A Biblical Explanation and Guided Prayer
God is morally perfect and loves perfectly, without fail. As for us, we've all faced countless situations where we knew right from wrong and willfully chose wrong. This selfish, unloving tendency is called sin, and it is completely contrary to God's all-loving nature.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23
Sin is more than annoying personal imperfections. It's grossly wicked - the very nature of Satan himself. Sin dominates our motives, thoughts and decisions, corrupting every aspect of our lives. Should we determine to war against it and stop sinning, it will only prove all the more enslaving.
But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Romans 7:23
Our sinful hearts are in direct defiance of God's nature and will. He absolutely hates sin and the harm it inflicts. And so, while God created us to enjoy a close relationship with Him, our sin causes a devastating relational breakdown between God and us. We lack right-standing (righteousness) with God, and no amount of good deeds can compensate.
It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore. Isaiah 59:2
God is the ultimate just Judge, and we will all stand before Him and give account. Since sin violates God's laws of love and justice, like criminals, we deserve punishment. More than that, we do not deserve to be in God's morally-perfect (holy) presence. And so, upon death, we are deserving of hell - a real, eternal place of immense suffering where not one of God's good attributes is found.
. . . each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment . . . Matthew 9:27
The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. Matthew 7:13
In His mercy, God alone made a way - one way - for us to receive His forgiveness and experience freedom from hell, sin and shame. On the cross, Jesus (the Son of God) took the punishment we deserve for our sins. Just as He died and miraculously rose from the grave, those who put their faith in Christ as Savior and Lord "die" to the old sin nature and "rise again" to a new life. Through Christ, we have right-standing (righteousness) with God, as well as a new, God-given nature that desires love more than sin. We are assured that, when we do slip up and sin, we can receive forgiveness, and upon death, we will be welcomed into Heaven to dwell with God forever. Amazing grace!
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8
. . . anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17
For those who put their faith in Christ, we not only have Heaven to look forward to, but we're given the ultimate gift in this life too: the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ) dwells in us! This means we can rely on His strength to resist sin and love far beyond our own limited ability. The Holy Spirit provides comfort, counsel, wisdom, guidance - every good thing we need to live an abundant life that pleases God, fulfills us, and uplifts others.
And I [Jesus] will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate [Helper], who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. John 14:16-17
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16
There's no official "salvation prayer," but if you feel you need some guidance expressing yourself to the Lord, use the following . . .
Heavenly Father, I humble myself before You and confess that I am guilty of sin. I deserve Your wrath, and yet in Your loving mercy and grace, You made a way of forgiveness for me. I repent of my self-reliant life of rebellion, and as an act of my will, I put my faith in Christ and His death and resurrection on my behalf. Christ, I look to You as my Savior and Lord. Heavenly Father, I now receive Your forgiveness for my sins and thank You that I am a new creation with a new heart and desires - the very nature of Christ! I thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to live in me and guide and teach me all the days of my life. I declare I am a beloved child of God, Satan's power is broken over my life, and I am a citizen of Heaven. Thank You for saving me!
Woo hoo! Welcome to the family of Christ!
The process of maturing in our faith and becoming like Christ is just that - a process. We encourage you to renew your mind by reading God's Word (the Bible) daily; consider starting in the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We also highly recommend you prayerfully seek out a community of Christ followers who will point you to biblical truth and kindly nurture you in your spiritual growth in Christ. The Free to be Me online course can help jumpstart your new life in Christ!