Life can be wonderful, but life that is limited to enjoying the things of this world is not enough. We were made for something greater. A worthwhile life consists of more than a good education, a decent income, friends, marriage and children, doing nice things for others, loyalty to your nation or people, and involvement with a religious community. These may be good things, but there are people who have or do these things, and still aren’t satisfied. Why? What could possibly be missing? The answer is simple God! We were designed to be close to God, and without a close, personal and dynamic relationship with the Living God, there will always be a void in us, a certain sense of emptiness that can never be satisfied by anything the world has to offer.
The Holy Scriptures tell us five important principles we need to know in order to have a close, personal and dynamic relationship with the Living God, enjoy a truly meaningful life, and then live forever!
Principle #1: God Is The Source Of A Satisfying, Worthwhile Life
It really is possible to experience the joy of having a close, personal and dynamic relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! God is not some distant, impersonal force, but a Supreme Being who loves us, and wants to have personal and genuine interaction with us every day, and throughout eternity. “You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16). This kind of meaningful, joyous life is the result of a relationship with God. “In Your presence… at Your right hand” speaks of a nearness to God which can be as intimate as the relationship enjoyed by Abraham and God. The Lord referred to Abraham as His friend (Isaiah 41:8). Sadly, most people lack this personal and dynamic relationship with God that adds genuine happiness to their lives. Why is that?
Principle #2: Our Sins Have Separated Us From God, And Prevent Us From Having A Close Personal Relationship With Him
Sin is our most serious problem. It is the root cause of all of our other problems. Sin comes from our alienation from God, Who is the Source of life, joy and peace. Since we are alienated from the Source of life, we are alienated from life. We are subject to a multitude of diseases, and the aging process, and eventually we die. Since we are alienated from our Creator, in whose image we were made, we are alienated from ourselves. We experience mental and emotional illnesses, unhappiness, depression, despair, drug and alcohol abuse. Since we are alienated from the Creator of all, we are alienated from each other. We perpetrate crimes, injustices, inhumanities, wars, even genocides against each other. Since we are alienated from the Creator, we are alienated from the creation, which is why life is such a struggle for so many people. Our alienation from the One who created this world results in our disregard for it, which is why we neglect and even abuse the environment.
We may sense this alienation, but not fully understand the reason for it. The Holy Scriptures give us the reason. Very early in human history, our first parents rebelled against God, and as a result, sin, death, confusion, alienation and chaos took control of humanity. From the moment that Adam and Eve rebelled against our wonderful Creator, everything changed. Their sin and rebellion affected every aspect of their nature. Their body, their soul, their will, their mind, their spirit, all became corrupted. Their orientation toward God changed. Instead of coming nearer to God, Adam and Eve ran away from Him. The world was cursed, along with all mankind; Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden, and forbidden to eat from the Tree of Life. The consequences resulting from the rebellion of our first parents have been transmitted to all of their descendants, spreading like a deadly virus. Their corruption of body, soul, will, mind, spirit, relationship to God, and the loss of eternal life all of it was passed on to their descendants like a horrible disease, infecting all of us.
Sin results in separation from God, who is holy. Sin erects a barrier between a righteous God and ourselves. The prophet Isaiah told Israel, “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). Sin, left unatoned for, ends in two fold death the First Death (physical death), which will be followed by the Second Death (Hell). “But everyone shall die for his own iniquity” (Jeremiah 31:30 and Ezekiel 18:20).
Sin is any violation of God’s standards; any rejection of His will; any rebellion against His commands. Obviously then, all of us have sinned in some way (and perhaps in many ways). “For there is not a just man upon Earth, that does good, and does not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20 and Psalm 53:3 4).
Because sin is a violation of God’s holy character and standards, He must reject sin. He can’t allow sin in His presence. “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity” (Habakkuk 1:13). Since God is holy and pure, He will not establish a close personal relationship with anyone until their sin has been dealt with.
Can’t we solve the sin problem by living properly, by prayer, repentance and good deeds? No! We can’t remove this sin barrier by any of our own efforts. All human effort is inadequate because in God’s sight, “We are all as an unclean thing and all our righteousness (good deeds) are like a filthy garment” (Isaiah 64:6). Human effort is inadequate because no man is sufficiently righteous to undo the sin problem. “No one can in any wise redeem his brother, nor can he give to God redemption for himself; for the ransom of their soul is too costly” (Psalm 49). Just as we are incapable of saving ourselves from the First Death physical death, we are totally incapable of saving ourselves from the Second Death (Hell).
So how can this problem of sin and spiritual death and separation from God be solved? The answer is that God must take the initiative; He Himself must provide the solution. “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave” (Psalm 49). And He has!
Principle # 3: God Has A Two Part Way To Make Atonement Possible,
So That The Sin Barrier Can Be Removed, And A Close
Personal Relationship With God Can Be Established
The two fold way is by putting your faith in God and His Word, and by having the Blood of Atonement. Abraham is an example of how the sin barrier can be removed. “Abraham believed in the Lord; and the Lord counted it to Abraham as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). Abraham had faith in God. He believed in God and His Word, and as a result, the Lord considered Abraham to be righteous. He had a right relationship with God. We must follow the same pattern we must believe and trust and have faith in God and His Word (the Bible).
But the Torah said that one more thing is essential the Blood of Atonement. “The life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood, by reason of the life that makes atonement (for the soul)” (Leviticus 17:11). The animal sacrifices provided the blood of atonement. The sacrifice showed God’s holiness, and demonstrated His hatred of all evil. The sacrifice demonstrated God’s justice, showing He does not leave sin unpunished. The sacrifice displayed God’s mercy, because of His readiness to pardon the one who is truly repentant and who truly believes, by providing an innocent substitute.
