the very event of our salvation necessitates us hearing the Spirit convicting us of sin, righteousness and judgement (John 16:8-11). Indeed, Paul claims that no one can say with faith that Jesus is truly their Lord without hearing it first from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3 see also Matthew 16:15-17). Therefore, it is impossible for a person to be saved without hearing God speak!

    I say this to alarm you. It is my hope is (if what you claim is true and you have really never heard God) that you will repent of your sin and turn to Jesus for life. Confess your sin and repent of it. Lay it at Jesus’ feet and look to Him dying on the cross to pay for it in your place. Come to Him and give your life to Him. This means you turn over control of it to Him. You swear allegiance to a new King. You pronounce Him Lord of your life. You give your faith, hope and trust to Him and Him alone. It is only once you have done this that you will have the relationship I speak of in the blog post above.

    Praying for You,
    Jake

  54. philippians1v21 Says:

    Victoria,
    I am so happy to hear about what God is doing in your heart! Have courage! Be bold and give Jesus all of you. He will not let you be put to shame, although in this life it will sometimes seem that way. You will be persecuted and your parents (and friends) will likely not understand. This is part of the package. Jesus promises that it will happen. He said if they hated Him they will also hate those who follow Him. He also said He came to divide households. It is important to count the cost before you commit to follow Him. It may cost you highly, but it is so worth it.

    I will be praying about your situation with your parents. Be sure that you are honest about your decision with them. They need to be told. This is one way of cementing your own faith. Jesus says that if you don’t claim Him before other people, He will not claim you before the Father. It is also possible that through your testimony and example that they may also come to have faith in God. This can only happen if they know the reason for the new hope within you. Who knows, perhaps when your parents see the change in you as a result of your salvation they may be willing to drive you to church. In time, you may be able to even get them to come too. You can only find out by asking.

    You need to find a good church and get baptized. Your baptism is an excellent opportunity to invite your family. If you can find a good church near you and you don’t have a ride (and can’t walk or take a bus), call the church or email them and ask for someone to pick you up. I know that we do this for people all the time at my church, and I bet you that any Christ-following church would be honored and happy to do this for you. You would be surprised how much people want to help you hear the gospel and grow.

    Finding a church is very important. It is very hard to be a Christian alone. God never intended it to be in isolation but within a local body of fellow believers who can help, support, encourage, teach, train, and disciple you. You also have something to give them. God will help you find the local church where you can be used for His glory to help others.

    If your parents are angry about your decision and forbid you from going to church, my sincere advise is for you to honor them. That’s right, don’t disobey them unless God directly tells you to. They are your God-appointed authority. Obey them. Honor them. Show them respect, love, and kindness even when they act wrongly and are unkind. It is through your obedience and respect that they may be able to see change in you and see God’s glory reflected in you. I also know that God will multiply His work in your life if you are not going to church for this reason. I have seen it before. God is faithful to fill the gap.

    If you absolutely cannot make it to church, there are many resources that you can use to grow. Try to get in a discussion group with other Christians where you can ask questions through email and exchange prayer requests. I would be happy to do this with you also (jbmcwhirter@gmail.com). You can also listen to the sermons from many churches online now. If you are interested, here is the link to my church’s sermons which are posted every week: http://thebridgetolife.com/wordpress/
    You can also listen to a great preacher, Mark Driscoll, from Mars Hill Church here: http://marshill.com/

    Start reading the bible. I recommend starting with the book of John. Buy yourself a good study bible. Here is my favorite. This will help explain the bible to you and answer some of your questions. Please feel free to email me any questions you have too. I also recommend this book to help get you started: The Walk, by Stephen Smallman.

    God bless, and let me know if I can help more.
    Jake

  55. Warren Says:

    Hello. Thank you for this passage. It is really important. I already knew that the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ but, this passage is very helpful. I became a child of God almost 3 months ago. Thank you again and may God bless you.


  56. I am blessed by your websight.pray for me to get out of bad depts.i need freedom.i would like to serve God in your ministry.Thank you.

  57. Roland Says:

    It’s not a big deal, God is within you since the day you let him, you relationship with him is not over or in danger, no matter what happened, he loves you…just get into the habit of talking to him like if he was next to you because he is…read the bible, even one verse or chapter per day, slowly, quietly you will be feeling he’s presence, noticing he’s voice, actions, and all your issues will start disappearing without you noticing…I hope this help…His Grace is amazing!!!

  58. Roland Says:

    Thanks to everyone for this website and especially to the one who had the initiative to make it! You guys did a wonderful job, somehow I know that your website has impacted the life of more than one, including my own…thanks!

  59. Mark Says:

    Thank you for this. I’ve been walking with the Lord for some time and through a series of events I lost my way. I felt like I had gotten so far away from God that it was impossible to ever get back. But your article has helped me to get back on track. I already feel a shift in my life. Thanks again for sharing.

  60. Chelsea Says:

    Thank You!

    I have, what feels like, lost my relationship with God for many years and am now working towards rebuilding my relationship with God, I’ve found this and feel an oomph in my heart… I would like to know if you can help, how to find a local church right for me?

  61. Sam Says:

    Thank you for this article , it is a great piece of writing. I ask if you could pray for my father, he is a great man of Christ but the last few years he has been struggling with depression and I pray the enemy will be sent away for good and his mind will be at peace ,thank you all , god bless.

  62. philippians1v21 Says:

    Sam,
    I will pray for your father with you.

  63. philippians1v21 Says:

    Chelsea,
    That tug you feel in your heart is the pull of the Holy Spirit. Follow Him. Keep seeking God through reading the bible, prayer and through God’s people. If you let me know where you live I might be able to help with pointing you toward some good churches. Send me an email (jbmcwhirter@gmail.com).


  64. Thanks a lot!
    There’s nothing like having an ideas of what the most high god expected of us,to be true believers!
    Thanks for bringing me back to life. We love you oh lord.

  65. Claudia Says:

    Thanks a lot for the information you share with us. Could you advise me of a church in Nebraska to attend to.

  66. philippians1v21 Says:

    Claudia,
    Can you send me an email with exactly where you live in Nebraska? If you send me this I might be able to point you to a good church. My email is jbmcwhirter@gmail.com.

  67. Darrell Says:

    Please help me to found Jesus and get a personal relationship with him . I’m going through a lot right now in my life. My marriage, children, finance everything seemed to be crumbling down.


  68. […] I’ll reserve the fact that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with God for the experts.  (Click Here for an article I’d recommend.)   […]


  69. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I have truly
    enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be
    subscribing to your feed and I am hoping you write again soon!

  70. roland Says:

    Jesus is amazing and having a personal relationship with him is the best thing that can happen to anyone…this site was my first step into my relationship with Jesus, whatever the issue, relationships, finance, depression, addiction…anything! Jesus will walk with you! He loves us, for real! He cares…always! pray to him, read the bible and start noticing the change, day after day.

  71. Kate Says:

    Hey Jake, thanks for your post. I’ve been really struggling with this relationship part of Christianity. I’m 18, I’ve grown up in a Christian family and I definitely believe that Christ is Lord. But I’ve never felt like I had a relationship with God and I so desperately want one! I’ve been so confused about what it is that has been keeping me from intimacy with God, and I’ve gone through so many moments of just pure anger, sitting in Church, seething because I’m missing the relationship that I really want and I can’t figure out why.
    I guess I’ve always struggled to grasp the fact that I am a sinner. I think it’s a “head and heart problem”. In my head, I know it! But in my heart it’s different. I’m stubborn. I don’t understand. And I WANT that to change but I don’t know how…
    Not entirely sure why I’m writing this… It’s not like anyone can tell me exactly what to do, but I suppose I just wanted to say that I really did appreciate this post, and it opened my eyes just a little bit more.. If you still read this, I’d love some prayer! I’m just conflicted and confused.

