THE WAY TO GOD

By Dr. Bert Bauman

IF YOU ARE A SINNER this booklet will show you the way to God. He will give you forgiveness, peace, love and deliverance from the sin which is destroying you. "The soul that sins shall die …" Ezekiel 18:20. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23.

Of course there is no such thing as a human being with out sin. The bible teaches, "since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23; "The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any that act wisely, that seek after God. They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, no, not one." Psalms 14:2-3. "Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins." Ecclesiastes 7:20

Unfortunately, not all are mindful of their sins. Just as a person may carry a fatal disease undetected for years and be unaware of his illness so there are those who are being destroyed by sin without realizing the seriousness of their condition. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt: who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9.

When Jesus said, "l have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance", Luke 5:32, He was not implying that there are righteous people who need no repentance, rather, He was promising help for those who know and admit they are sinners. Only those who are aware of their illness will seek a physician while those who are not cognizant of their need will despise any help that is offered. On the other hand, if you are concerned because of the wall of sin which separates you from God, there is good news for you! God wants you to know without doubt that your sins are forgiven now and that you are a child of His, saved for all eternity. "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." Isaiah 1:18. "I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life." I John 5:13.

Following are twelve simple steps to help you restore your relationship to God. Make sure you understand and obey each step before proceeding to the next.

1. The Bible Is Your Guide

When you purchase a new automobile the manufacturer gives you a handbook, which, if you obey it, will enable you to get the utmost performance out of your car. If you abuse the car by ignoring the manufacturer's instructions it is unfair to blame the manufacturer. Should you damage your car, you do not take it to a medical doctor but you return it to the factory or its representative for diagnosis and repair.

God is the manufacturer of your life and he has given a handbook to enable you to get the utmost satisfaction out of it. That book is the Bible. It is God’s handbook for living. If your life is unsatisfactory, read the instructions that come with it and return your life to the manufacturer for diagnosis and repair. Do not be so foolish as to put your life into the hands of a philosophy or science concocted by man. Return to God through Jesus Christ who is His representative. "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time." l Timothy 2:5-6. The bible is the only book on earth which records the words of God and has preserved the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is the infallible word of God and has been so proved by millions of men and women over the centuries. Believe it.

2. Only One Way To God

In the bible, God has revealed a way for you to come to Him. It is natural for you to invent a way but do not allow yourself to be misled—there is no way to God but His way and He has already prepared it. That way is Jesus Christ! Jesus said of Himself, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." John 14:6. "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12. "Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:17-19." he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, . . .". Titus 3:5. Let it be clear to you it is impossible for you to save yourself. No effort, ability or skill in you is equal to the task. Nothing you can do will erase past sins. Once committed they remain to accuse you.

3. Sin Must Be Judged

Justice requires judgment upon a criminal. Sin is the transgression of the law of God by which He governs the universe. Doing hurt to someone in any way, emotional, mental, physical or spiritual is sin and God as a righteous judge and ruler of the universe must pass sentence upon the offender. That sentence is death, which is separation from God who is life. Shut out from heaven forever.

If God were to allow sinners in heaven without first changing them, heaven would become as full of sorrow and heartaches the present earth. Since we are all guilty of sin, all mankind is locked out of heaven and eternally separated from God. God has quarantined the disease of sin to keep it from spreading to the rest of His creation. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor

homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

4. God’s Dilemma!

Our rebellion has placed God in a dilemma. As the righteous judge He must destroy us — His loving father-heart wants to forgive us. But he cannot forgive for justice demands the criminal be punished.

If a judge had his own son brought before him, guilty of murder, the judge would have to pass sentence even though his heart broke within him for love of his son. His father-heart longs to say "I forgive you — go free", but justice will not allow forgiveness. If he said, "go free" we would consider him an unrighteous judge. When he passed sentence, we would say he is righteous—but hard of heart and legalistic. But suppose after passing sentence, he descends from the judgment seat, discards his judiciary robes and embracing the condemned son he says, "Son, I had to condemn you because you were guilty but now I forgive you and set you free, because I will serve the sentence in your place". Now we must say he is both a righteous judge and a loving father!

This serves as a crude illustration of what God did for you. Because of your guilt you are under God’s righteous sentence of death. But after passing sentence, He came to earth and became a man. This God become man was Jesus Christ.

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father". John 1:14. As a man He lived the life you should have lived and then He offered Himself as a substitute in your place taking upon Himself the penalty of your sin in your place. "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. "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:24. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21.

