Getting right with God through Jesus Christ

If Christianity is true, you are incredibly valuable to God. In fact, God has taken very costly steps to essentially adopt you, so that you can dwell with him in relationship for eternity. These steps allow you to be freely cleansed of any sin that would prevent you from dwelling with God, and moreover transform you into something that will never sin again so you can stay there. God basically sent a part of Himself to earth, as the man Jesus Christ, and through an ultimate sacrifice of love gave you everything you need. Let me explain the story.

God is all-good

We were created for God, and we can recognize God as the “greatest conceivable being.” This means, among other things, that God is the locus of value in the world, and something by definition is not God if it could even possibly fail to be perfectly honest, just, loving and so forth. If you can think of something more objectively valuable and worship-worthy than God, then that would be God.

So God wants (#1) a perfect world and (#2) real free children

As the all-good creator of the Universe, God would see reason to bring about the most good and valuable kind of situation: plausibly a perfect world populated by the most valuable things that can exist, namely God-resembling things. (Recall that God is the most valuable thing.) To be God-resembling, these maximally valuable creations would therefore need to be dignified with rationality, free will, moral capacity, knowledge, and power. Notice this situation of ultimate value is synonymous with heaven, and we can see now why heaven's existence may be a straightforward prediction of theism.

But #1 and #2 can't co-exist in one step

In short, to be real resemblers of God, we ostensibly must be free moral agents; we must fundamentally be ourselves the source of how we align ourself morally. Do we align ourselves with God? Unfortunately, look at our world. It turns out that given enough opportunities, sinning is just what we freely choose to do. What's to stop us? Obviously then, if God created us in a heaven-like world as we are, we would corrupt it not long after!

Step 1: Get free submitters, Step 2: destroy evil (all else)

This is why obtaining real children who are compatible with heaven, by logical necessity, requires two steps:
Step 1: Create real moral agents in an arena where they can make the defining moral choice of their life: whether or not to permanently morally submit to God and his ability to prevent them from sinning.1
Step 2: Then destroy all possible sources of evil: As Jesus put it,

Matthew 3:12 -- “He will gather His wheat [those who cooperate] into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff [all potential heaven-destroyers who clings to their own ways] with unquenchable fire.
Matthew 10:28 -- “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
There is no other way to obtain this most valuable world with the most valuable things.

But God can't ignore past sin: it must be punished

But what about the evil that has already been performed by these agents? All of us are guilty of sin.1 A righteous judge like God can't pretend it didn't happen, right? That wouldn't take sin seriously. The more pure and holy God is, the more lying, stealing, raping, murdering etc. will shock, repulse, and righteously enrage God. Recall then that God is perfectly holy, so we all ought to be terrified. At the time of judgment, our sin will be decisively punished2 by this sovereign, holy Being.

So God became human (Jesus) to pay our penalty for us

God seems to have set up a system in nature so that as we break God's commands, we are naturally marked with more and more “sin”—a sort of spiritual dirt that targets us for righteous punishment when God's judgment comes.
As it happens, however, God is not only just, but also loving. And so in c. AD 30 Israel, none other than God incarnate (Jesus Christ)-—visiting Earth as man—-took on a special substitute role for those described above, who give themselves to God. What role is that? Jesus lived without sinning even once, and his ministry of love and miracles culminated in his being nailed to a wooden cross, where he also took on all your dirt and received the corresponding Divine punishment you would have taken for it. In so doing,
◦ “…He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross” (1 Pet. 2:24)
◦ “…He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Col. 2:14)4
It was a spiritual agony.3 So, borrowing the words of Isaiah 1:18,
◦ “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow’”
This swap—this salvation from due judgment—is a free gift available to anyone who asks God and chooses to align their will to His. What's more, on these children who choose to submit to the Good, God forever lavishes His mercy and grace and blessing. Nothing is withheld from His beloved. In summary, for those of us who submit to God's transformation, we are gifted with two things:
a) God's “Holy Spirit.” With God's personal presence and influence in us, we can start now enacting our decision to submit to God as moral driver, and taste every day what it is that we're asking to experience an eternity of. This is relationship with God.
b) Despite all of our previous sin and due punishment, we are gifted with a clean slate. Jesus pays the penalty for us and gives to us His righteous record instead.
This is everything we need to be compatible with the perfect world God is bringing!

How to become a child of God

Understand that you are guilty, and hate your sin (repentance). Understand that God, in love, has mercifully provided a way to reconcile you to Him. Understand that Jesus is God's chosen representative, and God crowned Him as such when He raised Jesus from death.(Rom 10:9-11) Jesus is the only door to heaven. With this understanding, accept Christ as your King and Savior accordingly, to transform you into a resident worthy of the new kingdom.
If you wish, you can also meet God in prayer. He hears you! There is no formula, but you can pray something like this:
“Lord, I know that your righteous frustration with me for my sins is great, but I know your loving-kindness is as well. You have promised to grant forgiveness to the undeserving like myself if they repent and turn to you. Your perfect goodness ensures this promise is trustworthy, and so this is precisely what I'm doing. Forgive me and take control. I want to submit to your will entirely, now and through eternity.”

As you rest in this decision, you can praise and thank God in complete confidence. As He promised, your sins are covered. Of course, the Christian life does not end here. As mentioned above, God spiritually indwells believers, and so will constantly be transforming you into someone with a more Christ-like character who can overcome sin more and more easily. You should immediately find a way to be fellowshipping with others who have made the same decision, because God is bringing the world a taste of His kingdom through you and others as you love each other. You should also get baptized as Jesus commanded, to publicly express your affiliation with Him in His death and resurrection. (Failing to get baptized as a Christian is inappropriate, like marriage without a wedding ring.) Also, the Christian life can be hard, and you may even suffer extreme persecution. However, as Jesus spiritually abides in you, you will find a fellowship with God and supernatural joy that kept early Christians singing praise to God even as they were being martyred. Have confidence in God's promise to you. Jesus is Lord, conqueror of death, holy destroyer of sin. His new Kingdom, the final stage of this grand plan, is our hope and it is on its way for you and me. :)

  1. Ideally, God would do very much what we see today! He would create them in a moral choice arena where they can form who they are morally, all the while seeing what self-governed world is like—one that is not aligned with God. With their moral freedom, they ideally will make that right all-important decisions:
    “God, I see what a world is like that goes its own way; the evil will never stop. And I am part of the problem! With the moral freedom you've given me, I'd like to make my most important moral choice: to yield once and for all to your moral transformation and preservation of me. Let your Kingdom come, and make me forever compatible with it!”
    But there should be no buyers remorse here. For several reasons, God does not comprephensively take moral control the moment he is invited. Instead, we are given a taste of God's ... through the Gift of his Spirit (see below) presented a lifetime of opportunity to experience, practice, and ultimately rest in our decision. It truly becomes ours. Giving God the drivers seat thereby becomes a very careful lifestyle decision. Consequently, in heaven, all of our future God-regulated moral perfection is grounded in our very careful free decision to yield.

  2. Romans 3:10, 23 -- “There is none righteous, not even one... all [of us] have sinned and fall short
  3. Colossians 3:6 -- “For it is because of [immorality, impurity, greed etc.] that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,” cf. Ephesians 5:6.; Ecclesiastes 12:14 -- “For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”; Mt 25:46 -- “They will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
  4. See also Isa. 53:4-6, 10, 11; Rom. 3:23-26; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:10, 13; 1 Pet. 3:18
  5. Ephesians 2:8-9 -- For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast; Romans 11:6 -- But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.