First steps for new Christians!

 

Many people want to know what the Christian faith is about. Who was Jesus? God, can He really be known? We seek here to answer not only these questions but why Jesus is important for your life and to point you towards how you can experience a life-changing relationship.

How it begins

Genesis is the first book of the bible and it simply means beginning.  If this is the first time for you to read the bible the first twelve chapters would be very helpful for you. You will notice that God is the author of all created things, God Himself exists outside of creation and even outside of time (Sun and Moon are later creations). The culmination of God's creation is man and woman.

You will notice that Genesis 1:26 reveals that man-kind are distinctive from all other created things they are made in the image of God. 

"Then God said, Let us make Man in our own image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Genesis 1:26)

This is essential to remember. People are distinctive from all other creatures because we are not just a physical body, not just a thought processing machine but we have a spirit. This means that man is tri-part having body, mind and spirit! It is easy to identify our body as it is visible, we also do not have a problem with the ability to reason as this is demonstrated. The spirit is by nature not visible but it is a real part of a humans reality.

Our spiritual reality

Another book in the Bible says God has put eternity into the hearts of men. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) This reality of being a spiritual person forms the basis of all our understanding about relating to God. As you read on in Genesis you find that God provides a wonderful garden for man and woman to live in and they are able to enjoy the fruit of this garden for their daily needs. It is clear from the first few chapters of Genesis that a relationship existed between mankind and God. There is an ongoing dialogue between man, woman and God. There is also clear provision for the daily needs by God. Something God also gives man, however, is a command:  

"And the Lord God commanded the man, You are free to eat from any tree in the garden but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil for when you eat of it you will surely die."  Genesis 2:16 

It is important to pause here and think about this. A relationship with God existed and this was based on being spiritual and following God's commands and purpose. We will develop this further later.

Enter the serpent (& evil)

Now as you enter chapter 3 of Genesis you find another character enter the garden of bliss and this helps us to understand the spiritual arena that we find ourselves in today. It is clear from the dialogue with the woman and the serpent that the serpent works against God, causes the woman to doubt, tells lies, entices and deceives. The bible does not clearly indicate this here but does so later, that this is the work of Satan or the Devil.

"When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her and he ate it."  Genesis 3:6  

Further to this story, we read that Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man,

Where are you? 

It is important to note the following in the progress of this story: man and woman both rebelled against the command that God had given. This act of rebellion brought a new dimension into their relationship, they were now afraid to meet with God! While God knows all things, he still calls out to man- Where are you?

The result of rejecting God

There is a cost when we reject of the command of God. You can read this in chapter 3 of Genesis verses 8-24.

A couple of the important points are: The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

"And the Lord God said, The man has now become like one of us knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever.  So the Lord God banished him from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken."  Genesis 3:24-25 

Notice that God in spite of man's rejection of His command he still shows His love by clothing them allowing them to find some dignity. Notice also how the relationship has now become marked by separation! No longer are they able to enjoy the presence of God walking and talking intimately with Him. Look back to point made earlier about Genesis 2:16.

The command of God was clear as was the penalty. God said you will surely die.  He was not referring to a massive heart attack but a separation in the relationship, spiritual death!

God's heart for you

This is a critical point to understand about new life. New life is for you and just like God's heart for Adam and his wife he is still calling out Where are you? 

This is the main story of the Bible; if you can understand this you will have understood its major theme restoring people to a living vital relationship with God. In the other part of the Bible called the New Testament you will find a book called Romans, wherein the third chapter this point is illustrated so clearly. 

"For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."  Romans 3:23 

Again in the sixth chapter we see written:

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 6:23 

It is important to dwell on the point of the condition of man as the result of this original sin.

Commands of universal importance

God has given to us commands too! Some of the key ones are found in the second book of the Bible called Exodus. Here in the 20th chapter, we can read

"And God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and out of the land of slavery. You Shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them, for I the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you nor your son or daughter, nor your menservants or maidservants, nor your animals nor the alien within your gates. For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord Blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Honour your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour. You shall not covet your neighbour's house. You shall not covet your neighbour's wife, or his menservants or his maidservants or his ox or donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbour."  Exodus 20:1-17 

Look through this list and ask yourself honestly have you ever broken one of these?

If I've broken commands what then?

Many of us, if we are honest, have broken many of them many times. This means that we too have acted in rebellion against God and like Adam, we judged as a lawbreaker and guilty of sin. It is important to see this very clearly and what the result of this is for us. While God loves people even though they have rebelled against His law there is a punishment to follow. 

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them." [Romans 1:18]

There is a clear reason then to respond appropriately to God. His desire is that people will have a restored relationship with Him. In fact, this is what people mean when they talk about the gospel, or the good news or new life. The fourth book of the New Testament is John and it says in chapter 3:

"For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 

How it fits together

You will remember from the beginning I told you that God has put eternity in the hearts of men but for many people, they remain in sin and separated from God the end result of this is a complete separation from God.

