True religion is very simple. The most important thing is being at peace with God and being in a loving relationship with God.
People of all ages, including children can experience and enjoy good relationships! In fact, it’s possible that little children can enter into relationships more easily, perhaps more fully, because they have fewer doubts and fears, so they can love and trust more simply. Please don’t be put off from finding God because some people have made Jesus seem complicated and ‘bookish’!
Relationships can prove to be very complex things if we start to ask all the ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ questions and this is all the more true of our relationship with God. Even though children can know God, faith questions can endlessly satisfy the probing minds of theologians and philosophers. If you have that sort of mind, then you will enjoy thinking about the tough questions. But even though these questions are important, please don’t let them stop you from starting out on your relationship with God.
The ‘Can I know God?’ pages contain the simple truths about how you can be put right with God the Father through Jesus Christ. We hope they will be of some help to you in your thinking and that some readers will meet with God there. If you want to take any questions further then please contact us with your questions or speak to James or Chris, our Ministers.
IntroductionChristians believe that we can all know God as a loving Father. Because of this many Christian prefer to talk about their faith as a ‘relationship’ rather than as a ‘religion’. It is Jesus who makes it possible to know God in this way.
On face value the invitation of Jesus to become a disciple of his is an offer which is too good to be refused. Just consider what Jesus promises us: instant forgiveness for all sins, instant peace with God and instant access to eternal life.
What is the cost? To follow and obey Jesus, who loves you more than you love yourself!
Who, in their right mind, would refuse such an offer? The answer is – a lot of people!
Clearly, many people do not feel they can take Jesus on face value. For them the decision to become a Christian is anything but obvious – there are issues and questions that they feel they need to have answered before they could take such a step. If you are one of those people then this site contains pages which we hope will go some way to answering your questions and addressing your reservations.
Find out more by clicking on the 5 key points on the tabs above.
Go to next tab: God loves you
God loves youGod loves you and created you to know and enjoy him. He desires the very best for you (and all people) both now and for eternity, that has always been his plan for you. Jesus said: ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ (John’s Gospel Chapter 10, verse 10).
Sadly, many see God as a sort of killjoy in the sky. He is depicted as an ogre who is against everything that is fun, and he fills his time by sitting in heaven looking for the slightest failure so that he can punish it.
Nothing could be further from the truth! The Bible shows God as the ideal of a loving father, who created us, who provides for us, who loves us and wants us to love him, who always desires our best. Jesus himself taught us to talk to God as ‘Father’. And, like a good father or mother, God does set boundaries for our protection, because of love.
In fact, God loves us so much that he gave his Son, Jesus, to save us from death and give us eternal life. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John’s Gospel Ch 3, v 16).
If this is what God is like, why do so few people know God as their loving heavenly Father?
Go to next tab: A relationship
A relationship with GodWhy don’t people know God as Father?
Because our relationship with God has been broken! We have wandered off from him and gone our own way. Going our own way like this is called sin. It may be a deliberate rejection of God or, more often, simply ignoring him. Sin shows itself in many ways: in the wrong things we do and the negative things we feel.
Wrong actions usually start out being attractive, but sooner or later the true character of sin inevitably is felt: it hurts, spoils or destroys. Furthermore, sin becomes frightening for many people because it starts to take control and we find ourselves powerless to resist.
The most common negative emotion caused by sin is a feeling of emptiness. We were made to know God: without him there is a gap left in our lives that nothing else can fill. As a result many people feel their lives have no meaning or purpose.
We can try to fill this gap by other relationships, or by keeping busy, or by filling our lives with entertainment or thrills, or even with religious rituals. All these will fail to solve the real problem. We need to find our way back to a relationship with God as Father – that is where the solution lies.
The next page explains what God has done to give us a second chance to know him.
Go to next tab: A way back
Jesus offers a way back to GodThe good news is that God has come after us to give us a second chance to know him and to experience his love and life. He did this by sending Jesus, his own Son, into the world, to live a human life.