However, the animal sacrifices were only a temporary covering for our sins. The blood of bulls and goats, rams and lambs and doves could never fully atone for human beings, since human beings are far more valuable than animals. In addition, the sacrifices could only be offered at the Temple in Jerusalem by a priest who was a descendant of Aaron, the brother of Moses; and the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. Without the Temple, there can be no legitimate sacrifices that truly please God and provide atonement. How then can we have the Blood of Atonement today?
Principle #4: God Has Provided The Blood Of Atonement
For Today Through The Messiah
God’s ultimate way of making full and final atonement was through the sacrifice of the Messiah. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him (the Messiah)… He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment for our well being was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him… He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people… My Servant will make many righteous, as He will bear their iniquities… He bore the sin of many” (Isaiah 53).
The Suffering Servant who brings atonement is the Messiah. Because of Messiah’s death, God can provide us with the Blood of Atonement today.
God made sure we could recognize the Messiah by telling us, years before He came, what He would be like, and what He would do.
- His ancestry would be from the family of David (Jeremiah 23:5 6).
- The city of his birth would be Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).
- He would have a supernatural nature (Jeremiah 23:5 6, Micah 5:1, Isaiah 9:5 6). He is “the Lord” and the “Mighty God.”
- The manner of his execution would be crucifixion (Psalm 22:14 17).
- He would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10, Isaiah 53:10).
- The time of his arrival would precede the destruction of Herod’s Temple in 70 AD (Daniel 9:26).
- The majority of the Jewish people wouldn’t believe in Him at first (Isaiah 53:1), but we will eventually (Zechariah 12:10). Ever growing numbers of Gentiles would believe in Him (Isaiah 52:15).
Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth fulfilled these and many other prophecies. No one else has come remotely close! During His lifetime many people believed that He was the Messiah (Matthew 16:16, John 1:45 51, Acts 6:7). Millions of people since that time, both Jews and Gentiles, have had their sins forgiven and have gained a personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through Messiah Yeshua. Since the Blood of Atonement has been provided through Messiah Yeshua, there is only one thing left for you to do.
Principle #5: You Must Place Your Faith In Messiah Yeshua
In Order To Have A Close And Personal Relationship With God
Messiah Yeshua said that unless we believe in Him, and place our trust in Him, we will die in our sins unatoned for and in very serious trouble; but if we believe in Him, we won’t perish, but have eternal life. He told us to believe in Him, and place our faith and trust in Him, just as we do in God.
Believing in Messiah Yeshua means knowing that He is the Messiah, and that He died on the cross, and came back to life. Believing in Him means that we know that His death has provided the Blood of Atonement. Believing in Him means that we turn away from our sins, and our own ways, and turn to God and His ways. Our lives and priorities must be reoriented around God, and the Messiah, as revealed in the Bible. Believing means following God and Messiah. Believing means serving and obeying God and Messiah.
Some people think that when Jewish people believe in Messiah Yeshua, it means we are no longer Jewish. That simply is not true! As Rabbi Paul put it, “it is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain” (Acts 28:20). Since Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah and the Savior of the world, following Him is the most Jewish thing a person can do! And if you are a Gentile and become a Christian (a follower of the Messiah), you must love the Jewish people (Romans 11:11).
Don’t let anything hold you back not pressure from family, friends and community, nor the temptations offered by the world! Place your trust in Yeshua, and make a commitment to follow Him, so that you can develop a right relationship with God that is close and personal, and have the Blood of Atonement, and have your sins forgiven, and live forever and ever!
- God is the source of a worthwhile life.
- Your sin has separated you from God.
- God’s provision through Messiah Yeshua is God’s way to make atonement possible, so that the sin barrier can be removed, and a close personal relationship with God can be established.
- Trust in God and Messiah Yeshua and make a commitment to follow and obey.
You may want to pray this prayer as a way of making your commitment to trust God and Messiah: “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I admit that I have sinned. I have done wrong in Your sight. I want to enter into a close, personal and eternal relationship with You. I desire to turn from my ways, and to turn fully to You and Your ways. I commit my life into Your hands. Take control of my life, and make me into the person that you want me to be. I believe that You have provided atonement through Messiah Yeshua, and that He died and came back to life, and is alive now. I now acknowledge Him as the Messiah, and the King and Savior. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, so that I may be close to You, and serve You as I should.”
If you prayed that prayer, and really meant it, the following promises are now true in your life:
- You have a brand new relationship with God you’re His child! (John 1:12).
- All your sins are forgiven! (Colossians 2:13).
- You’ve become a new person. The Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of the Messiah, now lives in you in a new and greater way (1 Corinthians 6:19)!
- You’ve been set free from sin and from yourself to serve God and help others (John 8:31 32, Galatians 5:13).
You need to grow in your relationship with God. Here are a few suggestions:
- Let Him communicate to you by reading His divinely inspired Word, the Bible (1 Peter 2:2). If you do, you will learn more about Him, and learn how to please Him.
- Pray as much as you can, which simply means talking to God about everything (Philippians 4:6 7, 1 Peter 5:7). Learn how to turn your mind and your thoughts throughout the day to God, to talk to Him about things that are on your mind. Thank God for the good things in your life, and pray about everything that strikes you powerfully. Thank Him, praise Him for who He is, and the great things He does. Pray about what you have read in the Bible, so that it becomes part of your thinking and your way of living. Ask Him to handle your concerns and those of others, your congregation, the Jewish community, the Messianic Jewish Community, the Church, the world, our government.
- Become part of a good community of Messianic Jews and Christians who believe in God and His Word, and get involved (Hebrews 10:24 25).
- Boldly and courageously tell other people about Him, so that they too might develop a close and personal relationship with God, and experience eternal life!