How You Can Know God Personally
1. God loves you and created you to know him personally. The most well-known verse in the Bible says, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV).
You see, this life is not the end of us. This life is preparation for eternity. We have the freedom to decide where we want to spend eternity: with God or apart from God. God thinks you’re so valuable that he wants to spend eternity with you!
The Bible says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3 NIV). He planned the universe and orchestrated history, including the details of our lives, so that we could become his friends. So, what prevents us from knowing God personally?
2. Man is sinful and separated from God, so we cannot know him personally or
experience his love because of our sin. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). Visualize God in heaven and man on earth, with a great gulf separating the two. Man is continually trying to reach God and establish a personal relationship with him through his own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or religion—but he inevitably fails. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death [separation from God]” (Romans 6:23 NIV). The third principle explains the only way to bridge this separation.
3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through him alone can we know God personally and experience God’s love. Jesus died in our place. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV).
He rose from the dead. “Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time . . . ” (1 Corinthians 15:3–6 NLT). He is the only way to God. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me’” (John 14:6 NASB) Visualize now that God has bridged the gulf that separates us from him by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins. Yet it is not enough to know these truths...
4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know God personally and experience his love.
We must receive Christ. “As many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name" (John 1:12 NASB). We receive Christ through faith. “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9 NIV1984).
When we receive Christ, we experience a new birth. The Bible tells of how a man named Nicodemus experienced a new birth through Christ: There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” — John 3:1–8 (NLT) We Receive Christ By Personal Invitation Jesus Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me.” — Revelation 3:20 (NASB) Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive us of our sins and to make us what he wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he died on the cross for our sins is not enough. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of our free will.