The most important discovery in this life is the revelation that God loves you and invites you to experience a relationship with Him. However, many are separated from God wondering:
- Can God hear my prayers?
- Does God even care about me?
- How can I believe in God with all the evil in this world?
The separation you feel can be removed, allowing you to experience a relationship with God that will completely change your life. When the separation is removed you will know, without a doubt, that God is real and deeply cares about you.
So, what has caused this separation from God? Sin. Our sin has separated us from God. Initially you may think, “I’m not so bad, so how could that be?”
This is common thinking. We do not understand how horrible sin is. God is holy and righteous and cannot allow sin to enter His presence. He hates sin because He sees the destruction it causes. Sin is the root cause of everything wrong in this world. Sin has caused divorce, wars, child abuse, murder, drug addiction, rape, and the list goes on and on.
While you may not understand the severity of your sin, it has caused the division you have with God. You can even make light of it and compare yourself to others to lessen your guilt, but thinking you are better than someone else does not remove your sin.
This is what God said about sin as He spoke through his prophet Isaiah:
[A]but your iniquities have made a separation
between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
so that he does not hear.
While God desires unity with His creation, He wants us to choose Him and His ways without being forced to. He created us with the ability to choose right and wrong, and we constantly choose our own way over His. He knew this would happen, so He predetermined a way to remove sin from those who were willing to change.
It is not enough for you to say that you believe in God; you must be known by Him. You may ask, doesn’t God know who I am? After all, He’s God. The Bible is clear about our sinfulness and standing before God:
[B]For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
We are guilty and there is no excusing our sins, no matter how little or infrequent they may be. Sin separates us from the holy standard of God.
Most people rationalize if there is a heaven, they probably lived a good enough life to get into it. Often, they base this upon how good they are compared to others. After all, most of us are trying to live a decent life and be a good person. The truth is you are not a good person. Think about it, you cannot even go through one day without sinning.
The standard for getting into heaven is not based upon a comparison standard, it’s based upon God’s standard. His standard requires perfection.
[C]“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Perfection? How can that be? It can’t, without sin being paid for and removed.
[D]For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
We have redemption from sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus paid the price for our sins, so we don’t have to. Accepting Christ includes a decision to repent from your sins, which means turning away from them. You turn over your sins to Jesus Christ. He takes them upon Himself, and they are completely paid for. Past, present, and future.
[E]“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
What can be worse than standing before God and hearing: ”I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Think carefully about this… there is a possibility that you could spend eternity separated from God. The reality of rejecting Jesus’ payment for sins will leave the responsibility on us: living eternity separated from God.
[F]“I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”
[G]”But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
This group above describes all of us. Don’t lie to yourself and act like you have never worshiped something more than God or you’ve never lied. Be honest about who you really are. Jesus did not tiptoe around things when He called the ones ordered to depart from Him “evildoers.” This describes those who never get convicted of the sinful way they live. These people did “good” things in God’s name but He still never knew them. This is why comparing yourself to others is pointless, the only standard is how Jesus says we must live.
We can’t make excuses for bad behavior; we must admit our sin and stop making peace with it. You must be determined to stop bad behavior.
If you want to explain away your own sin and would rather be self-deceived, you don’t need to read any further. But if you know something is wrong, then keep reading.
There are three steps you will need to take where you can experience His presence and realize that He knows who you are.
- First, you must acknowledge that you are a sinner and have fallen short of God’s standards.
- Secondly, you must understand that your sins need to be removed to have your relationship with God restored. Only Jesus can remove sins. He chose to have our sins placed on Him as He died on the cross. He paid for your sins so that you don’t have to.
- Thirdly, you must commit your life to Christ and surrender to Him. You make the decision to start living the way He wants you to. This part of repentance, where you decide to completely change directions. It is not an emotional decision but rather a determination of your will to start living for Him. It is the best decision you will ever make.
These steps will require you to give up your pride and acknowledge that the way you have lived your life was wrong. Humbling yourself could be the hardest obstacle.
[H]But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Many people don’t even understand that pride is a sin. Your pride wants you to believe you can fix yourself, but you can’t. Even with surrendering your life you will need to see that you need the Holy Spirit to succeed. When Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, preached his first sermon this is what happened:
[I]Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
This perfectly showcases being known by God. They repent, are baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit. The separation from God is removed and the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you. This is what Jesus called being born again.
[J]Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
The time when the Holy Spirit comes inside you is when you know, without any doubt, that you belong to Jesus Christ. The separation is removed. When the Holy Spirit enters your life, it is life changing. You now are able to hear His voice. It is not just your conscious you hear, but His voice and it is distinctive and overpowering.
[K]My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (boldness is my emphasis).
This is how we know that God knows who we are. When we are convicted of our sins and desire to be cleansed from their destructive ways, the Holy Spirit is bringing us to a place where we can be set free from the bondage of sin. Don’t stay in bondage to that which will eventually destroy you. Surrender your life to Jesus Christ. You may have tried over and over again to be a better person, but you’ve always failed. This is because you need His help.
As Jesus was dying on the cross He cried out,
[L]…”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus, with our sins placed on Him, separated from His Father, felt the separation that sin causes as God the Father was forced to look away. How horrible that must have felt, and still He did this out of love for each one of us.
The only reason why God would say to you ‘I never knew you, away from me, you evildoers’ is because you never decided to give up your sins. As Jesus died on the cross, he took our sins with him. The work has been done. All you have to do is recognizing your sins were the reason the perfect Son of God died on the cross and repent asking Him to forgive you. Surrender to Jesus Christ and let Him pay for your sins and remove them.
The really great news is that Jesus’ last words before dying on the cross were not “why have you forsaken me” but rather
[M]He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
When he cried out “it is finished” he was referring to our sins being paid for. It is finished meant the debt was paid.
The salvation experience must include that Jesus Christ enters your life where He begins to change the way you live. No more lawless living. This does not mean you stop sinning all at once, but you begin the journey of allowing him to change you, one day at a time.
Has this happened to you? If not, it can right now. Just repent of your sins, ask him to forgive you and commit your life to Him. Then you can start this new journey by committing to do what He says.
And please do not take this moment and resist because this is the most important decision you could ever make. This is where your pride may kick in and you may start rationalizing that you are okay because you believe in God. It is not about whether you believe in God or not.
[N]Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Demons believe in God. Demons tremble because they know what lies in their future. They are separated from God with no hope of salvation. They made their choice. You are being given the opportunity to be restored to your Creator. No more excuses.
When you make this decision to give your life to Jesus Christ, you are raised from the dead just like Jesus was. This moment becomes the beginning of your new life. You can experience a new life where you have God’s peace and purpose.
Do not take this decision lightly. This is a choice everyone must make.
[O]…Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
[P]“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
Give your life to Him today. Today can be the day you are known by God.
A Isaiah 59:2 English Standard Version
B Romans 3:23 New Living Translation
C Matthew 5:48 English Standard Version
D Romans 6:23 New Living Translation
E Matthew 7:21-23 New International Version
F John 8:24 New International Version
G Revelation 21:8 English Standard Version
H James 4:6 New American Standard Bible
I Acts 2:37-38 New Living Translation
J John 3:3 Holman Christian Standard Bible
K John 10:27 English Standard Version
L Mark 15:34 New International Version
M John 19:30 New American Standard Bible
N James 2:19 King James Version
O 2 Corinthians 6:2 New Living Translation
P Matthew 7:24 New American Standard Bible