Your Hope and New Life in Christ
Placing your faith in Christ is the most important life-decision you can make. It is the beginning of a life of experiencing God’s unconditional love and hope for your future.
Here’s your starting point for beginning to grow in your relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. The following principles are so important for you to embrace as you begin to follow Christ.
PRINCIPLE 1: God loves you and created you in order to pour out His love and grace on your life.
PRINCIPLE 2: All humans are sinful and separated from God by our sin, so we cannot relate to God in this condition.
PRINCIPLE 3: Jesus Christ is God, and He came to us in human flesh. He is the only remedy for our sin. Only through Jesus can you know God and fully experience His love toward you.
PRINCIPLE 4: You must individually place your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then you can know God personally and experience His love.
Your Confidence in a Relationship with Jesus
You can have confidence in your new relationship with Christ because His promise is that you have been totally forgiven and accepted by God. Only Christ’s death on the cross can provide this relationship to God.
Read Ephesians 2:8, 9 (NIV)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Three important words in these verses show how you are accepted by God.
GRACE: Undeserved favor, an underserved gift
Q. How does grace give you a relationship with God?
A. You don’t deserve this relationship, nor can you earn it by being good enough. It is an undeserved gift from God that you received when you placed your faith in Christ.
SAVED: Rescued, freed from captivity
Q. What do you think the above verse means by describing you as saved? From what have you been saved or rescued?
A. Romans 6:23 says that the eternal result of sin is death. When you believed in Christ’s death on the cross and received His offer of grace by faith – His death as the payment for your sins, you were saved from eternal judgment … He paid your penalty for your own sin.
FAITH: Belief, trust, reliance, personal commitment
Q. What does faith have to do with receiving Christ into your life?
A. Faith is believing or trusting God and what He says in His Word. When you placed your trust (faith) in Christ, you put your trust in His death for your sin. You have turned completely to Christ’s death on the cross to receive God’s favor; you now trust that He has reconciled you to God through what Jesus has done for you.
Your Confidence Regarding Your Faith Placed in Christ
Knowing these truths will help you grow in your faith toward God.
1. God has fully forgiven all your sin by Christ’s death on the cross.
Colossians 1:13–14 (NIV)
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
What difference do you think it makes to know your sin is forgiven?
2. Receiving Christ makes you a child of God.
John 1:12 (NIV)
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
When you turned to Christ, He created a new relationship between you and God.
And like a much-loved child, you will want to respond with a desire to follow and obey His Word.
3. Christ has come into your life and He will never leave you.
Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
… for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’
According to the above verse, under what circumstances might Christ leave you?
This means that it is only necessary to receive Christ once. From that moment on, you are eternally saved and secure.
4. Christ gave you a new life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
When you trusted Christ to be your Lord and Savior, you began a new spiritual life. God will begin producing many new qualities in you as you seek to obey Him and the principles of His Word.
5. Christ gave you eternal life.
1 John 5:11–13 (NIV)
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
These incredible realities are based totally on what Christ did on the cross for you. You have earned none of them. You received them the moment you placed your faith in Christ.
Now you will want to follow Him with all your heart. When you are loved so much, you want to please the One who loves you.
Dealing With Doubt in Your Relationship with Christ
Even though feelings are important, your relationship with Christ is based on facts, not on feelings that change constantly.
Doubt can creep into any Christian’s faith. Lacking assurance is a tool the devil uses to try to make you to doubt that you have been saved by God’s grace.
Your emotions (how you may be feeling) are not a very reliable gauge of the true nature of your relationship with Christ. A Christ-follower lives by faith on the basis of the promises of God and His Word.
The train illustration shows the relationship between fact (God and His Word), faith (your trust in God and His Word), and feeling.
The train will run with or without the caboose, but it would be futile to try to pull the train by the caboose. In the same way, a Christ-follower does not depend on his or her feelings (emotions) to validate their salvation. Place your faith in the reliability of God and His Word. The more you learn the Word of God, the more you will be able to answer doubt with fact. Eventually, your feelings will begin to follow the truth of God’s Word as you seek to follow Him and obey His Word.
Growing in Your New Relationship with Christ
In the days ahead, come back to these truths and review them. Maybe take one of the above principles each day and just think about it. Read the verses listed under each principle. By faith, begin to thank God that these promises are true about you.
Knowing these essential truths is critical to our growth in Christ. What happens when we struggle and fall short in our efforts to live the victorious Christian life?