5. A Finished Work

The way to forgiveness and reconciliation with God is already completed for you. There is nothing left for you to do but accept what God has done. The last words of Christ before He gave up His Spirit were "it is finished". He paid the price for you. Through His death on the cross, you have been brought back to God. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot." 1 Peter 1: 18-19.

6. Giver + Receiver = Gift

Salvation is a gift of God’s love to you. If it is a gift, it cannot be earned. Your debt of sin is too hopeless to ever work off so if you are going to be saved, it must be as a gift. If you could earn your salvation by doing something, it could no longer be called a gift. It would have to be called your wages. But the bible says, "the free gift of God is eternal life". On the other hand it says we earn death, "For the wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23.

If you owed a man ninety million dollars you could not in a lifetime work it off through wages. It would be an impossible debt. But a wealthy stranger, knowing of your plight, offers to pay the ninety million dollars in your behalf as a gift of his love. You may accept the offer or refuse it but you cannot earn it. What would your choice be?

God offers this very same choice to you. You may accept or refuse conciliation with God, but you cannot earn it. What will your choice be?

Physical life is a gift. You did nothing to earn it. It is possible to reject the gift of physical life as some do through suicide but no one ever earns it. You can do nothing to get it. You can only accept and live it.

Just as God gave you physical life, He gives you spiritual life. It is totally a gift of His love to you. You can do nothing to earn it. You can only accept it and grow in it. But spiritual life is not a commodity, it is a person. We have already read the words of Jesus in step two, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life . . .". Jesus is God’s gift of life to you. To have spiritual life you must have Jesus. ". .. God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life." 1 John 5:11-12. Notice the scripture says God gave to you eternal life. It is past tense. He has already given it to you. But it is not in you. God has given you eternal life but He has put it in a safe place so you need not worry about losing it. He has put it in Jesus. "He who has the Son has life." Now then, if you have Jesus, you have eternal life, and He said, "I will never fail you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5.

On the other hand, "he who has not the Son of God has not life." You may think you have eternal life because of some nebulous religious experience or ceremony. Some think because they are members of a fine church they have eternal life. Others feel they have life because they lead exemplary lives, but the scripture makes it clear, life is in Christ alone, therefore, he who has Christ has life and he who does not have Christ has no eternal life in him—no matter how good his life may seem to be. Life is a gift. A gift is not a gift until someone receives it. It remains only a promise until someone receives what is offered. I may give you a gift, wrap it, put your name on it, hold it out to you and declare it to be a gift from me to you but if you turn your back or (for whatever reason) you do not reach out and take it, the transaction is not a gift. It remains a promise only. The formula is: GIVER + RECEIVER = GIFT. Will you receive God’s gift of life by receiving Christ now?

7. How To Be A Receiver

How do you receive a gift from God? In step one we emphasized the importance of the bible which is the word of God. Every gift God has given to man is recorded there for us. We receive God’s gifts by believing and acting upon His word of promise.

How do you receive Jesus Christ? Since eternal life is in Christ, it is important for you to know beyond doubt that you have Him so that you may be sure you are saved. Jesus is God’s gift to you. "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son..." John 3:16. To receive God’s gifts we must believe and act upon the word of God, therefore, you receive Jesus Christ through believing and acting upon the promise in God’s word. Listen to Jesus as He speaks to you now through the scripture in Revelation 3:20: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." Read this verse again ... slowly. Why does anyone knock on a door? (Because they wish to enter.) Knocking is a request for admission is it not? So we have Jesus asking permission to enter. Enter what? A house? No, He says, "I will come in to him", therefore, He is asking permission to come into someone’s life or heart. Who is that "someone"? The answer is anyone who will invite Him into his or her life. Do you want Jesus to enter your life and heart? Then, as best you know how, open yourself to Him and invite Him into your heart. Speak to Him as you would to a friend. "Dear Jesus, I know you are seeking my permission to come into my life and heart and I now open myself to you. Please come into my heart right now."

Did He come in? Remember His words, "if anyone open the door, I will come in to him". "Anyone" means you. Did you open the door of your heart to Him? (Yes). All right, you have done your part and Jesus said, "I will come in". He wouldn’t lie to you. Believe Him now. You invited him in and He promised He would enter if you asked, so on the evidence of His word thank Him for coming in. "Jesus, I thank you for coming into my life and heart this moment because you said you would and I know you do not lie. Amen! How you feel at this moment has nothing to do with the spiritual results of this transaction. Simply believe His word regardless of your emotions or inner feelings He has done what He said He would do. Allow no other thought in your mind than that! And continue to thank Him for giving you eternal life by coming into your heart! It’s all as simple as that. You are now a child of God through this union with Jesus Christ. All that He is becomes yours and all you are becomes His. You receive His life and righteousness and He takes from you all your guilt and sin. You have been born of God. "But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;" John 1:12.