    I appreciate your time. And I’m so glad that I discovered this site. :)

    Kate

  72. tiff Says:

    Not just repenting you’ll be saved but also being baptized in the name of Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit. Read Acts 2:38. Without this you cannot be truly saved. No means of disrespect but this is the truth. :)

  73. philippians1v21 Says:

    Tiff,
    Baptism with water is not required for a person to be saved. There is nowhere in scripture where this requirement is levied. I have already addressed this claim here in the comments (please see comment number 48 to Steven above).

    Certainly having the Holy Spirit is required for a person to be saved, but this occurs simultaneous with a person repenting and believing. When a person repents of their sin and places their faith in Jesus Christ, they immediately receive the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the bible is clear that no man can accept the testimony about Jesus, repent and have faith without the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:14, Rom 8:5, Jn 8:43-47, Jn 10:25-27). This is why I (like Peter in the passage you reference) call people to repent and have faith, not to receive the Holy Spirit. We don’t control the Spirit. What we do is repent and turn to Jesus. The Spirit will move, but this is behind the scenes and not something we control. Consider Paul’s words in Ephesians 1:13 . . .

    “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”

  74. tiff Says:

    John 3:5
    Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

    Acts 10:48 
    And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

    Acts 8:36-39 
    And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.

    I have plenty more scriptures to back this up. I’m sorry but this is what the Holy Bible says. Being baptized in water is necessary into getting into heaven. Where in your bible does it say it’s not? Also Acts 2:38. Plus you have to have a relationship with God. I’m not the one to argue here but there really is no other way and what the scriptures say, I believe.

  75. philippians1v21 Says:

    Tiff,

    It is clear we do not agree on if baptism is required for salvation. That’s fine with me. You are free to believe you must be baptized to be saved if you want. I do not believe this. I am confident in my position. It is by far the most prominent belief among evangelical scholars. Thus, I am in good company here. If you want to believe that if you are unfortunate enough to profess Christ on your death bed and never get baptized you will go to hell, that is your prerogative. I don’t understand that position, but I recognize your right to hold it.

    You quote several bible texts that supposedly teach that one must be baptized to be saved. However, none of them do so. If this is the best scriptural support you have it is severely lacking. Let’s look at your examples:

    John 3:5
    Your quoting of John 3:5-8 is a misunderstanding of the context of the passage. It is true, Jesus does say, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” However the water he refers to here is clearly natural birth, not baptism. This is the Nicodemus passage where Jesus is explaining to Nicodemus that in order to enter the kingdom of God he must be born again. The second birth is of the spirit, the first birth is of water. Read that whole passage in context . . .

    “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” ~ John 3:3-6

    Jesus clarifies in the very next sentence that his use of water is equivalent to being born in flesh (natural birth) as opposed to second birth, which is being born in spirit. This passage has nothing to do with baptism. There is no link made at all to baptism. Don’t pull texts out of context to try to make your point.

    Acts 10:48

    “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.”

    No one disagrees that Jesus commands people who have faith to be baptized. You can see this clearly in the Great Commission (Matt 28:). This verse does nothing to establish baptism as a requirement for salvation, though. Salvation is not even mentioned here. Jesus also commands people to love their neighbors. Does it then follow that this is also a requirement to be saved?

    Acts 8:36-39
    This is simply a story of the eunuch being baptized following his salvation. Nowhere does it state (or imply) that it was the baptism that saved the eunuch. What makes you assume that the eunuch’s faith was not sufficient for him to be saved? The fact that he was baptized in obedience to God, doesn’t at all imply he wasn’t already saved by his faith.

    You said, “Being baptized in water is necessary into getting into heaven. Where in your bible does it say it’s not?” I already answered this question in comment 48. Did you even read it? As I stated in that comment one crystal clear example is Luke 23:39-43. If baptism is really required to get into heaven (as you assert) the why does Jesus tell the thief dying on the cross “Today you will be with me in Paradise?” This thief had no time or opportunity to be baptized. What say you to this?

    Also, how do you explain Acts 10:44-48? The Holy Spirit fell on these Gentiles. They possessed faith. They are called believers in the passage prior to their baptism. In fact, Peter’s response is to ask who can argue they should not be baptized since they clearly were already believers and already had the Holy Spirit.

    If baptism is really required for salvation, why does Paul say NOTHING about baptism in Romans 10, the passage where he tells us how to be saved? Did Paul miss something? Is he in error?

    Paul is very clear in Rom 4:1-12 that Abraham was saved because of his faith in the same way that we are saved by our faith (his faith was credited to him as righteousness). Nowhere does the scripture say Abraham was baptized. Did Abraham go to heaven?

    Why does Paul claim that God did not send him to baptize but to preach the gospel (1 Cor 1:17)? If baptism is one in the same with salvation, clearly this is exactly what Paul was called to do. Yet, he sees it as a separate task. He shared the gospel with many in the city of Corinth and “won many converts” (Acts 18:10), yet baptized very few (1 Cor 1:16). Interesting. If they were not saved (since he did not baptize them) how were they converts?

    How is your requirement that people be baptized in order to be saved different from the Judizers demand that people be circumcised to be saved? Paul rails against such stipulations in Gal 6:11-16. He is so clear in the passage that it is the cross and Christ alone that save. He doesn’t say the cross and Christ + baptism that saves.

    I see numerous examples in the New Testament where baptism is done IN RESPONSE to faith and salvation (eg.Acts 10:44-48, 2:38-41, 8:12-13, 9:18, 16:14-15, 30-34, 18:8, 19:4-5, etc.). In fact, every example I see of baptism in the NT is the RESULT of salvation. I do not see one clear example where it is the MEANS of salvation. Can you please provide me with one clear-cut example that would lead me to the conclusion that faith comes from or through baptism?

    I repeat my question from comment 48: in your view, what is it about baptism that saves you? Is it the physical water, the physical washing? The bible would seem to have something to say about this (Rom 4:5, Eph 2:8 and 1 Pet 3:2).

    The bible is clear that salvation comes through faith alone and Peter clarifies that it is not water washing the body that saves you. He says it is “not the removal of dirt from the body” (washing with water) that saves you but the “appeal to God for a clean conscience”. It is this appeal for God to wash your heart. It is the baptism of the heart (conscience). The outward, physical baptism is just a representation of inward baptism by which Gods cleanses your sinful heart because of your faith in the work of Jesus Christ to pay for your sin on the cross. He says it is done by the power of the resurrection of Jesus. It is Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection that gives us the ability to have a clean conscience, a pure heart, in God’s eyes.

  76. tiff Says:

    I know you feel you are right but i know what I’ve read. are you a christian? Because if you are you have a funny way of showing it. God would not have spoken to a person the way you just did unless they were right out being disobedient. I would’ve felt better as to what you were saying if you were not being rude on trying to be right. God bless and have a great day.

