KGP Principle 4: Our Response

Principle 4: our response

So you and I were created in the image of God, and we were intended to have close relationship with this perfect God. However, we fall short of perfection and are therefore separated from God. God sent Jesus, who was sinless, to die on our behalf and to conquer death so our relationship with God could be restored. 
For our relationship with God to be fully restored, we must each respond to Jesus’ sacrifice by declaring our belief in what Jesus did for us.
We describe that as “placing our faith in Jesus,” or as “receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.”
In doing so, we can experience the love and the relationship with God that He intended from the start. And in doing so, we become a part of the family of God and experience freedom from the consequences of sin.
Main Point | It’s not enough to believe in God and/or understand conceptually what Jesus has accomplished by dying on the cross. Each of us need to decide whether we accept that what the Bible teaches about God, about us and about Jesus is true. When we do that, we declare that control of our lives is no longer in our hands, that we submit to God as the One to whom we are accountable. That’s what we mean when we say you “give your life to Jesus.” 
Principle 4 can be broken down into four main truths:
  • We must “receive” Christ by believing what the Bible teaches about His life, death, and resurrection
  • We receive Christ through faith, not through works
  • We experience love and freedom when we receive Christ
  • We enter into the family of God when we receive Christ

1. We Must "Receive Christ"

But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

We have not just been saved from the penalty of sin, but we have been welcomed into the family of God as heirs. The adoption papers have been sealed and stamped with His promise, even as flawed and unworthy people.

2. We Receive Christ Through Faith

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

pause and reflect

Write a note: How would you define the word grace?

If you chose the last option, you are correct. Grace means to receive a valuable gift, something that is unmerited, unwarranted, unearned and free. 
For Example | Let’s say you don’t own a car, so you borrow a family member’s car to run to the grocery store. On the way, you crash the car. Instead of making you pay for the damages, your family member tells you that you owe them nothing. That is mercy—withholding the punishment you deserve. Next, your family member decides to buy you a new car. That is grace—getting a gift that you do not deserve. 
Write a note: It says we receive our salvation through faith, what is your definition or understanding of what faith is? 
The Bible contains a clear definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” 
Simply put, the biblical definition of faith is “trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove.” This definition of faith contains two aspects: intellectual assent and trust.
  • Intellectual assent is believing something to be true.
  • Trust is actually relying on the fact that the something is true.
For Example | Think of a chair.
  • Intellectual assent is recognizing what a chair is and agreeing that it is designed to support a person who sits on it.
  • Trust is actually sitting in the chair.
Understanding these two aspects of faith is crucial. Many people believe certain facts about Jesus. Many people will intellectually agree with the facts the Bible declares about Jesus. But knowing those facts to be true is not what the Bible means by “faith.” The biblical definition of faith requires intellectual assent to the facts and trust in the facts. 
However, being saved does not come from ourselves. 
We do not get to walk around heaven holding a “good actions” resume that shows our qualifications for making it in. We all carry the same résumé, and that résumé says “Jesus” on it. That’s it! We have done nothing to earn our salvation. 
In Short | There is nothing we can do to earn a relationship with God, but it is by grace (an undeserved, unearned gift) because of faith (trusting in God) that we can be saved (rescued from the penalty of our sin and brought into a relationship with God).

big question

What does it mean to be saved by grace through faith? 

Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “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.” What do you think that means? 

We are saved by placing our trust in Christ’s death on the cross to pay for one’s sins (by grace, gift of God), not by works (not from yourselves).  
Review |  What is it that separates us from God? Sin.
Why did Jesus die on the cross? To pay for our sins.
Is there anything we can do in our own power to get rid of our sins? No.

3. We Experience Love and Freedom When We Receive Christ

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Jesus | John 10:10

Our relationship with God provides…
  • forgiveness instead of shame,
  • a family instead of isolation,
  • and purpose instead of meaninglessness.

4. We Enter the Family of God When We Receive Christ

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. Ephesians 2:19

When we receive Christ by faith, we are adopted into a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural family of God where everyone uniquely reflects God’s image and is united by Christ. The family of God is defined not by biology but by our response to God’s invitation to relationship with Him. 
God’s family is beautifully diverse and is intended to be a family of people from all ethnicities and cultures who trust in Jesus, when worship God and experience His love together, and who reflect His love to folks around them.

how you can receive christ

You Receive Christ by Personal Invitation

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him. Revelation 3:20

Jesus is ready and waiting to be in relationship with you. Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (that is, repenting) and trusting Christ to come into your life to forgive you of your sins and to transform your character over time into the person He had created you to be.  
As pointed out before, to simply agree intellectually that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross is not enough. Nor is it enough to simply have an emotional experience. Emotions come and go; they cannot be relied upon. Choosing to commit is an act of the will. 
Receiving Jesus Christ is an act of the will.  
The graphic below represents two kinds of lives—before receiving Christ, and after making the choice to respond to Jesus’ personal invitation and receive Christ.

big question

What’s the difference between these two circles?

These two circles represent two kinds of lives: 
A life without Jesus | You (Self) are in the center and on the throne. You call the shots. Jesus is outside the center of control of your life. 
A life entrusted to Jesus | Jesus is at the center of your life and on the throne, while your self (S) yields to Jesus being your Lord. You submit to Him. 
Note | Sometimes, if someone already has a relationship with Jesus Christ, he or she might explain that the difference between the circles is how well they’re doing in their walk with Jesus. However, that is not the intention of this diagram. This is an assessment of whether or not you have a relationship with Jesus at all, not how they’re doing in their relationship with God. 
You can also think of it this way: “What percentage of your sins did Jesus forgive?” There are no options for 50%, 75%, or even 99% of sins forgiven. Even when things are rough and you’re struggling in an area of your life, you are 100% forgiven based on who Christ is and what He has done for you—not on how you’re doing in your faith walk. 
The left circle represents a person without Christ, with 0% of their sins forgiven. The right circle represents a person in a relationship with Christ, whose sins are 100% forgiven based on Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
Write a note: Which circle best describes your life? Which circle would you like to have represent your life?

invitation to pray

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer, by simply talking with God. 
God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. 
“Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Thank you for making me in your image, giving me value and dignity, for allowing me to know you, and for adopting me into your family. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Please help me to love You and love others.”

big question

What does that prayer really mean? 

In case you’re still wondering what you’d  be telling God if you choose to pray the prayer above, you’re responding to His “knocking at the door of your heart” (Revelation 3:20) and by saying “I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord.”  
Review | Remember that Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “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.” 
You can be saved by placing your trust in Christ’s death on the cross to pay for your sins (by grace, gift of God), not by works (not by yourself). 
What is it that separates you from God? Sin. 
Why did Christ die on the cross? To pay for your sin. 
Is there anything in your own power that you can do to get rid of your sin? No. 
As for the circles, the first represents a life without Jesus, with yourself at the center and on the throne and Christ is outside. The second represents a life entrusted to Christ with Christ at the center and on the throne, and you yielding to Christ.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? 
If it does, then you can pray the prayer listed above right now and Jesus will “come into your life” as He promised. That means, Jesus forgives you for your past and allows you to start changing and reflecting the image of God to those around you.