So what’s the story with God?
In a 2009 survey of social attitudes, around 71% of Australians stated that they believe in God or a higher power. Just over 50% believed in life after death and a heaven and around 40% believed in miracles.
Yet many people are confused about who exactly he is and – if he exists – what does that mean for everyday life. Here’s a few common questions about knowing God and some answers from the bible.
Q. Is it possible to really know God?
A. Yes it is. In fact, it is actually possible to be friends with God, to bring him joy and – like a fragrance – even please him.
“Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.”
(2 Corinthians 2:15, NLT)
Q. A lot of people do bad things. Surely not everyone brings God joy and pleases him?
A. Correct. The bible says that we have been blinded to spiritual things. It’s like a veil prevents us from seeing.
“If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News.”
(2 Corinthians 4:3-4a, NLT)
Q. How then can anyone perceive God?
A. The same God who in the beginning said, “Let there be light” can also make his light shine in our hearts.
“For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.”
(2 Corinthians 4:6, NLT)
Q. What is it like to have God light up your heart?
A. On the outside, we may not look any different. But inside, there’s the most wonderful treasure. The life of Jesus is now alive in us.
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.”
(2 Corinthians 4:7, 11, NLT)
Q. So what happens when I die?
A. Your present body is like a tent. Just a temporary dwelling. The real you – that is the inner you – will live forever in a new body.
“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.”
(2 Corinthians 5:1, NLT)
Q. What does it mean to have Jesus live in me?
A. Well, you are a whole new being. It’s the ultimate re-set. The old life is gone and a new eternal life begins. That’s the life that brings God joy and pleases him.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT)
Q. But what about the bad stuff that I’ve done?
A. If you belong to Christ, God will no longer count your sin against you. You’re forgiven.
“For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them.”
(2 Corinthians 5: 19a, NLT)
Q. How can he do that?
A. Jesus Christ offered to take our sin, so that we can be made right with God.
“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21, NLT)
Q. Do I have to earn this by being good or something?
A. No, it’s God’s gift to you. Just accept it.
“And all of this is a gift from God.”
(2 Corinthians 5: 18a, NLT)
Q. How do I accept all of this… make this new life and friendship with God happen?
A. Just tell God that’s your decision. Talk to him (prayer) and make these answers your answers. For example,
“Dear God, I want to have a friendship with you, the type that would bring you joy and please you. You’ve been veiled from me long enough and I need your light to shine in my heart. I want the treasure of Jesus to live in me that I may live forever with you. I want to be made new, I give up on that old life. I’m sorry that I’ve sinned but I accept the offer of Jesus to take my sin for me so that I can be made right with you. Thank you for no longer counting my sin against me. I hereby accept this new life as a gift from you. Let it be!”