PRINCIPLE 1: God loves you and created you to know Him personally.
PRINCIPLE 2: Man is sinful and separated from God, so we cannot know Him personally or experience His love.
PRINCIPLE 3: Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him alone we can know God personally and experience God’s love.
PRINCIPLE 4: We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know God personally and experience His love.
KEY QUESTION: How can a person who has received Christ know with certainty that he will spend eternity with God?
You can know that you have a secure personal relationship with God.
CONFIDENCE IN YOUR NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
You can be confident in your new relationship with Christ because you have been completely forgiven and accepted by God. Only Christ’s death on the cross is sufficient to provide this proper relationship with God.
READ Ephesians 2:8, 9 – Three important words in these verses explain the basis of our acceptance before God.
GRACE: Unmerited favor, an underserved gift
Q. What role did grace play in establishing your relationship with God?
A. You didn’t deserve this relationship nor did you earn it by any good works. Rather it is a free gift from God that you accepted when you received Christ.
SAVED: Rescued, spared from disaster
Q. What do you think this verse means by saying you are saved? From what are you rescued?
A. Romans 6:23 says that the final result of sin is death. When you received Christ’s death on the cross as a payment for your sins, you were rescued from eternal condemnation … from having to pay the penalty for your own sin.
FAITH: Belief, trust, commitment of mind, attitude, action
Q. What does faith have to do with receiving Christ?
A. Simply put, faith is believing or trusting God and His Word. When you received Christ, you put your trust in Christ and His death for your sin. You follow Him as Lord of your life. Instead of believing in your own ability to earn God’s favor, you now trust that you have been reconciled to God through what Christ has done for you. Not your works but the sole work of Christ on the cross for you.
KEY QUESTION: Suppose you were standing before God and He asked you, “Why should I let you into heaven?” What would you say?
UNDERSTANDING TRUTHS ABOUT YOUR NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
There are many exciting things that are true in your new relationship with Christ. Understanding these truths will help you build a firm foundation on which to grow.
Christ forgave your sin.
Read Colossians 1:13, 14. When you trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sin, all your sins were forgiven … past, present, and future.
What difference do you think it makes to know your sin is forgiven?
Christ made you a child of God.
READ John 1:12 – When you received Christ, you began a loving relationship with God. Christ came into your life and He will never leave you.
Christ came into your life and He will never leave you.
Read Hebrews 13:5.
Under what circumstances might Christ leave you?
According to this, how many times it is necessary to receive Christ?
Christ gave you a new life.
READ 2 Corinthians 5:17 – When you trusted Christ to be your Savior and Lord, you began a new spiritual life. God will increasingly produce many new qualities in you as you grow in Him.
Christ gave you eternal life.
Read 1 John 5:11-13.
On what is eternal life based?
When does a person’s eternal life begin? When will it end?
KEY QUESTION: If you were to die tonight, how sure are you that you would spend eternity with God?
These wonderful benefits are based totally on Jesus Christ. None of them can be earned. You received them the moment you placed your faith in Christ.
Are any of these truths especially meaningful to you right now? If so, why?
DEALING WITH DOUBT IN YOUR NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
Even though feelings are important, your relationship with Christ is based on facts, not on feelings that can change daily.
Doubt, questions, and varying emotions are common parts of everyone’s life, but they are very unreliable gauges of anyone’s relationship with Christ. The Christian lives by faith in the trustworthiness of God and His Word.
This train diagram illustrates the relationship between fact (God and His Word), faith (your trust in God and His Word), and feeling.
The train will run with or without the caboose, however, it would be useless to attempt to pull the train by the caboose. In the same way, Christians do not depend on feelings. Place your faith in the trustworthiness of God and His Word. The more you learn of His Word, the more you will be able to answer any doubts with solid facts. Your feelings will begin to respond to the truth of God’s Word and not your circumstances.
GROWING IN YOUR NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
Since you have:
1. trusted in Christ’s payment for your sin,
2. understood the basis of your new relationship with God, and
3. looked at five truths about your new relationship with God,
you can be confident in your new relationship with Christ.
Throughout this week, begin to make these truths part of your life as you grow in Christ:
- You are forgiven: Colossians 1:13, 14; 2:13
- You are a child of God: John 1:12; Romans 8:15; 1 John 3:1
- You are indwelt by Christ: Revelation 3:20; Galatians 2:20
- You have a new life: 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:4, 5
- You have eternal life: 1 John 5:11-13; John 5:24; 10:27-29
Take one truth each day and reflect on it. Read the verses listed by each truth. Thank God that this is now true of you.
Knowing these essential truths is critical to our growth in Christ. What happens when we struggle and fall short in our efforts to live the Christian life?
Remember: Your relationship with God is secure because, through Christ, you are forgiven and accepted by God. Your relationship with God is based on what HE did for you and not based on what you do for HIM.
In addition to providing this secure relationship, God also desires for you to walk closely with Him and communicate with Him throughout each day. This is called fellowship.
When we choose to sin, our relationship (our position as God’s children) is not affected, but our fellowship is interrupted.