You will see that Jesus provides a means however for you to return back to God. Jesus is God come to earth to do a special work in a special way. He was completely human but also divine being perfect he took the judgement you and I deserved, even the whole world's sin upon himself and died in our place.

This has been a costly sacrifice! But one is which God has revealed His deep love for you. What you have to do is accept this gift. Some people feel this is too easy and seek to punish themselves for their sin. However, this actually denies the gospel and says that Jesus death was insufficient for my sin.

God, however, is still calling to people Where are you?  Hear the heart of God as he longs for a restored relationship.

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."  [2 Peter 3:9]

Hear the heart of God in this, God does not send anyone one to hell in a very real sense they choose to go there by rejecting or ignoring God's gift of New Life.

Jesus said:  

"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full."  [John 10:10] 

Jesus is about people restoring that which was broken. This is in essence eternal life. 

"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."  [John 17:3]

The path to a new life

To respond to God's call to a new life you have to accept what has been shown to you above namely: You like me have fallen from God's glory, we have sinned and as a result we come under the judgment of God as law-breakers.

Recognizing this is the first step. The second one is linked to it, you need to turn away from this life of sin and accept God's gift which is Jesus.

This is the only means of you restoring a relationship with God because only Jesus has been able to pay the penalty for your, my and the world's sin.

This rejection of the life of sin is not an easy step. It is not asking you to try to become perfect first, it is a rejection of the sinfulness of the past.

Thirdly you must trust Jesus as the means to restore this relationship with God.

You do this as explained in the book of Romans:

"That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."  [Romans 10:9-10]

We need to unpack this a little. Confess means to speak it out. Verbalising your faith is important it is a declaration. Jesus is Lord

This means that you are trusting Jesus with your life and you desire to follow Him from now on. You are in effect saying, He is my Lord, and I am placing Him as the first in my life.  Jesus was raised to life three days after being offered as a sacrifice on the Cross. The fact of Jesus being raised means that He has defeated death and demonstrates to you and me that eternal life is a reality to us and for us.

You must be clear about this because it is central to the belief in eternal life Believing in the heart, is again really important. It is not just blurting out the words I believe in Jesus but it is rooted in you that Jesus really is the one who gives you a new life.

Putting things right

This is a really important step. I would love you to make that step now. However, it is important to make this decision with clarity and sincerity. If you are not clear and want to know more why not get in touch with us (see contacts page).

I suggest in any case you read the gospel of John which will help to understand more about Jesus and will reinforce what we have already told you.

If you feel ready to make a decision why not pray this prayer out loud:

"Lord, I come to you recognizing I am a sinner. I realise that I have broken your commands and as a result, this has brought me under judgement. I turn from this life of sin in repentance and accept Jesus into my life, to be my Lord and Saviour. I ask you to give me your Holy Spirit and new life in Jesus so that I may live my life in fullness in the way you have designed it to be. Thank you for this new life. Amen"

What now?

Understand that your life is hidden in God in Christ Jesus.

"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."  [Romans 8:1-2] 

Nothing can separate you from the Love of God now!

Be baptized

In Matthew 28 verse 19 & 20 once people have come to faith in Jesus Christ there were instructed to baptize them.

This is an outward sign of an inward reality having taken place. It is commanded by Jesus so it is part of your testimony of this new life.

Continue on the Journey

For a person who believes in Jesus, we are following after Him. Joining with other Christians helps you to grow stronger as a believer.

Learn more about Jesus because as Matthew 28:19-20 points out we are to learn more about Jesus, what he has commanded us and to respond rightly to these.

Becoming part of a living community of believers will ensure you find the training and support in this new life.

We would love to hear from you as you start your journey and we would like to pray for you and send you some helpful material for this New Life.

Please refer to our contact addresses on this website. Looking forward to hearing from you.

May God continue to richly bless you. What now? Understand that your life is hidden in God in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 & 2 says There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  Nothing can separate you from the Love of God now! Be baptized. In Matthew 28 verse 19 & 20 once people have come to faith in Jesus Christ there were instructed to baptize them. This is an outward sign of an inward reality having taken place. It is commanded by Jesus so it is part of your testimony of this new life.

Continue on the journey

For a person who believes in Jesus, we are following after Him. Joining with other Christians helps you to grow stronger as a believer. Learn more about Jesus because as Matthew 28:19-20 points out we are to learn more about Jesus, what he has commanded us and to respond rightly to these. Becoming part of a living community of believers will ensure you find the training and support in this new life. We would love to hear from you as you start your journey and we would like to pray for you and send you some helpful material for this New Life.

Please refer to our contact addresses on this website.

Looking forward to hearing from you. May God continue to richly bless you!