Why did Jesus die for you? How do I know he died for me and for you? Can I earn this? Am I good enough for this? Is it too late for me?
I wrote a blog post awhile back. Think January 2015 back. I was reviewing a devotional book that talked about why Jesus came, and I was going over my thoughts on the blog.
I'm going to do a short four part series here on the blog. I don't have any guarantees on how fast they'll be out, especially since I want to take my time on these next four posts because they're over four very important topics that I could go on about a ton.
I got inspired to write this post series because I wanted to write a letter to somebody where I encouraged them with these four topics. At the time being, I can't do that right now, and after I made a list of all the verses (or just some of my favorites, actually) and saw how that took up two pages just to write the references... I figured there was no way I could fit all of it into a letter. Plus, this message I wanted to write in the letter is for everybody, not just this one person. Everyone needs to hear it because here are the four things everyone needs to know and accept before they can truly live:
Jesus died for you, and you are forgiven of all your sins.
God loves you so much.
God has a plan for your life wherever you're at right now.
We have such a beautiful hope.
I didn't include references for those four statements not because there isn't any but because there's tons, and I'm going to show you some throughout these four blog posts.
I also wanted to write these posts because I've wrote about why Jesus died for us on this blog before. I've written about God's love. I've written briefly about fulfilling your dreams and God's plans. I've written quite a lot about the hope. But some of those posts, like the one about why Jesus died for us, I (a) didn't necessarily agree with anymore, (b) didn't include many verses to back up what I was saying or for you to hear what God says (which is the most important!), or (c) I could elaborate more.
So this is to all of you. Each one of you reading this right now. And if you're thinking this could never be for you because you've done, XYZ or whatever sin you think is unforgivable, don't you dare tune this out. It is FOR YOU. Jesus died FOR YOU. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), and he wants you to believe that you are beyond forgiveness, that God doesn't love you, that you blew God's plan for your life, and that there is no hope for you.
And per usual, he is full of crap.
Want to know why? I'll tell you. Here's my letter to YOU. If you're a strong Christian and well aware of this, praise the Lord. You can use this as a reminder or share it with somebody else. And if you're on the complete other end of this, thinking you blew your life with some sort of sin or just your sin in general, this is mainly targeted at you. I'm going to use as much Scripture as possible, too, so don't take my word for it, take God's.
To whoever is reading this...
Wherever you're at...
I want you to know that Jesus died for you. He did that because he loves you so much, and if you join me through looking at the Scriptures, I'll get into that later. But right now, I want you to know that you can be forgiven of any and every bad thing you've ever done.
Let's dive right into it.
When I was looking up these verses, I was overwhelmed. I've known these truths, but just when you really process them and let them sink in... Our God is amazing.
First off, you can be saved. How? To put it simply, recognize you are a sinner and that you need a Savior, believe Jesus died for you on the cross for your sins and was resurrected, believe in ONE God existent in three persons--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit--and humble yourself and repent. Then turn from your sin and do your best to fight it everyday. I could write a whole post about that, too, but right now I just want you to know about God's forgiveness and grace extended to YOU.
You can be saved by doing that. Humbling yourself. That's the big thing. You must hate your sin and confess it, as it says here in 1 John:
But isn't that amazing? If you confess your sin to God--whatever it may be--he will forgive you. It's not too late for you. It's in God's mercy you're here now, and He is waiting for YOU. So let's keep going.
People love to rank sins. I used to do that too. And some sins can have worse consequences. If you kill someone, you're going to prison. If you curse God, you don't get a consequence like that, but that's still sin. And you're out of the game, too. Don't let anyone tell you that one sin is unforgivable or that by committing a certain sin it's too late for you. That's not true. You know why? Because if that's the case, we're all done. There are no good people. There are no better people. We are ALL sinners. And I get that right from the Bible:
We all need a Savior. Not one of us is good. I elaborate more on that in this blog post. This is where God's love and mercy comes into play.
Just let that sink in. We were all dead to our sin. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. That means you. But God saved us because of His grace. He saved you. You can't earn this. You aren't good enough. But God wants you anyway. Jesus didn't have to die on the cross. He was God; He could have done anything else. And who even said God had to save us? He does not owe us anything. But He did. Jesus did die on the cross. Because God had mercy on YOU. He wants YOU.
Also, let me talk to you about the last part. "Not by works, so that no one can boast." Have you ever heard a comment from someone saying something like, "God can judge me because I didn't commit that sin!" or "At least I'm not that bad!" or "God can hold me accountable because I'm not as sinful as that person!"
