God loves the world and he invites sinners everywhere to come to know him. When his call comes in power to a particular individual, God enables that person truly to recognise their sin, to understand the Gospel and to put their trust in Jesus. Only God’s mighty power can bring a sinner to spiritual life; to make a fresh start as a new person in the miracle of new birth.
God’s free offer of pardon is received by us as we repent and believe. In repentance, we admit our spiritual bankruptcy and we turn from sin to God. In faith, we put our trust in Jesus as Saviour and we commit ourselves unreservedly to him. Thus, we enjoy the privilege of justification, which means that God declares us right with him, all our sins forgiven. This is not earned by anything we have done, but is only on the basis of what Christ did for us in his perfect life and sacrificial death. In a wonderful exchange, our sins were counted against him and his obedience is credited to us.
God also adopts us. As a Father, he gives us a permanent place in his family, offering us continual access into his presence, providing for our needs, protecting us in danger and disciplining us for our good.
Our God is sovereign in salvation. It is all to be traced back to his loving choice of a people for himself. His grace is unconditional and undeserved. We are helpless and he must take the initiative. This sovereignty offers the Christian tremendous assurance. God had a loving interest in us long before we were interested in him, before we were even born. When we put our trust in Jesus, we know that we are secure for ever, caught up in God’s determination to save the people to whom he is eternally committed.
What do the pictures of birth and creation teach us about the change God works in our lives?
John 3: 1-8, 2 Corinthians 5: 17
How do we receive forgiveness?
Luke 24: 47; Acts 3: 19; Romans 5: 1-2; Galatians 2: 15-16
How complete is forgiveness?
Psalm 103: 12; Isaiah 1: 18; Jeremiah 31: 34; Micah 7: 19
How do we become children of God?
John 1: 12-13
Think through the Lord’s Prayer as an illustration of the concerns and privileges of the child of God.
What help can we draw from the fact that our God is a choosing and a keeping God?
Deuteronomy 7:6-9; John 10:27-29; Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:3-6