Explore new horizons of a living faith

These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one.  The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.

Copyright © 2012 by Derek Leaf . Not to be copied for commercial purposes.  Permission is granted to copy the unaltered, attributed page for non commercial purposes. beingrecreated.org

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17

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God loves us and desires to receive us.  What is more He has done everything to make this possible.  This is not as trivial; we do not start off in a good place with Him. Many look at all they have done wrong and ask ‘How can God accept me?’ They look at all the pain they have caused, the people who have been hurt and say, I have done too much wrong to be accepted by God. Understanding God’s acceptance requires us to look at the obstacles to overcome, and how God has done this.

Bible Zone

Issues to Face

How could God accept me?  Life has brought challenges and I know I have failed.  Not just failed, but badly failed.  If I can’t accept myself how could anyone else? The Bible speaks to the condition of our hearts from many angles.  The following are a few -

Empty way of life.

Some look back to a golden age, others to the bright hope of the future. In our day many look for fulfilment through adventure. God sees things a little differently.

  1. How is life among people described?
  2. When have you experienced emptiness or fullness in life?
  3. How serious an issue is this to God?
  4. What hope does God offer here?

1 Peter 1:  18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver.19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

Curse of law

Many people attempt to validate their lives by being good. They seek to live up to some standard. The Bible describes this as living under law - whatever the source of the rule.

  1. What success does God see in those trying to reach Him through rules?
  2. What kind of rules or values do you see being followed by people in your circles?
  3. How serious an issue is this to God?
  4. What hope does God offer here?

Galatians 3:  10 But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, "Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God's Book of the Law."*11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life."*12 This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, "It is through obeying the law that a person has life."*

  13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."

Power of Sin

Addicts believe themselves to be free until they try and stop. People believe themselves to be free until they try and do what is right, then they discover that they are under a power that controls them. In modern parlance we look at our past to justify ourselves. The Lord describes things a little differently -

  1. What is the nature of the power people find themselves to be under?
  2. How serious an issue is this?
  3. Can you think of anything that has some form of control over you?
  4. What hope does God offer here?
  5. If you don’t believe this, try an experiment - do what you believe to be right for a whole week without a single slip.

Romans 6:  16 Don't you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you.18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.

  19 Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.

  20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right.21 And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom.22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Holy God

God is Holy.  If we refuse to renounce our evil ways, then He cannot associate with us. If He did, then He would become like us through association.  See how the Bible puts this in Joshua 24

  1. What does Joshua say are the consequences of our not being holy?
  2. What does Joshua think are the chances of our sorting ourselves out?
  3. How about trying to live for a week without doing anything wrong.

Joshua 24:19 Then Joshua warned the people, "You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy and jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins.

Judgement time

At the end of our lives there is a judgement; the Lord evaluates how we have done.  Those who have chosen Him and His way go to Heaven with Him, those who have not go to Hell.

  1. How are we evaluated at the end of life?
  2. What is the difference between the book of life and the books?
  3. What are the consequences of being wrong with God?

Revelation 20:  11 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide.12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.13 The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave* gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds.14 Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death.15 And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

God’s Desire to Save

The Lord who loves us is quite clear about His attitude to this doom that awaits people.  We see this in 1 Timothy 2:2-4 and 2 Peter 3:9

  1. What is God’s desire as far as those who face judgement?
  2. What is mentioned as contributing to people’s salvation from judgement?
  3. How does God’s patience with evil people compare with yours?

1 Timothy 2: 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.3 This is good and pleases God our Savior,4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.

2 Peter 3:9 9 The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Jesus Dies for Sins

Not only does God have a desire to avert tragedy for us, He has also acted to make this salvation possible.  We read this in Colossians 1

  1. What are the causes of separation from God?
  2. What evidence do you see of these causes in yourself?
  3. How has God overcome the separation?
  4. How do we enter into this new relationship?

Colossians 1:  21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

  23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God's servant to proclaim it.

Salvation through Faith

God offers us salvation to all, but not all accept it.  Those who do, receive it through faith, or trust in Him when we believe Him for what He has done.

  1. What is the means by which we have been made right, or acceptable to God?
  2. What holds you back or encourages you towards this faith?
  3. What are the wider results of this faith or trust in God?

Romans 5: 1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.

Grace Alone

We struggle with receiving God’s gift of life by grace, or as a gift. In our pride we want to earn it ourselves, and maintain our independence, or we proudly declare ourselves to be unworthy of such a gift. God calls on us to humble ourselves and receive what He offers, His way.

  1. How has God saved people?
  2. How do you feel about receiving grace from God?
  3. What difference is there to us and the giver between a gift and something we work for?
  4. Why has God chosen to save people in this way?

Ephesians 2: 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.10 For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Receiving Salvation

God has done all the work for our salvation.  He has done this through Jesus’ death on the cross.  The Lord will not inflict this life on anyone however.  In order to gain this life, we need to receive it.  The life is received through faith.  To understand how we actually go about this, go to the next page - Getting right with God.

At some point this life with God has to become personal.  There are two ways of approaching God that have been developed over the centuries.  

One is a gradual development as we walk through life with Him.  It is less certain, yet has the advantage of a developing relationship.  -  The following links points to an explanation.

What is involved in a life that journeys day by day with our friend and creator, Jesus?  What does it mean to have life to the full? - Journey with Jesus.

The second way is more direct.  We can approach God in a very clear way and our lives are changed forever.  The following link points to an illustration that could help you through such a decision. -

What is involved in a commitment to Christ?  How do we enter into such a relationship? - The Bridge Illustration.

Page appears in Bible Explorer titled - How  accepted by God?.