Sorry not sorry, but yes you are. And I used to make those comments too. Sin is not okay, and we should not tolerate it. But don't get prideful to the point where you boast about your goodness over somebody else's. I see this on social media all the time. I saw it just recently, in fact. Some people were talking about a criminal and the crime they committed, and this one person wrote basically that God can hold them accountable because they didn't commit that crime. He will hold you accountable, then, because the proud are going to get humbled. So listen to this:
You need God's grace for your own sins. Maybe you didn't commit a crime, but you've still got a whole other list of crap you've done. Sin is sin, and the verses from Ephesians say we were all dead in it. Now, don't tolerate sin. We can't let it control us (Romans 6:14). Don't say the crime a person committed was okay--it wasn't. But don't tell the criminal they're done for it. Don't get the idea that you're better than them. Because if they cry out to God, if YOU cry out to God, this is the response you get:
If you struggle with forgiving people or seeing people as God does, honestly, just pray that He would help you with that. That was me for the longest time! I remember when God broke me and humbled me. I followed a story of a criminal, actually, and when I first heard about the ordeal, I didn't really give a rip about it or the person quite honestly. But as I talked about in my prayer to God the other day, I had been asking God to show me patience. It was so amazing how He did that over the week where I followed that story. At the beginning, I remember explicitly saying, "He deserves to be locked up; he deserves to be alone in there." Now, given what the crime was, YEAH. He probably does need that. But there was no compassion in me saying that. Yes, it was the truth, but there was no love with it. I have to remember that even when I screw up royally, God gives me grace. He will do that for you. He's that loving and patient with you.
This was the first Bible verse I memorized as a kid, and for good reason: it's essentially the meaning of life.
God sent His Son for you. And if you believe this, you are going to have eternal life. You are going to have such a beautiful hope that I will write to you about later. Please, rest in this:
Praise the Lord. I am writing this letter to you because I want you to know those verses. I want you to know how much God loves you, and He will forgive you. He doesn't want ANYONE to perish. Including you.
You are part of that everyone. Jesus died for YOU. God wants you to come to repentance so that He can lavish His grace on you that He already demonstrated two thousand years ago. He wants you to know that, to grasp that, to believe that, to live in that beautiful truth.
You have that through Him alone, my friend. That can be yours right now. And since God's love is so great and beyond what any person on this planet could offer you, when you ask for forgiveness, YOU ARE FORGIVEN. Your slate is wiped clean.
Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Also, once you totally trust Jesus with your life, you are a new person. It doesn't mean you'll never sin, but you don't like your sin. I don't believe you can be a Christian and just do whatever you want or live however you want. It doesn't work that way. You're not saved, then. But if you do believe in Jesus and what he's done for you, and you allow the Holy Spirit to change your life, which is what will happen when you trust him, listen to this:
Whatever past sins you may have committed, they no longer define you because the Holy Spirit will put a hatred for sin in your heart (1 John 3:9). And if you look up that verse, it says "he cannot keep on sinning." That doesn't mean you will never sin again, but you will not be able to love your sin or just say you're going to do what you want. When you're born again, you are a new person, and the Holy Spirit will clean you up (Hebrews 9:14). He will do that for you, friend. Run to Him.
If you are reading this right now, it's not too late for you to return to God, but I discourage you to wait. Wherever you're at in this life, regardless of what anyone has told you about your sin, regardless of what sins you've committed, God wants you to know He loves you and will forgive you. Return to Him. He will take you right where you are.
And those are just few of many verses that demonstrate His forgiveness. The bottom line is this: return to God. He will forgive you. Right now. Wherever you are. He will take you.
If you're reading this and not convinced that He can forgive your sin, let me tell you that you've believed a lie of Satan. What's a sin that's beyond forgiveness, do you think? I'll tell you what this society thinks it is: murder. And murder is awful. But let's start there. Murder. Do you think that can be forgiven? Do you think this letter applies to a murderer?
I think yes. I think murder can be forgiven, and I think this letter can be for a murderer. Here's why I think that: I originally wanted to write this letter to a murderer.
Yep. I wanted to write this letter to a murderer because I think--and I KNOW--that even they are not beyond God's love, and I can't wait to write you all the next part of the letter over that.
And would I really know this without Scripture? No. So let me tell you about one of the Christian faith's big leaders. Surely you've heard of him. His name is Paul. He was Saul. And he was a murderer. He committed murder more than once, too. Here's just a few verses about him because I could talk to you all about Paul and his story in a whole other blog post.
Let's dissect this. This is before Paul was converted, and his name was Saul. It says he "was still breathing out murderous threats", and "He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem." So that's premeditation. He would've been charged with first degree murder.
But Jesus came to him anyway. Jesus saved Saul and made him Paul. Jesus saved the murderer. And why did he do this? Paul himself tells us:
Let that sink in. Jesus died for sinners. Jesus died for Paul. And Jesus died for you, whatever your sin is. And finally, rest in this:
Our God is amazing. Praise Him. And friend, please run to Him. Memorize those verses. Meditate on them. They are true, and they are amazing. I pray that each one of you reading this would see that and run to God, your Father who loves you enough to die for you when you did nothing but sin against Him.
If that's not love . . . I don't know what is. And that love can be yours. Right now. I'm praying you know that and own that truth. And then go share it and don't shut up about it. I love you all as my brothers and sisters in Christ.