He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5
The Holy Spirit renews.
When I was still very young I already believed that what is written in the Bible was true and God, Jahweh, the only true and living God. I never had doubts about it. Yet, I did not know Him personally nor His Son and the Holy Spirit. I felt guilty when I realized I had hurt God by the choices that I made in my life. Of course I said sorry, but nothing changed. The next day I would continue. In essence I was my own god, I was on the throne in my life. I lived for me and myself.
Then I followed an Alpha course and heard for the first time that Jesus wanted a relationship, not religion. Oh… and that was what I really wanted! After the Alpha course I struggled. Jesus is so beautiful, pure and holy – no He definitely did not want to have a relationship with a dirty, sinful person like me. I could not believe that. But the woman of this course asked me to read the Bible and look for the women in the family lineage of Jesus.
A week later she asked me: ‘As the choice was made for Jesus to be born from these women, then would He really refuse to have a relationship with you?’ It was like God put on the light and I understood! Maybe it was a pious thought to think that I was not good enough, but actually it was like saying to Jesus: ‘Sorry, but Your blood is not enough to cleanse me, Your sacrifice is not sufficient.’ How terrible to think that way!
Lord, I believe, help me overcome my unbelief
That evening I knelt down and I prayed: ‘Lord, I believe, help me overcome my unbelief.’ And that is what He did! I gave my life to Him and asked Him to come and live in me. Immediately all kind of thoughts flushed through my mind: Yes but you are no longer allowed to do this or that, and what will people think, and what if He will ask me to do this or that? Doubt… are you sure that this is what you want? For certain these were attacks of the enemy, but through God’s grace and power I could say: ‘Yes Lord, I give my all to You, whatever it takes. I confessed all of my sins and gave my heavy burden to Him. All things that came to mind I gave to Him, I asked Him to forgive me and He did! Not because I deserved any of it, but because of the perfect sacrifice of His Son. In that moment I experienced rest and peace in my heart and I know that it was well between God and me.
Whoever you are, you can come as you are
His Holy Spirit now dwells in me. I am His temple and because of it I experience new desires and a hunger for God, to know Him better. I feel grateful for the love I have for God and His Word. I am a new creation, I am forgiven. The Holy Spirit renews me. The old has gone and the new has come. I am reaching out to what is in store for me now I am in Christ. I forget what is behind me, because God did the same. Whoever you are, you can come as you are. You don’t have to pretend in God’s eyes. He only asks from you to give Him your brokenness, to repent and confess your sins and to believe in the perfect sacrifice of His Son and to trust Him that He is willing to help you when you ask Him. We cannot earn something by doing good works, because it will never be enough.
Here is an example: Imagine someone stole 3 million dollar from a bank and from that amount he gives a 100.000 dollar to a charity fund. But once arrested he comes to court and the judge says: ‘I will overlook your offense because you also did something good.’ Is the verdict of this judge just? No, you can come to Jesus as you are. He receives you with arms open wide. When you come to Him and only trust in what He did for you, then He will give you His Spirit, to lead you, form and mold you into the image of Jesus. Then you will serve Him, not out of fear or by your own achievements, but out of love and thankfulness.
Read also: The judge who paid the price