Father-child example: Your relationship with your earthly father is permanent. No matter what you do, you will always be his child. But suppose you rebelled against your father and angrily left home in spite of his efforts to reconcile your grievances.
Would you still be your father’s child?
What would happen to your fellowship?
Consider these differences between your relationship and fellowship with God:
Relationship with God:
Began when you received Christ (John 1:12)
Is everlasting (1 Peter 1:3, 4)
Maintained by God (John 10:27-29)
Never changes (Hebrews 13:5)
Fellowship with God:
Began when you received Christ (Colossians 2:6)
Can be hindered (Psalm 32:3-5)
Maintained in part by us (1 John 1:9)
Changes when we sin Psalm 66:18)
How can we consistently experience fellowship with God?
THE NEED FOR GOD’S LOVE AND FORGIVENESS
Sin is a barrier for both Christians and non-Christians. Sin keeps us all from experiencing God’s love. But many people are confused by what sin is and what it is not.
What is sin? It’s more than cheating, lying, immoral behavior, etc. These actions are only the results of an attitude of sin. A simple definition of sin is: doing what we want instead of what God wants – both in actions and attitudes.
What are the results of sin?
For non-Christians, sin prohibits a relationship with God.
Read Romans 3:23.
What about unbelievers who try to live good, moral lives? Are they separated from God? Why or why not?
For Christians, sin inhibits fellowship with God.
Read 1 John 1:6-8.
SUMMARY: All of us sin. Therefore, you and I both need to experience God’s forgiveness for our attitudes and actions.
THE BASIS FOR GOD’S LOVE AND FORGIVENESS
Christ’s death is the basis for forgiveness to bring us into a proper relationship with God.
Read 1 Peter 3:18.
Christ’s death is also the basis for forgiveness in our daily fellowship with God.
Read Colossians 2:13, 14.
In the day when this was written, “list of sins” meant an itemized bond nailed to the prison cell door. It listed every crime for which the prisoner had been convicted. When the sentence was served or restitution paid, the authorities removed the list and wrote “paid in full.” The prisoner used this as proof that he could never be tried for those crimes again. The believer who trusts Christ’s payment for sin can never be tried again. You have full pardon from God.
What has God done with your sin?
How many of your sins did Christ die for?
When Christ died on the cross for you, how many of your sins were in the future?
What difference will it make in your daily life to know you are totally forgiven?
YOU CAN EXPERIENCE GOD’S LOVE AND FORGIVENESS EVERY DAY
Even though you are totally forgiven, you still need to deal with your sins on a day-to-day basis in order to experience continuing fellowship with God.
Put yourself in the father-child illustration. What would you do to restore fellowship with your father?
Let’s look at how you restore your fellowship with God.
Read 1 John 1:9.
Confession – agreeing with God about sin.
When God brings to your attention the fact that something you have done is sin, confess it. This confession involves at least three factors:
- Agree with God that you have sinned.
- Agree that God has already forgiven you.
- Trust God to change your attitudes and actions toward Him and away from your sin.
By turning back to God and away from your sin, you will experience His love and forgiveness provided by Christ’s death on the cross. Instead of guilt, condemnation, and punishment, your fellowship with God will be restored.
Confession – putting it into practice.
- Ask God to reveal sin in your life.
- List these on a piece of paper. Be completely honest as this is just between you and God.
- After completing your list, write over it the promise of 1 John 1:9.
- Thank God for the forgiveness He has provided for you through what Christ did on the cross.
- Tear up the list and throw it away.
How often do you need to confess your sins to God?
Confession – experiencing the results.
What should you do if you still feel guilty after you have confessed your sins?
Read Psalms 32:5; 103:12; Isaiah 43:25.
- What do these passages say about guilt and forgiveness?
- How would your life be affected by applying these truths?
- In light of what we have looked at concerning guilt and forgiveness, how would you complete this statement?
“When I have confessed all my sins, I __________________________________.”
GROWING IN GOD’S LOVE AND FORGIVENESS
Take some time before you go to bed tonight to apply the things you have learned about God’s love and forgiveness. Make a “sin/forgiveness” list.
Try to spend 15 minutes or so each day alone with God in Bible reading and prayer. Here are some suggestions.
- Read the story of the young man who ran away from his father and wasted his inheritance. The story was told by Jesus and is found in Luke 15:11-32. What does the story illustrate about our relationship with God, our forgiveness, and our fellowship with Him?
- Read Galatians 5:16-23. Notice the differences that will take place as you allow God to work in your life. As you become aware of an area of your life that displeases God, deal with it according to 1 John 1:9 and enjoy your fellowship with God.
- Read Psalm 32. What was David’s experience with confession in the psalm? How did he feel before he confessed his sin? How did he feel after dealing with his sin?
Understanding God’s great love and forgiveness allows Christians to enjoy a growing fellowship with Him.
But why are many Christians not experiencing the power God has made available to live the Christian life?
Remember: In order to experience God’s love and forgiveness you must confess your sin as you become aware of it, and turn again to your heavenly Father.
An amazing transformation has begun to take place since you received Christ as your Lord and Savior.
