The ABC's of trusting Jesus Christ - James C. Bell

Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ has given us a simple and easy way to establish a proper relationship with Him. I call it the ABC gospel.

Many mistakenly think that one must earn his or her way to heaven -- they must join the church and volunteer to do some activity, or teach a class, or study the best methods of teaching the Bible, and then spend years devoting their time to teaching others how to be an informed Christian.

Actually, there is nothing we can do to ensure we will go to heaven when we die. We can do all sorts of " church" work, we can give to the poor and unfortunate, we can do community work, we can treat others as we ourselves want to be treated, but we still cannot earn our way to heaven.

Why? Because heaven and eternal life is a gift from God. It has been fully paid for by Jesus' death on the cross and all we can really do is believe, have faith in God and believe in Jesus Christ, accept His sacrifice through faith and put our trust in Him alone.

The Bible clearly says in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Of course, you know the greatest verse, perhaps, in the entire Bible, John 3:16. This verse is the gospel in one verse and is the entire Bible condensed to one short, but fantastic sentence: "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Our salvation is completely paid for, ready and waiting for us to accept Christ as Savior, to put our faith, trust and belief in Him.

I have the great privilege of sharing with our soldiers each week the ABC's of trusting Jesus Christ and establishing a lifelong relationship with God through His Son.

Jesus, Himself, said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

I ask them a deep spiritual question in order to find out where they are spiritually. I say, "I would like to ask you a very hard question. Would that be alright?"

They usually say "sure," then I say, "We know this won't happen, but suppose you died tonight and you stood before God and He asked you, 'Why should I let you into my heaven? What would you say?'"

They usually think hard for a moment or two and then say, "I really don't know what I would say." I tell them God would not ask them this question because He already knows the answer. In fact, He knows all about us. He knows what we have done and what we will do. He knows everything.

"However, for one to enter heaven, he has to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That relationship is not hard to get. We say it is as easy as ABC: A, we must admit we have sin in our lives. Now I don't know about you, but I do know about me, even though I try to live my life without sinning, I slip up sometimes and do or say something that is offensive to God. We are all human, right? So, are you willing to admit you have sin in your life?"

They say, "yes," and I continue. "B stands for belief in God. I believe in God, don't you?" They agree and I continue, "C stands for confess, a word we don't like, but it simply means to ask God to forgive our sins.

"Now, what I want to do is to lead you through a prayer admitting your sin and asking God to forgive your sins through Jesus Christ. Would you pray this prayer with me?" They say, "yes," and I say, "What I will do is say a short phrase and you will repeat it after me, out loud so I will know where you are. Is this OK?

They say, "yes," and I say, "Let's pray. Dear Lord, I know I'm a sinner. I've been trusting in my own self, but now I place my trust in You. I believe in You. I believe in your Son Jesus Christ. I believe He died on the cross to pay for my sins, and now I ask You to forgive my sins, in Jesus' Name, and to give me your gift of eternal life. In Jesus Christ's Name, I pray. Amen."

I thank them for praying with me and say, "May God bless you and keep you safe." I ask them to please write their name and e-mail address on a pad I have, so we may contact them later to see how they are doing.

I thank God for every soldier I talk with and everyone who prays this prayer. I pray you will pray this simple, but powerful prayer to God today. May God bless you!