In pre-Civil War America, thousands of African Americans escaped to freedom by way of the underground railroad, a secret network of relationships and safe houses. Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave herself, returned to conduct others to freedom nineteen different times through this passage. Many of us today, while physically free, still experience various forms of bondage. There is still a need for spiritual and lasting freedom. This need exists because, in our search for freedom and personal fulfillment, we make choices that lead us away from, instead of toward a relationship with our creator, God. This resource will help you consider four principles that describe the passage to true freedom and a personal relationship with God.
God created you in His image. He wants you to know Him personally, so you may experience the love, peace and freedom He offers.
(References contained in this resource should be read in context from the Bible whenever possible.)
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).
What prevents us from experiencing the life of love and freedom God desires for us?
People are sinful. Sin keeps us from knowing God personally and from experiencing His love, peace and freedom. Sin enslaves, blocks and separates us from God.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23).
Sin is our innate refusal to go God’s way and instead we go our own way and do our own thing.
God is holy. That means He is perfect in who He is and all He does. Our sinful nature and actions offend God’s holy nature and result in a broken relationship and separation from Him.
“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.’” (John 8:34).
“For the wages of sin is death …” [spiritual separation from God and His life] (Romans 6:23).
Wages = Penalty
People are sinful and separated from a holy God by a great gap. We may try to cross that gap by living a good life, not harming anyone, attending church or other religious meetings, or by giving money to our favorite charities. All of these efforts fail because the sinful condition of the heart remains unchanged, enslaved to sin.
The third principle explains the only way to cross this gap …
Jesus Christ came to provide the passage back to God. Jesus Christ alone forgives and removes our sins so we can know God personally and experience His love, peace and freedom forever.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God ...” (1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus Christ was able to pay the penalty for our sins because He is free from sin. Even His enemies could not find Him guilty of any wrongdoing.
“Christ died for our sins ... He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures … He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep...” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).
Christ’s resurrection proved that He has the power over death to enable us to live eternally with God.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6).
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
This diagram shows that God has bridged the gap which separates us from Him. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins, in our place. In this way He paid the death penalty that we deserve.
What would a person need to do in order to know God and experience the love and freedom from sin that He offers?
We must individually receive Jesus Christ, because only He provides the passage to God. Only then can we experience His love, and live in freedom for eternity.
“But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12).
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Faith = trust, dependence on God
[Jesus speaking] “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b).
Knowing intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is not enough. Having an emotional experience will not free you to experience His love, peace and freedom.
We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of our will.
These two circles represent two kinds of lives or paths that people choose.
Christ is outside the life. The different areas of life represented by the dots are self-directed and not in harmony with God’s desires.
Christ is in the life. This person has received Christ and His forgiveness for their sins. Christ directs every area of life, resulting in harmony with God’s desire and plan.
Which circle represents your life right now?
Which circle would you like to represent your life?
The following explains how you can change paths and receive Christ.
(Prayer is just talking with God)
God is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. You must mean what you pray, for God knows your heart and your cannot deceive Him.
Here is a suggested prayer:
Jesus Christ, I need You. I confess that I have been running my own life and have sinned against You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Please come into my life and forgive my sins and set me free. Begin directing my life. Make me into the person you created me to be. Thank You for answering my prayer by coming into my life and giving me eternal life. Amen.
Does this prayer express your heart's desire?
If it does, pray this prayer right now and Christ will come into your life as He promised.
Did you ask Christ to come into you life? How do you know He answered your prayer and came into your life? You can know that Christ is in your life because of the promise of 1 John 4:14,15:
“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”
God and His Word are completely trustworthy.
“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:11-13).
Thank God daily that Christ is in your life and He will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5). You can know on the basis of His promise that Christ lives in you, and you have eternal life from the moment you invited Him in. He will not deceive you.
What if you don’t feel different?
This train diagram illustrates the relationship between fact (God and His Word), faith (our trust in God and His Word), and feelings (the result of our faith and obedience). Read John 14:21.
The train will run with or without the caboose (feeling). In the same way, we as Christians do not depend on feelings or emotions. We rely on the promises of God’s Word, not our feelings. The Christian lives by faith in God and His Word.
The moment you received Christ by faith, as an act of your will, many things happened, including the following:
Being freed and loved by Christ is all good!
Would you like to thank God in prayer right now for what He has done for you?
By thanking God, you demonstrate your faith.
To enjoy your new relationship with God to the fullest ...
Our relationship with Christ grows as we trust God more and more with every details of our lives. “The righteous will live by faith” (Galatians 3:11). This trust develops as we:
God’s Word admonishes us not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together ...” (Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:42-47). Several logs burn brightly together; but put one aside and its fire goes out. So it is with your relationship to other Christians. If you do not belong to a church, do not wait to be involved. Take the first step; call the pastor of a nearby church where Christ is honored and His Word is preached. Start this week and make plans to attend regularly.
Now Live it!
01: Share the Gospel
The Passage is a resource created by Impact ministries, and information about the resouce, including links to purchase booklets of the resource can be found here.