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Richard Bennett :: Chapter 9 How Can I Become a Part of God’s Family?

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Your Quest for God — Chapter 9

How Can I Become a Part of God’s Family?

The perfection of an artist’s painting, the radiance of a human face, the grandeur of a landscape—surely none of these can be adequately described by sound. Sight is needed.

During the early 1940’s, medical science made great progress in the field of eye surgery. So much so, in fact, that it had become possible to transplant healthy corneas from the eyes of someone who had just died into the eyes of a blind person. Dr. Sangster told us about his witnessing the results of the first successful cornea transplant.

Long before sunrise, Dr. Sangster accompanied two people to the beautiful Surrey Downs in England. One was a lady who had been born blind; the other was her eye surgeon. Layers of bandages had protected the patient’s eyes from any light on the days following her operation. Gradually these had been peeled off. Already she had become aware of a new sensitivity to light and was very excited. And now before sunrise, the last remaining bandage was removed from the eyes of this lady who had never seen.

That day the sunrise could not have been more glorious as the morning sun peeped over the horizon. Shadows grew shorter and green leaves silhouetted their delicate beauty on a backdrop of morning splendor. Birds busily hopped over the dew-drenched turf in search of their breakfast. The whole scene presented exquisite entertainment for a lady who could see for the first time in her life. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she exclaimed: “Oh, you’ve tried to describe it to me but I never imagined that anything could be so wonderful!” She then sat in silent awe before the splendor of God’s creation.

How would you try to describe the color of red to a person who has never seen? Or the drama of a sunset to a person whose eyes have never responded to light? It would surely be impossible. Words that describe visual beauty can have little meaning when they fall on the ears of a hearer who has no visual frame of reference. The perfection of an artist’s painting, the radiance of a human face, the grandeur of a landscape—surely none of these can be adequately described by sound. Sight is needed.

The same difficulty is encountered when a believer tries to convey spiritual beauty to a nonbeliever. Once while talking to a medical student who was studying for his final exams at Guy’s Hospital in London, I tried to explain the wonder of God’s love. “I just can’t see it,” he replied. I understood, but pursued the conversation a little further: “No, I don’t suspect you can, because you are like a man who is living in a dark room. I know what that is like; I have lived in spiritual darkness myself, but now I am outside where the sun of God’s love is shining.” “David,” I said, “if you are to understand the love of God, you must come out of that darkened room and into His sunlight.” That day David knelt to ask the Lord Jesus to forgive his sin and to enter his life. I will never forget what he said as he rose from his knees: “I never thought it could be as wonderful as this!”

Just as physical sight conveys the beauty of God’s creation to human experience, so spiritual sight relays the reality of God’s presence, power and love to the human soul.

After He had ascended to Heaven, the Lord Jesus, speaking through the Apostle John, gave a startling diagnosis concerning the spiritual condition of the people in the city of Laodicea. To them He said: You…do not know that you are…blind (Revelation 3:17 NKJV). Can you imagine a blind person who is not aware of his sad state? After the diagnosis of spiritual blindness, the Lord Jesus went on to prescribe His remedy. Anoint your eyes with eye salve that you may see (Revelation 3:18 NKJV). And how important that prescription is! Spiritual blindness requires spiritual eye surgery, which is the work of the Holy Spirit.

The first time you were born it was a physical birth. But that did not give you spiritual sight and understanding. If you are to find your way out of spiritual darkness into the light of the knowledge of the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:6 NASB), you need to be born a second time. Jesus said to Nicodemus:

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’ (John 3:6-7 NASB), …unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3 NASB).

So if you are to see the kingdom of God, you too need to be born again.

Like every other human being, you were born with a God-shaped vacuum in your life that cries out to be filled. This spiritual emptiness can only be satisfied by the incoming and indwelling presence of the Risen Christ. When you receive Him into your life as your Savior, the purpose and necessity of His death will be brought to fruition in your life. He did not die just to forgive you your sins; He died so that your heart could be made a spiritually clean place for Him to reside. And it is necessary that your sins be forgiven before He can come to live in your heart.

While talking to a young African believer, I became aware of his intense burden to share the good news about Christ with the young people of his country. The following week I was to teach the Bible to nearly two hundred pastors so I invited him to join us. Though we were then several hundred miles from where the pastors were to gather, I suggested that he travel by bus over the long, bumpy roads to meet with us. William arrived worn and weary but very happy to be able to learn more about God and His Word. William had not traveled on that overcrowded African bus just to have a ride! The bus trip was obviously his means of getting to the conference. His real purpose was what awaited him at the end of his journey.

Similarly, the Lord Jesus knew that the only way He could ever enter your life in order to fellowship with you and you with Him would be for Him to provide a way for your heart to be cleansed from sin. Although the forgiveness of your sins was necessary, your new life in Christ and your ability to fellowship with God were His ultimate desire for you. Can you be content with anything less? After all, this personal relationship with Christ is the very purpose for which you were created.

To know that Christ lives in your heart is to know here and now that eternal life has already begun. Christ’s indwelling presence brings His life to your life.