  77. philippians1v21 Says:

    Tiff,
    I am certainly sorry if you felt I was being rude. That was certainly not my intent. I genuinely apologize if I offended or hurt you. I honestly don’t know what I said that you thought was rude. If you could point it out to me, it would be appreciated. As I stated up front, I respect your right to hold your opinion. My intention was to simply critique the idea you were asserting, not to attack you. I don’t think I said anything to attack you personally. But, if I am mistaken, please point it out. Disagreeing is not the same thing as being rude. I can totally think your idea is rubbish, but that doesn’t imply I hate you or that you are my enemy. It’s ok to disagree. It’s even ok to refute and attack ideas, as long as you don’t attack the person. That was what I was trying to do. It is the same thing you were doing to me. I don’t resent it. Far from it, I welcome the dialog. I think it is healthy.

  78. tiff Says:

    A lot of people like to pick and chose what they want to believe from the bible. They only believe and interpret things that coincide with their lives. As for me, I am an apostolic pentecostal and we believe the bible as a whole, being our Manual for life. I believe every scripture true and correct and have had revelations concerning these such issues. We believe the acts 2:38 experience. For me, and many other Christians believe that being baptized by water is apart of the salvation process. God can do what He wants as far as the thief on the cross with Jesus goes, he is God.. That does not even make me question if we should be baptized or it being a necessity. I apologize too if I come off rude. never intended to be that way.

  79. jamala kennedy Says:

    Thank you for giving me light in the midst of darkness. I found hope and i now know there is no one greater than Jesus himself.

  80. Desperation Says:

    I am reaching out in desperation .I see that The Lord is the absolute only way to resolve the demons that run deep in my heart.I am 27 with 3 beautiful children and a wonderful wife.I am undeserving of all what The Lord has blessed me with.
    I have been a opioid addict for the the last 6 years . I’ve came to The Lord many times only to be embarrassed of my past and present sins. I can not even fathom the road to how I got to this current situation. Please forgive me lord!

  81. Roland Says:

    Don’t worry, just keep in mind that the Lord is not mad at you, he will never be! Our sins are not surprising to him, whenever we commit them…He’s the Lord our God, the God of love! don’t feel guilty and run away from him, that’s where the trap is! Instead even in your worst go to him, talk to him about it, for most of us God came into our life when we were total mess not when we acted perfectly…do not tell yourself that you are sn addict anymore! tell yourself that through Jesus sacrifice you are the son of God…no matter how long it takes or how many times you will do say it, one day you will notice that it completely gone!
    May I recommend you the book ” the power of right believing ” from pastor Joseph Prince, it’s a great material to help you out of addiction and fear.

  82. allen993 Says:

    I Have A Strong Faith And Relationship With God Because I Love Him With
    All My Heart And With All My Soul And I Obey And Keep His Word And His
    Ten Commandments And I Abide By The Law Of God In My Heart And I Tr
    ust Him As My Lord And Savior In The Person Of His Son Jesus Christ!

    PS The Lord Is One In Three Person!!!

  83. Dwight Dyson Says:

    Reading this has helped me with my relationship with God. This will help me to bring people to Christ. You wrote this with the simplicity that a chid can understand. May continue to God Bless you

  84. allen993 Says:

    I Have A Very Good Relationship With My Heavenly Father Because He Is My God And He Is The One I Am Thankful For Many Things In My Life And
    He Is Good And His Mercy And Love Fills My Heart With Joy!

    PS Blessed Is The Man Who Walks Not In Path Of Unknowers And
    Strangers But He Delights In The Lord Alone!

  85. Marion Harvey Says:

    In all the years I have tried to b a child of God I feel I havnt really achieved anything. Maybe we are not all part of his plan. We come to him but nothing really happens. Im over whelmed with family and life but under whelmed by God’s answers and presence in my life. I feel nothing for God. Im empty. I dont have any of the fruits of the Holy Spirit or the armour of God. I wish I was never born as it seems that God is impossible to please and then we go to hell. I hav asked God into my life more times than i can remember. I do nt feel truly repentant…I don’t feel worshipful to God or praiseful ..so I tell God all this in prayer and ask him go change and help me but nothing. I really dont get God. He says draw close to me i will draw close to you. Seek him you shall find. The promises are grand however the reality seems to b differant. My list gets longer and I feel no
    victory. Not sure how God thinks we can grow without his connecting with us. Im over guessing. As someone else posted….I feel like its a one way relationship. Are we supposed to b superhuman or something. Some people I know seem to hav this amazing life as born again Christians. ..full of the HS…..They hav lots of trust faith and love for God. They worship him …love church , reading their bible, praying and hav the fruits of HS. They wear their armour of God and nothing seems to phase them. My walk is a huge mess. I can’t bring myself to pray anymore. If I treated my children like this. …. I would b considered unfit and my children would b removed from my care. How is abandoning a child seen as love. Does God expect me to forget that I have responsibilitys and spend every waking hour on my knees crying, praying and reading his word that is confusing and hard to understand in order to receive from him ? I can’t even cry out to him. I feel as if I hav been cursed from child hood. I lack love …while I love…. I feel as though im missing enough of it. My child is self harming ..cutting herself to ribbons. I am angry but I feel i should be in tears over this and im not. Whats wrong with me ???? I should b feeling more ….beside myself in fear and upset. I hate me. My grandfather on my mothers side was also cold and had no love. I can’t fix me…..God can but he doesn’t. He blesses my christian friend no end…sometimes I wonder if she is making up lies. Her and her husband receive healing s and so much more and I just feel as though Gods love us not equal.

  86. philippians1v21 Says:

    Marion,

    It is good to hear from you again. I have often wondered how you are doing. It’s been 6 years since you made your original comment. I remember it well. I prayed much for you and worked on that response to you for quite some time. I have also prayed for you many times since then. I am very sorry that you are still struggling with this, and seem to have made no progress in the past 6 years. My heart truly did and still does go out to you.

    I have prayed about what you are experiencing and I do not have a specific word from God to give you. However, there are some things that do jump out at me from your comment that may be the source of (or contributing factors to) your struggle. It seems to me from your comments you are still trying to work your way to God. For example, you said . . .

    “In all the years I have tried to be a child of God I feel I haven’t really achieved anything.”
    “God is impossible to please”
    “Are we supposed to be superhuman or something?”
    “Does God expect me to … spend every waking hour on my knees crying, praying and reading his word … in order to receive from him?”

    The answer to the last two questions above is absolutely no! These statements reveal a profound misunderstanding of the gospel. I want to be very clear about something. Please be sure you understand what I am saying here: YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO EARN A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, OR FAVOR FROM HIM, OR CLOSENESS, OR APPROVAL, OR BLESSING!! You cannot earn these things by doing anything. In fact, the harder you try to gain them by working hard, the further you are from actually getting the relationship you desire. Did you catch that? The harder you try to earn it the further away you get!

    This is what I tried to explain to you 6 years ago. One thing you say is correct, “God is impossible to please” . . . for us. You cannot please God by your good works no matter how hard you try. If that is your plan, you will never succeed. The only way to actually get a relationship with God is to die to this plan of being “perfect”, “superhuman” and trying to “achieve” it yourself. If you could do this, you would have no need for Jesus Christ. That’s why Jesus had to come and die, because we can’t live up to God’s expectations on our own. Only Jesus could be “perfect”, superhuman”, and “achieve” a life that is pleasing to God. But, praise God, He did it! That means you don’t have to.

    There is only one way to gain a relationship with God and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ. You can’t try to go in through the back door. Jesus is the only one with a key to the gate.

