Question: I have come to realize that I have spent my whole life sinning against God. I am having trouble believing that He could ever forgive all the terrible things I have done. Is there any hope for me?
Answer: Yes, there is hope! You can accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, turning to Him in heartfelt repentance, and He will forgive your sins and give you the ability to obey Him and live the joyous and abundant life He wants for you.
It is not a question of your being "good enough" to receive God's call. It is God, not you, who is responsible for your calling. Scripture makes it plain that unless God is calling you, you cannot "will" yourself to be drawn toward Him. Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44). Why, then, do so few people actually come to their Savior? Does this mean God is a "failure"? No! The amazing truth is that God is not trying to "save everyone now"—most people are simply receiving a warning, and are being prepared for the Great White Throne Judgment, at which they will receive their first opportunity to understand God's Truth, and to repent, accept Christ's sacrifice, and obey Him. To learn more about this little-understood aspect of Bible truth, please read our booklet, Is This the Only Day of Salvation? You may read it online at our Web site www.tomorrowsworld.org, or contact the regional office nearest you (listed on page 30 of this magazine) to request a free printed copy.
However, if you are reading this, you need to consider the likelihood that God is calling you now. There is no such thing as a "second chance"—and if God is offering you the opportunity to become one of His "firstfruits" (James 1:18; Revelation 14:4), you need to take that opportunity with all seriousness. What, then, should you do?
To be forgiven, you must first acknowledge your sins and confess them to God. Repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. Then, with the help of God's Spirit, you must continually commit yourself to stop sinning, and must strive to live in obedience to God's laws. Realizing that you are a sinner, and that you need to turn from your sins, is a vital step. God wants to forgive us, if we repent and turn to Him. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (1 John 1:8-10).
Are you too great a sinner to be forgiven? Before God called Saul to conversion, he had bitterly persecuted God's people. "As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison" (Acts 8:3). He even participated in the murder of a deacon in the New Testament Church. "And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit'"(Acts 7:58-59). Yet God still called Saul into His service, and he became the Apostle Paul! Read the amazing story in Acts 22:1-21.
Why would God call such a sinner as Paul to become His minister? Paul explained this in a letter to the young evangelist Timothy. "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man.... Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life" (1 Timothy 1:12-16).
Yes, God called Saul, that very great sinner, so He could show us that we, too, can be saved if we repent, strive to obey our Savior, and allow Him to use us as His obedient servants. If God would call Saul, is it any less likely that He is calling you? To learn more about this vital subject, please read our booklet, Christian Baptism: Its True Meaning. You may read it online at our Web site www.tomorrowsworld.org, or contact the regional office nearest you (listed on page 30 of this magazine) to request a free printed copy.