Many people are confused when you mention the term “personal relationship.” Most church denominations do not teach this principal, yet God requests that you have a personal relationship with him. In fact, unless you have a personal relationship with Jesus, you won’t be going to Heaven! God will never force you to have that relationship. You can ignore and even reject God and live a fairly nice life and then die and end up in Hell without God. Having or not having this personal relationship with Jesus is what we call our “free will” choice. However, God sent the Holy Spirit to each and every person on earth to influence each one of us to accept God’s grace; that we might live forever in Heaven and that no one should perish and be without God forever. So, how does this work in reality? How can anyone be sure they have this relationship? Do we get it when we regularly attend church service?
Understanding Spiritual Models
Many have wondered how we can have this personal relationship and still be living in this world, alive and able to interact with those we love. Yet at the same time being able to hear and follow a loving, caring God who we speak with daily and who directs us in the things we do. God uses that still small voice, our conscience, to guide us in the correct choices we make in life. Understanding spiritual relationships is not any more difficult than understanding the models God has allowed us to have; our family, answering a door, the act of calling out to someone we know, indeed, knowing someone as a friend or enemy, becoming born again, simple belief – to believe in Him.
Let us examine a few of these models and the scripture that brings them to life in a spiritual realm. Then, let’s discuss how we can know our eternal destiny is with God and that we are not destined for the torment that can surely be ours if we ignore and reject God.
Rejecting God can be as easy as not acting on the truth. When God’s Holy Spirit moves in your life, He is letting you know to do something. The first time God speaks clearly to you is when you are presented with the Truth concerning how to have that personal relationship with Him. If, at that time, you simply refuse to do what God has inspired you to do, you are rejecting God. Perhaps at that time, you have chosen to ignore God instead. In either situation your destiny is clear. If you were to die before changing your mind concerning what God, through the Holy Spirit, has inspired you to do you would be sent to eternal damnation in the lake of fire and brimstone. That is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth in pain and torment forever and ever. When that is done with then we suffer forever more, a continuous cycle of unending torment and pain and without God’s help to intervene.
Back to Basics
Many of these principals are simple facts that cannot be disputed, we must simply embrace them and choose to either accept or reject them. Keep in mind, if we do NOT actively accept these facts, then you are rejecting them. Once we understand a spiritual TRUTH we must make a decision what to do with it. God holds us accountable for this decision. Effectively, we choose to either accept or reject God based on these Truths.
Many of the models discussed below came to us from our loving Father who knows our lifestyle, i.e.; how we live, what we do, etc. so He has tailored real-life models so we can understand His love and how He wants us to live. He uses familiar things to show us, through word pictures, just so we don’t miss what He is telling us. How many people have read the Bible? We need to understand that the Bible is God’s love letter to all of us. In it, He expresses the things He wants us to know or do. How we are to act and how we should live our life so we bring honor and glory to Him. If you are like most people, you just go to church and let “the church” sort through the things of God? This is EXACTLY why God requests a personal relationship with each one of us! Let’s discuss God’s models in some detail.
Born Again Model
We must be born again in order to go to Heaven. John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” But, what is this Born Again stuff? In the process of becoming born again we develop that personal relationship with God. How can we be born again?
Belief, “Believe” Model
To answer those questions, concerning being born again, we begin by explaining what it is to believe in Jesus. God sent His Son, an example to us in everything and asks us to “believe” in Him. John 3:16, 18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
In these two verses we learn that God loves us So Much that He sacrificed His ONLY Son to pay our sin debt! God points out that Jesus, His Son was the gift. “.. He “gave” us His Son…” God tells us we can either have eternal life or we can perish. Perish is a word reserved to describe what happens to those people without eternal life who will spend eternity in torment and without God. We have the choice, if we choose to believe, we go to Heaven and our sin is forgiven. However, if we reject or ignore God, concerning receiving His Son as our atonement for our sin, we perish to a place of eternal torment when we die. Did you notice the words “condemned already”? Understand, we do not have to do anything to live our life, die and end up in torment, we are condemned already! Notice the condition He specifies; “because we had not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” However, we must become born again, by believing in Jesus, in order to go to Heaven. We will discuss God’s meaning for the word “believe” in a short while. I assure you, it is not what you might think.