    “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” ~ John 10:1-3

    Jesus is the only way to the Father. This is because he is the only one who lived a perfect life. Your only hope is to stop trying to climb over the wall into the sheepfold by another way (your own effort) and follow the shepherd through the gate. In order to do this you must repent of your sin (including the sin or trying to earn it), place your faith, trust and hope in Jesus Christ alone, and follow Him.
    This is ALL it takes. You can’t add anything to it. You can’t try to clean yourself up or get your life together first. You come to Jesus, as you said, with your life a mess and in your complete failure to love, and display the fruits of the Holy Spirit. You come with empty hands, with nothing to offer. You can only come like the tax collector in the story that Jesus tells. You cannot come like the Pharisee.

    “The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’”

    “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:11-14)

    It is my opinion that this statement maybe the root of your problem . . .

    “I don’t feel truly repentant”

    I don’t know exactly what you meant by that simple statement, but it carries profound implications. Do you feel quilt for your sins? Do you realize that it was your sins that caused Jesus to have to die? Do you realize that in order for God to fix the problem you created with your sin, God Himself had to die in your place? God took your cross. I think you should meditate on this some more. Ask yourself why you don’t feel repentant. There is a root of pride and rebellion there, I suspect. Until you can face this, admit it and confess it to God, you will not be able to have a relationship with Him. Like the Pharisee in the bible passage above, God will not hear your prayer. Until you come to him broken of trying to be good enough and earn it, like the tax collector, you will not be forgiven and God will remain distant.

    You said,

    “The promises are grand however the reality seems to be different.”

    Marion, I also think it is very important that you understand you cannot seek God simply for His blessing. Once you have a relationship with Him, I fear it will never live up to your expectations. This is because God never promises to make your life easy or even better (from your perspective). May people teach this, but it is a lie from hell. It’s called the prosperity Gospel. It’s totally bogus. Jesus did not come to make our lives easier, bless us with happy relationships, provide us with stable finances, and remove our stress. In fact, your life may (and likely will) get harder. What Jesus actually said was . . .

    “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33

    Jesus promised life would be hard. He promised that it would be full of trials and difficulty. But, he also promised it would be temporary. We are to take heart because in the end the world has been beaten and we will be victorious someday over all our struggles. The hope in Jesus is not for this world, it’s for the next. God doesn’t promise to make our lives happy now. You say,

    “Some people I know seem to have this amazing life as born again Christians . . . They wear their armor of God and nothing seems to phase them. My walk is a huge mess.”

    “I can’t fix me…..God can but he doesn’t. He blesses my Christian friend no end. . . Her and her husband receive healings and so much more and I just feel as though Gods love us not equal.”

    My guess is that these super-Christians have hardships and struggles you know nothing about. We often assume everyone else’s life is great and they all have it all together, but that is rarely true. I know that my life could be very accurately described as a mess much of the time. I certainly have my struggles with sin and my own physical and emotional pains and tragedies. But, I also know that compared to many, I am profoundly blessed. I have everything God has promised to provide me. That is food, clothing and salvation. The rest . . . God never promised. It’s simply not biblical to think that by being a good Christian or a better person you can earn or deserve to be blessed more. Look at Jesus. He was the ultimate example of someone who lived a life deserving of blessing. What did He get? Look at the disciples. Would you describe their lives as happy or blessed? Not in any way that we would probably want our lives “blessed”. I suggest you read Paul’s description of his life in 2 Cor 11:23-29. Sound fun to you? Do you think your life “deserves” more blessing than Paul’s? Obviously it’s not our merit that determines that, huh.

    You seem to be operating on a presumption that God owes you happiness. That somehow you have gotten a bum deal because God didn’t live up to His end of the “bargain”. You be a good Christian and pray and read His word, and in turn He blesses you with a good life. You’ve bought into a lie. It’s one that many (if not all) of us believe to some degree. The truth is that God owes you hell. Right now, it is only His grace and mercy that enables you to still be breathing and not suffering for all eternity. I encourage you to read this blog I wrote about this idea. http://missionarybrewer.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/rve-agrace-the-enormous-gap-between-what-i-deserve-what-god-has-given-me/ It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but it is nonetheless true. Everything you have, even your very life (which you claim to regret having) is a blessed gift from God. Your perspective is backwards.

    Additionally, God promised that all of our trails in this life are storing up reward for us in the life to come (Philip 1:21-24, 1 Pet 1:6-7, 2 Pet 2:9, James 1:2, 12). In a very real way, the harder we have it now, the better we will have it for eternity. You see others having what you perceive as an easy, blessed life. You should understand that God is fair and things do balance out in the end.

    If other Christians seem to have armor you don’t have (and nothing seems to phase them) it is probably because they have hope and trust in God that this life is not all there is. When life gets rough, their world doesn’t crash because they weren’t expecting it to be different. Their foundation isn’t shaken when hardships come because they understand that is part of the territory. Jesus promised it would happen. If you are having a really bad day, but you know tomorrow you are going on a vacation to Disneyland, it probably won’t affect you near as much as it would the person who is looking at today like this is all there is.

    It is also quite possible that you have yet to really repent of your sins, stop trying to earn righteous yourself, and fully trust Jesus to be your Lord, God, and Savior. If that is the case, it’s no wonder you don’t have this armor or fruits of the Spirit. I cannot know. That is between you and God alone. What I can say is that your comments seem to indicate a heart that has yet to do this. If I were you, I would spend a good bit of time considering that, and pondering the true Gospel. It isn’t about asking God to come into your life. For the person who has truly repented and placed their entire trust and hope in Jesus alone, there is no way to keep Him out of your life. He becomes your life. He doesn’t ask your permission to enter. It is all about what you are truly seeking.

    You need to seek Jesus, not because you want what He can give you, but because of who He is. When Jesus was on earth, crowds followed Him because they wanted what He gave. They wanted healings, they wanted a free lunch, they wanted to see miracles, they wanted a show, and they wanted him to end their hardship from slavery to Rome. You need to be honest with yourself and ask why you are seeking the Son of God. Is it because He is God and has the words of eternal life (like Peter in John 6:66-69)? Or, is it because you see Him as a way to get something else (like the crowd in John 6:26-40)? If it is the later, your true God is revealed. This is why Jesus frequently refused to do signs. People weren’t really there to seek Him. God will draw near to those that truly seek HIM.

    I will continue to pray for you, Marion. Please continue to let me know how you are doing. If you are able to release your life into His hands, fully accepting what HE wants your life to be (not what you want it to be) I know you will experience peace and freedom that defies explanation (despite the circumstances). But you must come to Him not for the peace but because He is God. I will pray for God to help you find what is causing your hang up.

    Jake McWhirter

  87. Roland Says:

    Hi Marion, I was reading your post and it brought to me to tears.
    Previous comments from Jake are helpful, may I add few things? I just want to help.
    Thinking of myself being in your shoes, I understand how bad the situation seems.
    I used to be self righteous, trying my best to please God by my own work (night prayers, fasting, bible reading), there is nothing wrong doing that but the reason behind it might be wrong, gaining his love is not the right reason for that. at best I lasted 6 months with that attitude then everything fell apart, and I started to feel a bit like you right now.

    There’s a misunderstanding about what repentance really means, it’s not about doing your best to please god or apologize everyday for every single sin you commit, it’s about the change of your mind, in fact it goes further than that, repentance brings freedom from stress, anxiety, condemnation, addiction, sickness, etc. Your change of mind is based on RIGHT BELIEVING, most of the time, ppl believe wrong even when they are born again and that cause them pain and suffering.
    Right Believing is about accepting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and the crazy love of God towards us, I don’t think God loves someone else more than he loves you, I think that some people understand and accept the love of God more than others and they see the good fruits happening effortlessly.

