If you’re looking for answers about God and how to have a relationship with Him, we want you to know that Inland Hills Church is a safe place to ask questions and consider the claims of the Bible without feeling any pressure or embarrassment. We want you to explore what Christianity means in your own time and in your own way, and we hope that you will feel welcomed here as you investigate having a relationship with God.
If you’re wondering how you can take the next step in becoming a Christian, the following will be helpful to you.
You matter to God.
God made you, and He wants to have a relationship with you. You really matter to Him. However, all of us have disobeyed God. Our wrongdoings (what the Bible calls “sin”) have separated us from God and have broken off our relationship with Him. The Bible tells us that “everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). Because of our sin, we are no longer connected to God in a personal, intimate way.
Trying to earn God’s favor doesn’t work.
Most of us are aware of our distance from God, so we do all kinds of things to be a better person and to earn God’s favor. We often try to DO things to be good enough. That’s what religion is all about: trying to do enough good things to somehow please God, earn His forgiveness, and gain entrance into heaven. This approach of self effort can take many forms like trying to be a good or moral person, going to church, being a helpful neighbor, or donating to charities and worthwhile causes.
There is nothing wrong with these things, but the problem is that we can never know when we have done enough to earn God’s acceptance. Even worse, the Bible makes it clear that we can never do enough. As a result, the DO approach can never bring us peace with God or even peace with ourselves. None of our efforts can earn us God’s forgiveness or reestablish our relationship with Him.
Because of our sin, everyone must pay the price.
In addition to causing us to be separated from God, the Bible tells us that the sins we have committed must be punished. The penalty we owe is death—a physical death as well as a spiritual separation from God for eternity in a place called hell.
This makes our situation look pretty bleak, but the good news is that even though we’re separated from God, we still matter to Him. In fact, He loves us so much that He did for us what we could never do for ourselves. He provided a way for us to receive His forgiveness and restore our relationship with Him.
What we could never do for ourselves, Jesus has already done.
Jesus lived the perfect life we could never live, and He died on the cross to pay the death penalty that we owe for all of our wrongdoings. The Bible tells us that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Although we can never DO enough to earn God’s favor, Jesus has already DONE what God requires for us to be forgiven.
This is the central message of the Bible. This is what God wants each of us to understand. However, it’s not enough just to know this information; it’s not even enough to agree that it’s true. We have to act on it. God wants us to take a step of faith and accept His free gift personally.
You can accept God’s free gift today.
Each of us needs to accept and receive what Jesus has done for us. It’s God’s grace that makes it possible to have a relationship with Him, but it’s our faith that allows us to receive God’s free gift. We do that by asking Him to be the Forgiver and Leader of our lives.
The Bible says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9). God offers this free gift to everyone—a gift that we can never earn—but only those who step out in faith and accept it actually receive it.
We do this by humbly admitting to God that we have sinned, that we need His forgiveness, and that we want Him to lead our lives. You can do this through a simple prayer, which is just talking to God from your heart.
When we do this, our sins are pardoned, our debt is paid, and our relationship with God is firmly established. The Bible tells us that we are immediately adopted into His family as His son or daughter.
If you would like to begin a relationship with God, you can pray a simple prayer like this:
“God, I need you. I know that I have sinned and fallen short of Your standard for my life. I want to have a relationship with You, but I know that I cannot do that on my own. I need Your forgiveness, and I am asking You to be the Leader and Forgiver of my life. I accept Jesus’ payment for the penalty of my sin, and I want to begin a new life in You. Thank You for forgiving me and for loving me.”
If you’d like to talk with someone before making your decision, or if you would like to have someone pray with you rather than do this on your own, please contact the church office at 909.393.1577. If it’s after hours, you can press 8 to be connected to our on-call pastor.
Once you’ve made your decision to begin a relationship with God, it’s a great idea to tell someone. If you have a friend or family member who has been talking to you about what it means to be a Christian, be sure to call them. They will be very excited for you. If you don’t know of anyone to call, we’d love to hear from you at Inland Hills Church.
Receiving God’s free gift of grace is just the beginning of a great adventure. We’d love to help you grow in your faith. Please give us a call at 909.393.1577 for further help and encouragement on your journey.