John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins.” Some of these verses make God’s message to us abundantly clear, there is no need to explain its meaning. Shall we choose to die in our sin? Our destiny would become the place of torment. Or, should we choose to believe in Jesus by asking Jesus to be our Lord and Savior so we will go to Heaven instead. What is your choice?
Most of the Bible is written in this manner. You simply read it and take it literally. The exception are the prophetic books and few others, where God wants the ear of the Christian ONLY.
The Family Model
Example: 1 John 2:1-3 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of]the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”
Remember that personal relationship we are striving to obtain and understand? “… and herby do we know that we know Him…….” Once we ask Christ into our hearts to be our Lord and Savior, we have that personal relationship with Him. God knows our frame. Concerning the words “… if we keep his commandments” He knows we cannot literally keep all of His commandments. In fact, this is not talking about the act of keeping the Ten Commandments. Instead, this is talking about the realization that we cannot keep the Ten Commandments without Christ in our life. God wants us to continually strive to do better. After realizing we failed, we need to ask God for forgiveness and then move on. Jesus paid the penalty for ALL our sin, past, present and future, on the cross nearly 2000 years ago.
Also, He begins with these words “my little children.” Understand, God is NOT writing this to just anyone, He is speaking to His children only. His children have that personal relationship and they have become part of His family. Now we must understand how to become His child! Again you are attempting to understand how to develop a personal relationship with Jesus by becoming His child. Do you understand the model of “our family” in how God speaks to us? He is our Father and we are to become His children. It can also be noted here that the entire book of 1 John is used by the Christian as a “measuring stick” of our faith as each Christian must examine themselves relative to Jesus and judge themselves in the sin we have done so we may be made clean again and again as we sin, by asking for forgiveness according to 1 John 1:9 and so we may change our life to become more like Jesus.
John 10:38 “But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father [is]in me, and I in him. In this verse, Jesus is pleading essentially, if you don’t believe in me, then believe in my works. After all, they saw the miracles He performed. He wanted them to know, however, that those miracles were only possible because He and the Father were One. Yes, we MUST believe in Him!
John 12:47, 48 “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Notice how clear Jesus is concerning personal unbelief; it is ok if we choose not to believe, because anyone who rejects Him will be judged in the last day by His words. Woe to those in this category!
God Tells Us the Meaning of Believe
John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even]to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
The action of believing is developed by understanding two words. Here we see what God means by the word “believe”. We tend to have preconceived ideas that the word believe is to “have head knowledge of.” Most people calling themselves Christians have this head knowledge of Jesus. As long as you attend a church, perhaps with pomp and circumstance of ceremony, that does not teach this personal relationship principal, you will end up in the lake of fire if you do not receive Christ as your personal savior. It looks good to the eyes from the outside, but there is no substance in its teachings. This head knowledge is NOT good enough to get you into Heaven, and Satan loves to promote places of worship that do not properly teach the personal relationship principal because he knows you are already his as long as you do not receive Christ as your personal savior.
God makes the point much clearer when He ties two words together; receive and believe, in order to become a son of God! God Emphasizes that we are NOT already His children, we must become His child. We must DO something to become His child, we must Receive Him, by answering the door……. Notice NOT everyone will receive Him. That is why He says “to them gave He power to become,” in other words ONLY those who will receive Him can become His children! Also notice that it is not of your action and not even by the will of man for you. It is only by the power of God that you get saved. This makes it abundantly clear that we must have a personal relationship with God. No one can do this for us. Not any church, not any priest or pastor, only God can save you.
Answering the Door
Remember, Jesus is our example so we will look to His words in Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” In this model example, Jesus is speaking and He says He is at your door and He is knocking…….. Can you hear Him? You see He uses these example word pictures so we will understand what it is that we need to do. What do you do when someone knocks at your door? Don’t you go to the door and open it to see who it is? If you like the person, don’t you simply ask them to come in? How simple is that? God presents us with yet another real-life model of how to begin that personal relationship with Him.
In this example, Jesus is telling us, Listen, if you hear my voice and open the door, I WILL come in…….. He lets us know how simple it is to ask Him into our heart. Just ask Him in, He promises to come right in! Not when things are better, or you are no longer in some sin, right away!