    I know that your situation is difficult but the solution is simple, FOCUS ON JESUS AND HIS LOVE FOR YOU.
    I know you are disappointed and sad, but try not to ignore God, and do these few things:
    1. When reading the Bible, please pray and ask God to shaw you Jesus in the text.
    2. When you start your day, say out loud that you are the righteousness of God and God is mad “about you” not “at you”.

    Faith comes from what we see and hear, that ‘s why this would help, doing it everyday will help you believe that God loves you more and more…and without you doing much or even understanding the events around you, you will be experiencing his love and the fruits of the HS abundantly. Don’t worry for your kid, pray for him, you are God’s child, your kid is under him too. God will help him because of you!
    I know you have tried lot of things, but please, try this,
    When you can, please go online and search for JOSEPH PRINCE, he’s a pastor who preaches about grace and the love of God, it was a huge help in my situation, similar to yours… Josephprince.com

    I will hear good news from you soon, take care!

  88. Marion Harvey Says:

    Thank you. How can you feel something though that you just cant feel. As in the repentant thing. How can we fix the heart and head thing in our life. God says forgive but try asking someone who has been really hurt to forgive so while they know they must forgive they just don’t feel it. Its all and good to say that we must this or that but we are all different. I for example cannot get my head around how someone can be attracted to someone of the same sex. Or that a man can desire a small child for abuse etc. As I don’t have these issues I don’t know how they would feel. How does one switch off the negatives in their life and become positive. I brought my feelings to God and I cannot help how I feel. I’m honest and I tell him. So I’m pretty much lost because I cannot get past first base. God says repent… he says love me with all your heart mind and soul …but I just don’t feel it. I want to ……Its not that I make a choice here . I would love to love him with all my heart and be repentant. I asked him to help me and I confess to him how I feel ..but nothing. My mum tells me of my grandfather …her dad. She says that he was an unloving dad to her . He would call the children hurtful names picking on their looks and shortfalls. I feel like its something that is passed on through generation to generation. My GF did nothing about it. He was ok to live his life in hate or whatever it was that he felt but I don’t want to be like that. I want God to give me a new heart and I prayed years ago for it but nothing happens. I get weak and give up. We can choose to act on something or to refuse it like homosexuals etc can choose if they want to act on their feelings or deny themselves….but there is no switch to switch on love and forgiveness, the intensity of how we feel sin. One person is devastated that they are sinners and repent with their whole being while others wish to but something inside is missing. I don’t know if you understand what I mean. Some ppl are attracted to God from an early age and others not. My friend was 5 when she gave her heart to the Lord and she never looked back. Another lady OI know was 7 and she wanted to go to the church up the road. Her parents were not interested so she took herself to church and never looked back. My daughter is 7 and when I offer to read to her from kids books about God she isn’t interested. I just don’t understand. Its like some of us just aren’t wanted. My friend met her christian husband when they were in their mid teens and married early. They have 3 kids. Their children grew up with 2 strong christian parents that have wisdom beyond imagination and a real way of talking to kids and teens about God. I married young and my husband was not a christian. He has been to church and asked Jesus into his life but nothing ever happened and he is empty. He has never had an experience from God. We have 9 kids and they grew up with no strong christian background or help.
    ´*•.¸(*•.¸♥¸.•*´)¸.•*´
    ♥«´¨`•° Marion Harvey °•´¨`»♥
    .¸.•*(¸.•*´♥`*•.¸)`*•.¸

    Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2014 00:57:45 +0000
    To: marionharvey8@hotmail.com

  89. Roland Says:

    Hi again marion,
    Your last comment was more explanatory than the previous one.

    I must start by saying that you are a wonderful person, you might not feel that way for many reasons but it’s true, you are wonderful! Even in the eyes of God, you are wonderful! I’m saying this because, I know many christian who have struggles in their walk with God, including myself but only few of us are this concerned with their relationship with God. You want him in your life, and you have strong feelings about it…that’s to me is proof that you love God already!
    Unfortunately, situations and events around us, blind us from believing that we love God and most importantly, that God loves us.

    I grew up in a family of nine kids, me being the first one. For a long time, we had no love for each other and our behavior were not helping when it comes to honoring our parents, it was a mess. One day our mum decided to add a “love prayer” in our evening prayers, we will ask God to help us love one another and love him as well, for couple of years things didn’t really change, until we started to cooperate with God (And at that time none of us kids was a born again christian ).
    What I mean by Co operating with God is that, things started to change when we started to perform acts of love to each other, believe me it wasn’t easy, we had to force ourselves now and again but slowly things started to work out, of course we kept on praying about it from time to time.

    I’m telling you about my personal experience because I want you to know that this happens to some of us, feeling that God doesn’t love us, feeling like our hearts are not on fire for God or feeling like we were not mad to love others. And sometimes, loving people around us just make it worse for us with their kindness, loving attitude and good life lol.

    But I’m here to tell you that there is a solution for it. The thing that we feel like a curse or something inherited from our parents or GF can be reversed, it reversible! I have experienced it!

    God loves us and that is true, his love for us never change, there is nothing we can do to deserve it, it’s just there…God himself is Love.
    In your situation and mine I found that, there’s a move that we need to make in order for us to see change, We need to try our best to act with love towards others, keep on praying about it and noticing the small changes. it’s all incremental, I don’t think there’s a need for feeling overwhelmed by the love of God at all times, the acknowledgment of the fact that he loves us is enough.

    Please just go through, 1 Corinthians, 13. It speaks about love. Whether you feel like it or not just try your best to practice what it says and slowly you will start experiencing your love for God and others and their love for you, your life will change.

    Let me know how it goes, I’m try to help as much as I can.

  90. philippians1v21 Says:

    Roland,
    Thank you for your words and your concern for Marion. What you said is right on.

    Marion,
    Sorry for the delayed response. I agree with Roland, your last comment does help us understand where you are at better. I do think you should take some time to wrestle through why you are coming to God and if you are coming to Him for what He gives or for who He is. Also, in all your comments you speak of striving for a relationship with God, but never specifically Jesus Christ. This could be simply how you verbalize it, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point it out and ask if there may be something more there. Have you accepted JESUS CHRIST as God and laid your life down at His feet? As I have repeatedly said, it is ONLY JESUS that can gain you a relationship with the Father. Where are you at with Jesus Christ?

    If you have truly accepted Jesus as God and turned your life over to Him, then you do have a relationship with God. There is no debate here. The bible makes it clear that no man can come to Jesus and make Him Lord of their life without the Holy Spirit (e.g. John 6:34, 1 Cor 12:3). Do you believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God? Do you believe He died on the cross for your sins and died in your place and rose from the dead, rescuing you from hell? Have you repented of your sin (made the mental change of mind Roland speaks of) and turned control of your life over to Jesus? If the answer to these questions is emphatically yes…you DO have a relationship with God. You ARE His child. This is true regardless of how you “feel”. Feelings are not the barometer for our relationship with God. This is the point I was explaining in my first response to your post from back in 2008. Feelings are fickle.

    You repeatedly comment that when you come to God “nothing happens”. However, perhaps it is that what you are expecting to happen isn’t what a relationship with Jesus is really like. If you are expecting some emotional feeling or high, most Christians I know don’t have this. Most people I know who repent and follow Jesus don’t have any emotional experience at all. That is normal. Some people do feel a rush of emotion, a release of guilt or weight…but this is not the common experience. Don’t expect tingly feelings, butterflies in your stomach or fireworks.