And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life (1 John 5:11-12 NASB).

Thus, it is not surprising that after my friend David asked the Lord Jesus to forgive his sin and to enter his life, he exclaimed: “I never thought it could be as wonderful as this!”

But How?

When people heard Peter preach about the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus, God gave them a desire to know the Savior. The Holy Spirit did for them what He is doing for you. They listened to Peter tell them that Jesus was Lord (‘Kurios’—Yahweh) and the Messiah of God. And this new understanding of who Jesus is produced in them an overwhelming sense of conviction and of their need of salvation. As they reflected on their own rejection of, or indifference to, the Crucified One—to the Savior Himself—the record tells us that they were pierced to the heart, and earnestly asked, what shall we do? (Acts 2:37 NASB).

Peter’s first reply to them was an exhortation to repent. Without repentance, faith is not real faith; it is merely ‘make-believe’ or ‘fantasy.’ Saving faith includes both an attitude of trust and a change of attitude.

When in simple trust you thank Jesus for what He did for you when He died on the Cross, your attitude towards God and towards sin has undergone a dramatic change. It is only then that the Holy Spirit performs His spiritual eye surgery and your mind begins to see things from a different perspective. In fact, the meaning of the word repentance is ‘a change of mind.’ So a genuine new-birth experience involves a basic change of mind regarding God and sin.

Regarding God: Repentance (a change of mind) rejects every false concept of God. I have seen people in Africa who, having struggled mightily with the pull of their old ways and pagan customs, have openly burned their fetishes after having turned to Jesus. I also have friends who have had to resist great social pressures, even having to face threats and danger, when they have turned from religious or social systems that were not true to the God of the Bible. Saving faith must be rooted in the firm conviction that Jesus is Yahweh—the only Savior God.

Regarding sin: When, by faith, you enter into your salvation experience, you will recognize your own sinfulness with sorrow and shame. Your change of mind (repentance) with regard to sin will mean that you no longer try to ignore your sin; you no longer try to excuse your sin; and you no longer hope that your righteousness will save you. Man’s righteous deeds are like a filthy garment before a Holy God (Isaiah 64:6 NASB). But when you turn to Jesus, you will have a desire to turn away from those things in your life that have been displeasing to Him.

Imagine an army corporal on leave from his barracks. One day he receives two letters. One is from a friend; the other is from his Commanding Officer. In the first letter there is an invitation to his friend’s wedding, but in the other there is a command from his superior to report for duty. There is certainly a difference between an invitation and a command. An invitation could be politely refused, but a command can only be answered either by obedience or rebellion.

Because God loves you and knows that sin will destroy your life, He does not invite you to repent; He commands you to repent. As Paul concluded his presentation of the gospel to the philosophers and bystanders at the university capital of Greece, he said: “but now [God] commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30 KJV). And, “all” includes you.

The miracle is that when you turn from your misconceptions about God and likewise turn away from your personal sin, and in so doing by faith turn to Jesus to acclaim Him as your Savior God, the Holy Spirit will work in your heart both to will and to do (Philippians 2:13 KJV) what is right in the eyes of God. Thus, God promises to those who truly repent both the desire to do and the power to perform the will of God. Only then will your life be transformed and reach its God-ordained potential.

As a friend, I urge you to receive the Lord Jesus Christ without delay. Find a quiet spot where you can bow before God in prayer. Of course, if you only repeat words in a parrot-like fashion, they will do nothing for you. The important thing is that you respond in faith to Jesus, who said: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me (John 14:6 NASB).

Now you may wish to close your eyes and pray a spontaneous response from your heart, or you may find the following suggested prayer helpful.

My Prayerful Response

Oh God, I have not known You and neither have I loved You. But I thank You that You have both known me and loved me.

I am a sinner, and of myself I can do nothing to earn my salvation. By faith I now turn to You, Lord Jesus, and ask for your forgiveness! I confess that I am a sinner and repent of my sin. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for dying for me and for offering me the cleansing and life-giving power of Your precious Blood. By faith I now place my life under the protection of that precious Blood.

Please come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and take control of my life.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, that by Your Holy Spirit I have been born again. It is wonderful for me to know that by Your risen power I am a child of God and will live with You forever!

And he who believes in Him…[trusts in and relies on Him] shall never be disappointed or put to shame (1 Peter 2:6 AMP).

Now, tell somebody what you have just done. Remember Christ lives in you, and He is all the strength you need to be able to speak and live for Him:

…If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10:9-10 NASB).

Pause to Consider

  1. How can you best express your gratitude for receiving a generous gift?
    Is it by saying: “please give it to me”?
    Is it by saying: “thank you“?
  2. Is it your feeling or your faith that gives you assurance that you are a child of God?
    For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8 NASB).
  3. Does your faith in the Lord Jesus include:
    • an element of repentance?
    • an element of thanksgiving?
    • an attitude of total dependence upon Him?
  4. Will you now thank God for saving you and praise the Lord Jesus, not only for what He has done for you, but also for who He is?
Chapter 8 Where Can I Find Life? ← Prior Section
Chapter 10 What Next? Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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