Will you answer that door right now? If you know you have never started that personal relationship with Christ. Ask Christ to come into your heart and forgive your sin and be your Lord and Savior right away. Open the door to your heart and begin that personal relationship with Jesus, He is knocking on your door right now. Jesus lets us know that He is no different than any other person who may knock on your door. He wants that personal relationship with each one of us. Think about this for just one moment. God created each one of us in the womb. He knows everything about each one of us. He simply wants us to ask Him into our life so that He can freely speak to you and guide you on the journey of life. Who better to have as a close friend than our creator himself? Now, how do we ask Him in? We call Him…..
Calling Someone Model
In Romans 10:9-13 we see yet another word picture for developing that personal relationship with Jesus. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Calling on Him has some preconditions. We must believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead, and we must confess Jesus, not our sin, with our mouth. If we meet these conditions and simply ask Him into our heart, we are saved and our eternal home IS Heaven from that moment on.
No, we don’t deserve it. But by God’s grace, we obtain that reward. From that moment on we owe every minute of our life to Him. Life from that moment has both gain in rewards in Heaven and loss in consequences for our sin. We will never loose our salvation, but we may enter Heaven “so as by fire” or just by the skin of our teeth so-to-speak, because of our sin. I want the rewards granted by Jesus. I will be honored to lay those crowns at His feet one day and that reward will be spent through all of eternity. Mat 7:20”Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Know that You are Saved, You Have a Personal Relationship
God never leaves us unattended without a purpose. He told us that He would send the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and that we can pray at any time for anything and that if we believe we have those things we asked for, He would bring it to pass. So, how do we know we are saved?
1 John 5:10-15 “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and]he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may knowthat ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
Notice these words are written in the present tense so we may KNOW – right now, that we HAVE eternal life – starting now.
Many who get saved do not understand how much God the Father loves them, but look; Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee [is]mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
If you have received Christ as your Lord be confident that God the Father held a party in Heaven in your name. That God the Father was found singing and rejoicing over YOU because you chose His Son to be your Savior and Lord. Now God the Father can rest in His love for you, because He knows you are safe and can never be separated from Him. You are on your way to Heaven now and God will not let you be separated from Him.
Words to Avoid
For those who reject Jesus and refuse His many offers for a personal relationship we see these words; Mat 7:21-23 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
These are the words you never want to hear, “…I never knew you…”. When the multitude is standing at the Great White Thrown judgment and Christ says; I never knew you! You had no personal relationship, you rejected me. Now, depart from me into ever lasting darkness, where the smoke never stops rising and the torment never stops, let us see those words;
Mark 9:43-48 “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Luke 12:5 “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” Fear the Lord, ONLY He has the power to control what happens to your soul.
Revelation 1:18”I [am]he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Those who Received the Mark of the Beast During the Tribulation Period
Revelation 14:11 “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Final Judgment at The Great White Throne
Revelation 20:13, 14 “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
If you will be judged by your works, you are on your way to the lake of fire. No one can earn their way to Heaven. It is only by God’s grace and through the finished work of the cross that anyone gets to go to Heaven. We cannot earn it. It is by grace, unmerited favor. There is nothing we can do in order to convince God we are good enough. We are redeemed ONLY through the blood of Christ on Calvary. Thank God all we need to do is to Ask Christ into our heart, it’s a free gift, Christ was the gift, given by God the Father. We need to receive that gift!
Redeemed and Thankful
Revelation 19:1-3 “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous [are]his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.”
Having a personal relationship with Jesus is easy to understand and it is a requirement in order to go to Heaven. Do NOT rely on your church, this is a personal relationship between You and Jesus. ONLY YOU can make it personal. If you must, look back in this article and DO what you need to in order to assure your place in Heaven. Remember, Jesus died for the whole world, it does not matter what background you may have. It does NOT matter what you may have done. It does NOT matter if you receive Christ now and in ten minutes you are put to death. Read Mark 9:43-48 above once again. Know that Jesus died for everyone, and once we are in Heaven there is no more pain, no more hunger, no more sickness. If you have lost a foot or an eye, they will be restored. As a Christian you have nothing to loose, however, if you have never asked Christ into your heart; you too will stand the Great White Throne Judgment. Reread this article and do what you need to do to assure your place in Heaven, based upon the Word of God, not any man and not any church.