    What you should observe is a mental shift in you. You should now be progressively more concerned about things God is concerned about and progressively less concerned with the worldly things you used to be preoccupied with. You should begin to have new desires to love others and to honor God. Sins that you previously craved in desired should gradually have less appeal and draw. This isn’t always an immediate 180 degree switch. It is gradual, but it is noticeable. One of the most noticeable changes people often see is that they get much less enjoyment out of sinning than they used to. When we go against what we know Jesus wants, we are weighed down by guilt and not pleasure. This burden of guilt frequently remains until we repent.

    There are times in my life when I do “feel” very close to God. I can sometimes feel his presence and I am sometimes aware of His speaking to me. However, honestly this is pretty rare. Most of the time I feel nothing at all. I sometimes go through long periods of time where I can’t feel his presence. However, this doesn’t at all mean He isn’t there. We will have all eternity for intimate closeness with God. Our time here on earth is for God to grow and mature us. As a result, He doesn’t always allow us to sense His presence. This tests us and grows our faith and trust.


    “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing . . . God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” ~ James 1:3, 12 (NLT)

    “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” ~ 1 Peter 1:6-8 (NLT)

    “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” ~ Romans 5:2-4 (NLT)

    Practically, there are some things you can do to improve your sense of closeness to God. Are you reading the bible? I can tell you that almost all (perhaps 90% +) of my communication with God happens through the reading of His word. This is the primary way God speaks to us. Someone who isn’t regularly, frequently, and consistently picking up the bible to unlock the amazing truths it contains is effectively muting 90% of what God wants to say to them! I have never known anyone who has an intimate, close personal relationship with God who doesn’t invest in spending time in the Word. Please listen to this 11 minute reading on hearing God by Dr. John Piper:
    http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/the-morning-i-heard-the-voice-of-god/download/audio/full

    A relationship with God is like any other relationship in many ways. Let me give an example as an illustration. I once met Mark, the lead singer of the band Casting Crowns. I introduced myself and we shook hands and spoke for a while. He learned my name. He may even remember me, I don’t know. In a real way, I can say that I know Mark Hall. But, that is where our relationship ends. Other than that one chance meeting, we have had no further discussions or interaction. I know nothing about him other than what I have learned from hearing him speak. I don’t know his favorite color, how his day is going today, what his most embarrassing moment was, how he likes to eat eggs, or what his pet’s names are. I may know Mark, but I don’t KNOW Mark. Do you see? I am acquainted with Mark, but I don’t know him intimately.

    Ok, I’m going to throw some Greek at you, so don’t panic. You can follow this. To put the illustration above in biblical terms, I “ginosko” Mark, but I don’t “epignosko” Mark. Those are the Greek words in the bible that describe different levels of knowledge. Ginosis implies I have an experiential knowledge or awareness but it is fragmented or immature. However, epignosis implies I have intimate, firsthand, mature, clear, and deep understanding. The bible uses this term, epigenosko, when it is talking about an intimate, deep, personal relationship. Some examples are the way the Adam knew (epigosko) Eve (Gen 4:1) or the way God fore-knew His chosen people even before the foundation of the world (Rom 8:29). It can also be seen in Matthew 11:25-27 where Jesus says that no one knows (epigosko) the Father, except the Son and those to whom the Son reveals Him.

    This is what Jesus means when he says in John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” This truth He is talking about is, of course, Himself. He is the truth we must know (John 14:6). He is talking about having intimate, personal knowledge of Him. Not the way I know Mark Hall, but the way I know my wife . . . the way Adam knew Eve.

    There is only one way that I could get to know Mark Hall like that. . . by spending quality time with him, right? Your relationship with God is similar in that you have to spend time with Him to build upon and grow that relationship. If I never spend time with my wife we wouldn’t be very close. At the beginning of your relationship with God you do have some experiential knowledge of Him. You have met Him. He is now your Father. But like a newly adopted child, you need to spend some intensive quality time together getting to know Him and building that relationship.

    You need to set aside time to be just with Him and no one else. Go on walks with Him. Plan dates to spend time together. Talk to Him as you are going to bed and when you wake up. Tell Him everything. Ask Him questions. Bring every thankful, happy, or sad thought to Him. Joke with Him. God has a sense of humor. Bring every little thing that comes up in life to Him, it doesn’t matter how small it is. He is your daddy and He always has time for you. Nothing is too big or too small to share with Him. I believe this is what Paul means when he tells us to “pray continually” (1 Thes 5:17).

    You will continue to know very little of Him if you treat Him like He is some far-off, distant force instead of a real, close, personal friend. Unlike any other friend, Jesus promises to never leave your side (Matt 28:20). It is your awareness of His presence that is lacking, not the reality of His presence. You must think of Him as always there. He is part of every conversation you have and everything you do. As I go throughout the day I try to continually include Him in what is going on as if He was standing there right beside me.

    “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. . .” ~ James 4:8

    Listen and He will talk to you. It is hard to hear it at first, but it only gets easier with practice. However, the primary way that we hear and get to know God is through the bible. This is because Jesus came to earth to SHOW us the Father (John 14:8-14). He came so that we might know and see what God is like; to get to know Him. He was God with skin on! The Bible is our record of what Jesus did, who He was, and what He taught. It is the record of His disciples telling us and applying for us Jesus’ teachings. The Old Testament is about people and places pointing toward Jesus. It is ALL about Jesus. He is literally on EVERY single page. This is why John calls Jesus “The Word” (John 1:14). He was the physical embodiment of the Word of God. Now, we have this record of His life and it is a “living word” (Hebrews 4:12). It is alive and active. It is not just a dead book, like all others. It is brought to life when we read it by the Spirit of God in us.

    But, you have to work at it. Bible study is work. I suggest keeping a journal of your quiet time. First read the passage all the way through without stopping to help you get the whole context of what is being said. Then go back and look at the places where there was something you don’t understand or when you have a question and write it down. Spend some time praying over it and asking God to help you understand what He is saying. As you go about your day, think back over what you read. Try to apply it to what you are going through. I find many times the Holy Spirit will work in my life throughout the day and help me to understand the hard things. If not, then ask someone for help. It could be a bible study leader, pastor, or even a parent. You could even ask me. I am certainly willing to help.

    This will gradually become less work and much more enjoyable. If you do this consistently you will soon find you love doing it and look forward to your time with God. It is the highlight of my day. The more you read, embrace, love, cherish and understand the bible the more you will know the heart of God. It is a wonderful, amazing book written by the hands of men but breathed out by the Holy Spirit. Most people who call themselves Christians have a small understanding of God (or a relationship that remains distant) because they have a tiny knowledge of the bible.

    I love the Bible! I love it, every word of it. I can’t get enough if it. I spend countless hours pouring over it. I study difficult passages and mediate on its truths. My prayer for you is that you will grow to see this book as so valuable you can’t imagine living without it.

    [Dear God,
    Please help Marion to come to the place where she knows for certain that she is your child and that you love her so much that you gave your son up to die for her. Father, I pray (as Paul did for the Ephesians) that out of your glorious riches you may strengthen Marion with power through your Spirit in her inner being, so that Christ may dwell in her heart through faith. And I pray that Marion, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that she may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

    Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within you, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.]