8. How To Get Forgiveness Of Sins

There may be something in your past for which you feel strong guilt—some sin that haunts you. Or it may be a general knowledge of sin and failure in your life. Whatever it is, there is forgiveness and peace of mind and heart for you through Jesus Christ. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. This is the promise you must receive and obey to receive the forgiveness of past sins. First of all you must choose to forgive all towards whom you have a grudge or ill will. If you harbor an unforgiving attitude you will not find peace with God. Jesus taught us to pray, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Therefore, if you will not forgive others, God will not forgive you. Even if you do not feel like forgiving someone for a hurt done to you, you can still choose to lay aside the unforgiving attitude. Be absolutely honest with God. Tell Him you are bearing a grudge but you choose to lay it aside and forgive the offender. Then go on to unburden your soul to Him. "Confess" your sins. Whatever haunts you or comes to mind, tell God all about it without making excuse for your behavior or explaining away your guilt. Truly confess your sins. Be hard on yourself admit your faults and judge yourself so God will not have to judge you one day. Then ask Him to forgive you. Pray in this manner, "God my Father, I confess I am bearing a grudge against _____________, but I now renounce this grievance and I forgive him (or her). I also confess the sin (or sins) of (lying, stealing, hatred, uncleanness etc., be specific, relate the actual incident which haunts you). I now pray that you will forgive me for these sins. I know I do not deserve forgiveness for these sins but Jesus died for them all, so I ask forgiveness for Jesus’ sake. Amen." Now did God forgive you? Will you trust Him to keep His word? Remember the promise "IF we confess our sins..." Did you confess your sins? (Yes). Then, "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins". The if suggests a condition. You do your part and God promises He can be trusted to do His part. Your part is to "confess your sins", God’s part is to "forgive your sins." Therefore, if you kept your part of the bargain, you know God surely kept His for He does not lie. Are your sins forgiven then? (Yes.) How do you know? (Because God said He will forgive in I John l:9, and I believe Him!) AMEN! Then thank Him for so great a gift. "Thank you Father, for forgiving all my sins. Thank you I am now clean and pure as the snow because you forgave me and I now stand before you as a new born baby. Amen." Having received the forgiveness of your sins by faith, you must no longer allow guilt or accusation out of the past, because when God forgives He also forgets and He will never again remind you of past sins. Remember, your feelings at this moment are unimportant. Believe what God says regardless of your inner feelings. Continue to thank Him for His forgiveness.

9. Giving Yourself To Jesus

Jesus said, "I am come that they may have life and have it abundantly". John 10:10. If you are to have his abundant life Christ promised and have power to overcome sin, you must allow Jesus to be Lord of your life. Give yourself to Him. "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, to present your bodies to God." Romans 12:1. Pray, "As much as I am able, Jesus, I give myself to you." Rest assured that God receives you, for Jesus said, "Him who comes to me I will not cast out." John 6:37. Thank Him for receiving you as His possession.

Be Filled With God’s Spirit

Since you now belong to Christ, God desires to fill you with the Holy Spirit to help you in living the life of Christ. "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:13. Ask Him then and receive by faith the promised Spirit. "Heavenly Father, now that l belong to you, I ask you to fill me with the Holy Spirit right now". Did He do it? (Yes, He said He would). Thank Him for filling you. Your body is now the house of God. "Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit". I Corinthians 3: 16

11. Share The Good News

Matthew 10:32, "So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven." Romans 10:10, "For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved." Acts 1:8, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." Trust God for opportunities to tell others of the life and relationship with God you just found. Find someone immediately with whom you may share your experience. Perhaps a friend, relative or another Christian. Be specific. What did God do for you? (He forgave my sins. Jesus came into my heart. Jesus is my Lord. He filled me with the Holy Spirit).

12. Feed Your New Life

Study the bible whenever possible and talk to God as you go about you daily tasks. As a new born baby needs milk to sustain its life so you need the food of God’s word to grow in Christ. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." 1 Peer 2:2. Find a good bible-teaching fellowship of Christians where you can be encouraged and strengthened in your new-found life in God and meet with them regularly. "Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near." Hebrews 10:25.

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