You are now beginning to live the Christian life, which isn’t a standard of performance nor a code of ethics, but a vital, personal relationship with a loving God.
Read John 7:37-39.
Unfortunately, not every believer experiences the power to live his life as God intended.
Just as our relationship with God is totally dependent on what God has done through Jesus Christ, so the power to live a dynamic Christian life also comes totally from God.
This computer has all the potential to do what it was created to do, but it has no power of its own.
Similarly, through your new identity in Christ, you have all the potential you need to live as a new creation in Christ. But, you must continually draw from the proper source of power.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE POWER SOURCE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Who is He?
Read 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18.
Why did He come?
- To glorify Christ (John 16:14)
- To lead you into all truth (John 16:13)
- To dwell in you (Romans 8:9)
- To convict the world of sin and justice (John 16:8)
What part does the Holy Spirit play in your relationship with God?
Read Romans 8:14-16.
- What does He desire to produce in your life?
Read Galatians 5:22, 23.
- How do you think these qualities of God’s character (fruit of the Spirit) will grow in your life?
Read John 15:4, 5.
- What does Jesus say we are to do in order to see this fruit produced in us?
- Which of these qualities would you most like God to begin developing within you?
- What does He desire to equip you to do?
Read Acts 1:8.
- What is a witness?
- What does it mean to you to be a witness for Christ?
- Why do you think the Holy Spirit’s power is needed to be a
The degree to which these traits are manifested in one’s life depends upon the extent to which the Christian trusts the Lord with every detail of his life, and upon his maturity in Christ.
One who is only beginning to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit should not be discouraged if he is not as fruitful as more mature Christians who have known and experienced this truth for a longer period.
MANY CHRISTIANS ARE NOT EXPERIENCING THE HOLY SPIRIT’S POWER
You became a Christian through the Holy Spirit’s work (John 3:1-8).
From that moment you have been indwelt by the Spirit (John 14:16, 17).
Though all Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, not all Christians are filled with (directed and empowered by) the Holy Spirit.
The Bible tells us there are three kinds of people:
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GROW IN CHRIST?
It means to increase in knowledge of Christ and love for Him.
Read Philippians 3:7-10.
Why did Paul count all things as loss?
Read Matthew 22:37, 38.
- There are more than 600 commands in the Old Testament. Why do you think Jesus singled this one out?
- How would loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind affect your life?
Just as it is a natural process for a child to grow in a loving relationship with a parent, so it is also natural for you to grow in your love relationship with God.
HOW CAN YOU GROW IN CHRIST?
If you met a guy or girl whom you enjoyed, what would you do to get to know that person better?
Communication is vital to any relationship, including your relationship with Christ. Since communication must be a two-way street, you need to let Him speak to you and you need to speak to Him.
Four principles of communication that will help you grow in your relationship with Christ as you walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.
God communicates with you through the Bible, revealing His character and His will.
Read 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
How would you define each benefit described?
- Which of those uses of the Bible would be most helpful to you right now?
- How would you evaluate the helpfulness to your life of the Bible reading you have done so far?
You communicate with God through prayer, sharing your thoughts, your needs, and your desires to do His will.
Read Philippians 4:6, 7.
Pray about everything.
Pray specifically – so you can see God answer specifically.
Pray honestly – share your needs and desires to do His will (1 John 5:14, 15).
- How can you know if what you are praying for is really something within God’s will?
You communicate with Christians (fellowship); gaining from their experience and helping them through yours.
Just as logs burn more brightly when placed together, so Christians need each other for warmth and encouragement.
- Why is it important to spend time with other Christians?
- How important would this be in your own life now?
- Where could you find supportive Christian fellowship on a consistent basis?
The Greek word for fellowship, koinonia, means “sharing in common.”
You communicate with non-Christians (witnessing); sharing your relationship with Christ.
Read 1 Peter 3:15
What would motivate you to tell another person about Christ?
SUMMARY: Read 1 Corinthians 3:6, 7. God is the source of your growth. You cannot develop spiritual maturity just by “trying real hard.” As you read the Bible, pray, tell people about Christ, and spend time with other believers, God will be at work in you producing fruitfulness and maturity.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT AS YOU GROW IN CHRIST?
List some characteristics that you expect to occur as God produces growth in your life.
2 Peter 1:5-9 gives us a picture of growth.
WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW?
Try to set aside time for personal Bible study and prayer.
A good passage is John 15:1-17.
As you read, underline particularly meaningful verses.
When a verse speaks strongly to you, 1) copy the verse on a sheet of paper, 2) summarize what the verse means, and 3) write down how you can apply that verse to your life.
In addition, some other suggested passages are the ones in this lesson: Colossians 1:9-12; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.
Join a Bible study group where you can enjoy fellowship with others who are also learning more about this new life in Christ.
Talk to someone about Christ.
Who would you like to tell about the good news of God’s love and forgiveness?
- When would be a good time to call to set up a time to see this person?
- Who would you like to have help you share this good news?
* Some of the above was taken from material created by Campus Crusade for Christ.