    Your brother in Christ,
    Jake McWhirter

  91. Gertrude Says:

    Please pray for me because im in trouble ive lost my first love and that a relationship with God please pray for me to believe in God my brain forgot everything please i really need God in my life please

  92. Roland Says:

    Hi Gertrude,
    I like your urgency regarding the situation but you should not panic this much, you haven’t lost your relationship with. You might have distanced yourself from him, but you haven’t lost his amazing love towards you! God doesn’t change, he’s a faithful God!
    Just take sometime and speak to him, he will listen to you he’s waiting for you. Just tell him that you are back. Spend some one on one with him and all will be well.
    In Jesus name, I pray that the Lord embraces your return, keeps you in his arms and helps you acknowledge his love for you.

    Keep well and tell me how it goes!

  93. Eliane Says:

    This was very much inspirational, I gave my life to Jesus, long ago when I was in the end of 6th grade and know I am 14 turning 15… I believe in the power of the name of Jesus and that all authority was given to Him, but there is something, I do agree that God hates sin, it does clearly says in many books of the Bible that in God there is no darkness, God abhors what is evil and that God hates sin… We should remember that even when we sin God loves us, when we do not confess or do not understand and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, God still loves us, It does not mean we should sin, and not believe, all I am saying is whether we know or not know, God still loves us.. There are many pple who do not know God and His wonders, but God still loves them…

    So all I say is God still loves you.. Whether you are His child or not…

  94. philippians1v21 Says:

    Eliane,

    Thanks for commenting. I am happy to hear that you are a follower of Jesus and love him. Thank you for making the point that God loves everyone. This is certainly true, in one sense of the word “love”. You need to be very careful with that statement, though. While it is true that God loves those who reject Him, this love is not the same kind of love He has for His children. There is a special election love that God has for those who follow Jesus. This love is grace upon grace, going so far beyond what anyone deserves. The love God has for those who reject Him is of one kind, but the love He has for His children far exceeds it. Understanding the love of God is very difficult. It is further complicated by the fact that we have only one word for love in the English language. God’s love is more involved and complex than our typical concept of the word “love”. To better understand the love of God, I suggest the following book by D.A. Carson. It is actually available free online: The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God.

    It is very possible for God to both love those in rebellion to Him and to also hate them, simultaneously. Many people have incorrectly said that God loves the sinner but hates the sin. But this is not what the bible says. In fact, the bible says God hates the sinner (eg. Ps 5:4-6, 11:4-7, 15:4, 26:5, Lev 20:23, etc.). It is certainly difficult to understand, but all of these things are true: God hates sin AND God hates sinners AND God loves sinners. David Platt does a great job of talking about this in the following clip. I highly recommend you watch it:

    It is true that God loved everyone (the whole world) so much that He provided a way of escape from the judgment they are due. The love of God for sinners is best understood in context of the cross. This is how God shows love to the lost. All people have offended God, thumbed their noses in His face and turned away from Him. The bible actually calls us all God’s enemies (Rom 5:10, Col 1:21). It says that our father is Satan and we are already condemned (John 8:44, 3:19-20, 36). Those who are lost and without God are not His children. They are children of Satan. But God (because He is love) decided to provide those who rejected Him a way of escape, an opportunity to avoid His wrath, even though we were His enemies and He hated both our actions and our corrupted selves. In spite of this, He sent His Son to provide a way of escape.

    Many people will say, “God is love”. This is of course true (1 John 4:8), but it is also only one aspect of who God is. God is also just and holy. Did you know that the bible speaks about the wrath of God, His justice, and holiness WAY more than it does His love? His wrath alone is mentioned over 600 times! People will say, “But Jesus was this loving man who was so peaceful, nice and kind”. But, Jesus also spoke about hell more than anyone else in the bible! The very verse people quote above that said God is love (1 John 4:8) is immediately followed by this passage that talks about wrath and justice.


    “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to satisfy His wrath and take away our sins.” ~ 1 John 4:8-10

    Did you catch that last part? God’s love is linked to the ultimate display of His wrath…the death of Jesus on the cross. In fact, the justice of God is the reason that we even know what love is. We see that God is love because God is just. The two go hand-in-hand.

    Let me explain why. Anger is not always bad, it can be a righteous virtue. Anger is the correct response to injustice. God is aroused slowly and often withholds His response (Ex 34:6-8 and Ps 78:38) but He does get angry with sin. In fact this response from Him is necessary. So why is this response from God necessary?

    We can’t understand the love of God without understanding his wrath. The bible says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Ps 111:10). We need to first start our understanding of God with an understanding of His justice and holiness before we can rightly know what His love is. Paul starts out his presentation of the gospel in Romans with discussing the wrath of God (Rom 1:18). God’s love is not mentioned until the 5th chapter. This is why Paul starts here.

    God is just or righteous (same word in Hebrew and Greek). In fact, God’s holiness is His attribute that is most mentioned in Scripture (Some examples are: Deut 32:4 and Is 45:19). He does not (and cannot) overlook evil. If God did not punish all sinners he would be unjust, unrighteous. He must be angry at those who sin because God is good. His anger is directly linked to His goodness. He can’t be one and not have the other. In fact, the bible says that God is so holy that He can’t even look on sin (Hab 1:13)! God hates sin (Prov 6:16-19 and Zach 8:17). I believe if we understood how holy God really is it would totally blow us away. We would feel so dirty and ashamed of our sin. I think one day when we fully understand how ugly our sin is, we will start to grasp how we have wronged God.

    So you have these two huge parts of God’s character: His love and His justice. Both must be upheld. Both are equally important aspects of His character. One cannot be ignored in favor of the other or God would no longer be God. He cannot act outside of His very nature. If God just turned His back on all the evil, all the wrong things done in this world and just let it all go, He would be unjust. So the idea that people have, that “God is love” and therefore won’t punish them, is totally wrong. He must punish evil or He is no longer just. This doesn’t just apply to Hitler or Osama Bin Laden. It applies to my sin and yours. Either God is just or He isn’t. Wayne Grudem, theologian and Professor at Phoenix Seminary says it this way . . .

    “The Scripture points to two things [that are the ultimate cause of Christ coming to die for our sins]: the love and justice of God.”

    “The love of God as a cause of the atonement is seen in the most familiar passage in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). But, the Justice of God also required that God find a way that the penalty due to us for our sins would be paid (for he could not accept us into fellowship with himself unless the penalty was paid). Paul explains this was why God sent Christ to be our “propitiation” (Romans 3:25 NASB)—That is, a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath so that God becomes “propitious” or favorably disposed toward us: it was “to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins” (Rom 3:25). Here Paul says that God had been forgiving sins in the Old Testament but no penalty had been paid—a fact that would make people wonder whether God was indeed just and ask how he could forgive sins without a penalty. No God who was truly just could do that, could he? Yet when God sent Christ to die and pay the penalty for our sins, “it was to prove that at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26).”

    “Therefore, both the love and justice of God were the ultimate cause of the atonement. It is not helpful for us to ask which one is more important, because without the love of God, he never would have taken the steps to redeem us, yet without the justice of God, the specific requirement that Christ should earn our salvation by dying for our sins would not have been met. Both the love and justice of God are equally important.”

    Ok. There are some big ideas and large words in that quote. But hopefully it helps you to get a picture of the situation. God is just and therefore cannot let the penalty go unpaid. Jesus volunteers to pay the penalty so that God can remain just and display His love for us in a way that is completely unbelievable. This is why God couldn’t just wave His arms and forget all the sin. Nope, the debt had to be paid. The only way was for God to pay it Himself. He was the only one qualified to pay it. He alone was without His own sin. It had to be Jesus or we were doomed to hell forever.