There is something about sin that is like slamming the front door behind you – it locks you out! If we are locked out of a right relationship with God, then we need a key to open that door to let us in again.
For reasons that only God fully knows, this second chance to know God required Jesus to live a perfect life, to die and rise again from the dead. How does this work? The short answer is that Jesus took our place.
When Jesus died on the cross, somehow the death that you and I deserve as the result of our sin was taken by Jesus, God’s own Son, and you and I were acquitted. Peter, a friend and follower of Jesus, puts it this way: ‘For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.’ (Peter’s First Letter, Ch 3, v 18).
The life and death of Jesus shows God’s extreme love for us. His rising from the dead shows that he was successful – sin and death were defeated!
So God has given us the key to open the door again: the door into a loving relationship with God.
But a key has to be used, and that is what Point 4 is about…
Go to next tab: The decision
The decision is ours!If we are to start a new life in fellowship with God it is up to us to accept God’s offer of a second chance – he does not force it on us!
Our problem with God started by running away from him, the solution must involve stopping running, turning around, and starting to follow instead. Receiving Jesus involves 3 steps:
- Saying sorry for going our own way
- Promising to go God’s way from now on
- Believing that Jesus has made this possible and will give us the power to see it through.
There are just two kinds of people in the world: those who believe they are their own boss and those who have chosen to let God be their boss.
So the key question is: who is the boss in your life now, is it yourself or is it God?
And the natural second question is: who do you want to be the boss in your life?
How you answer these two simple questions will determine your whole relationship with God both here in this life and for eternity – awesome isn’t it! For those readers who want to start out with a whole new relationship with God as Father you can do it right now. God is close to each one of us, so he hears our prayers wherever we are.
Here is a suggested prayer:Father God,
I have been going my own way. I have not honoured you as I should nor lived as I should. I am truly sorry. Please forgive all my sin [if there are specific sins in your life it helps to name them before God].
I now want to go your way. I want you to be my boss. I offer my life in your service. Come to me and make me the person you want me to be.
Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to make all this possible. I trust you and believe that through him my sins are forgiven, that I have eternal life, and that I can know you as my Father in heaven.
If this prayer expresses what you believe and want, please do not hesitate. Take a few moments now to pray this prayer and put things right with God who longs to be your Father in heaven.
Go to next tab: Next Steps
Next stepsIf you have read through the Finding Jesus tabs then you may have decided to entrust you life to Jesus in the words of the suggested prayer, or with your own prayer.
If you have taken that very simple but massive step we want to say: We are delighted and thrilled for you, welcome into God’s family, and the adventure starts here!
Can we ask you to do 4 things:
- Contact us to let us know about your new faith. We would like to pray for you and send you some useful information.
- Find some other true Christians – people who know and love Jesus who can help and encourage you as you start out on the Christian life. You have the gift of prayer, so try asking God to help you find those right people! (Look on the web for churches near you, chose a good one – you should find Christians there to help you!)
- Get a Bible or New Testament and start reading John’s Gospel. (If you do not have a Bible they are available on the Internet)
- Look for changes in your life over the next days and weeks. Sometimes coming to Jesus can be a great emotional experience, for others the emotional aspect is much less dramatic. However, the really important sign that God is at work in your life are those changes for the better that start to show. These changes may include: more peace, more joy, more love, better relationships, power to overcome some sin in your life which has always been too strong for you to defeat, or something else. Thank God often for his goodness to you.
Others will have read the ‘Finding Jesus’ pages here and not felt able to take that ‘step of faith’ to follow Jesus. Please do look at the rest of this site as some of your questions may be answered elsewhere.
If you have further questions which would help you to decide if following Christ is for you then do feel free to send us your questions and we will attempt to answer them.
If you live in Oxford then you might want to join one of our Alpha courses for people exploring the Christian faith.