    When Jesus went to the cross for us, God literally placed all of the guilt from our sins on Jesus (Isa 53:6, 12). Paul tells us that God made Christ “to be sin” (2 Cor 5:21) and that He became “a curse for us” (Gal 3:13). Hebrews says that Christ was “offered once to bear the sins of many” (Heb 9:28). Peter says, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). When Jesus was on the cross He became so filthy with our sin that God could no longer look upon him. God turned away, and for the first time in history Jesus felt separation from His Father. He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46)

    These verses tell us that it was God Himself that actually placed our sins on Jesus. But how could this be? In the same way that Adam’s sins were imputed to us (or bestowed on us) so also God imputed our sins to Christ, that is, that he thought of them as belonging to Christ. As a result in God’s eyes the penalty is paid. Additionally, God also imputed Christ’s righteousness to us. Not only are we not guilty before God if we have faith in Jesus, but when God looks down and sees you He see Christ’s good works, not yours!

    What you said about God loving sinners is correct, but we need to be careful in how we say that. This love is held simultaneously with His hatred of them. It is a love that is best understood by looking to the cross where His justice, anger, and wrath are fulfilled in combination with His love and mercy. Apart for a person’s acceptance of this sacrifice in this place, all that remains on that person is wrath and judgment. Hopefully that helps clarify your statement some.

    Jake

  95. Richard Says:

    Pray for me that I be delivered from “little white lies” I try not to lie and I find myself always repenting for them…please pray for me

  96. roland Says:

    Hi Richard,
    I hope you are doing well…
    Not sure if this is comforting but you are not alone in this situation, some even lie big times lol… but I agree with you, it’s not a good thing, God loves you, he knows that you are sorry, even before you repent.
    I will pray for you, may I also suggest that in your daily prayers just ask him to help you with this. We all stumble at times, but getting back up is what counts…just do your best to not lie but don’t beat yourself up if you do lie, just go to God and talk to him, this will refresh you and help you work again in order to not tell little lies. if you can fix things with whoever you lied to, that will be great!
    God loves you, never ever forget that, because, true love forgives.

  97. Michael Says:

    I have been struggling with this topic for awhile now. Ive been a Christian, but I thought that meant Jesus died for my sins and that’s it. For years ive felt that way. Now I feel like the past few months have been challenging so I can call on his name, so he can show me that he loves me here to lol. Its funny that i thought he didnt care about me in this life. He loves me! I am surrounded by unbelievers, thank you for writing this, im glad i could reach out to another person who has God in their life. Im starving for revelation and conviction in my life.

  98. philippians1v21 Says:

    Michael,
    Glad I could help. God cares as much about your life now as He does in the future. Being a Christian is not just a decision, it is a way, a path in which to walk. Following Jesus means just that…you follow Him every day. You pick up your cross and follow after Him. God’s desire for you is that you continually grow in becoming more and more like Jesus now, on this earth. You need to get in community with other believers who can help you grow and mature in the faith. You need to be in a church. I urge you to seek one out that teaches the bible accurately and where you can get into true community with other believers.

    God bless,
    Jake

  99. jet091986 Says:

    I am a newly confessed child of God through Jesus Christ!! On my way to spiritual health and honest living. Thank you Lord for delivering me and changing my life for the better. Amen

  100. roland Says:

    Welcome to the family!!!

  101. TT Says:

    Tee says;

    I very much enjoyed reading this message. It was straight and very understandable, clear. I`ve been in church for abot eight years now and have a wonderful sheperd that teaches and preaches Gods word of truth. Just want a better relationship with GOD and this helped. Thank you all.

  102. roland Says:

    You are welcome!

  103. amaka Says:

    Am happy because I know I have Christ living in me

  104. kuppuru Says:

    Good Day sir! I got some question…
    Do I need to read the bible everyday, go to church every sunday, attend bible study or prayer meeting every wednesday, join ministry, discipleship and other activities of church to have or form a relationship with God? If yes, how can I know if the church where I belong is a true church of God and Jesus Christ?
    About the money or tites you give to church, God dont need money or anything if you want to give back the blessings you are receiving why dont you help the other people who really needs help like in africa there are so many people dying there because of hunger, the one that receiving the money or tites you give in church is not God but the people who is behind it. This is only my opinion so correct me if im wrong.

  105. philippians1v21 Says:

    Kuppuu,
    Good day. I have tried my best to answer your question already here in this article. I highly suggest you read it. Christianity is not about what you do. It is about who you know (namely Jesus). Anyone who has repented of their sins, placed their trust, hope, and future in Jesus and believed He is the Son of God come to sacrifice Himself for their sin, is a Christian. It doesn’t have anything to do with what you do (as I have repeatedly said). Therefore, none of the things you mention make you a Christian or are required to be a Christian. If you died tomorrow and never did any of them you would still be saved and go to heaven, as long as you believed in Jesus and knew Him.

    However, this doesn’t imply that are not beneficial for you or even needed. I may not need to be a great softball player to make it onto my local softball team. However, this doesn’t mean I should never take batting practice or work on my fielding just because I already made the team. The better I get at these things the better player I become and the more I can help the team. Similarly, many of the things you name (attending church, studying your bible, praying, getting involved in ministry, tithing, etc.) are actions that you can take to grow in your relationship with God. The goal of all true followers of Jesus is to become more like Jesus. If that is not your goal, then I would certainly question if you every really ever placed your complete trust and faith in Jesus. I think it would help you to read what I wrote in comment #61 to Colby on this page.

    You ask “how can I know if the church where I belong is a true church of God and Jesus Christ?” This question highlights one reason why studying the bible everyday is beneficial and important. The best way to know is to filter everything you are taught at church through the Word of God. The more you read it, the better you will know it and the more obvious it will be when someone teaches something that contradicts it. The bible is the ultimate authority. If the church doesn’t faithfully and accurately teach the message of the bible, in full, then that is the answer to your question. But how can you know this if you don’t know the Word? How can you know the Word unless you spend time studying it?

    With regard to tithing, you are correct, God doesn’t need your money. But, that isn’t why he calls you to give. He calls you to give because money will control you if you do not fight against it. Jesus said that no one can serve both God and Money, he will hate one and love the other (Lk 16:13). He also said, “where your money is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21). God wants your heart to be in Him and His mission on this earth. God knows that we are emotionally vested in whatever we financially invest in. Thus, God calls us to invest in His mission with our finances so that our heart will not be drawn away by our money, but will be drawn toward Him. God asks us to give to help change us, not because He needs it. For more about tithing, I suggest reading what I wrote in comment #55 here.

    Giving money to the local church is not inferior to helping people in Africa (or anywhere else). Many churches do much charity work abroad as well as locally. Additionally, giving money to people in physical need without giving them the life-saving gospel is like giving someone dying of a bacterial infection some pain killer and withholding the penicillin. As Christians, we know that, no matter where people are or what their conditions are in the world, their primary need is for Jesus. Everything else is temporary. Therefore we should do both. We should help alleviate physical needs and suffering while using every opportunity to speak of the amazing Good News of Jesus Christ.

    Jake

  106. fancy Says:

    I have already accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I just needed a “refill.” I needed to confess my sins, and begin a closer walk. Thank u, I needed this. God bless

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