How to Know God
Watch this 6 minute message from Tara’s dad, Clebe McClary.
When a grenade landed in Pfc. Ralph Johnson’s fighting hole in Vietnam, he dove on top of it to protect his fellow Marines, including my father, Lt. Clebe McClary. Ralph knew they would be exposed to the blast and couldn’t save themselves, so he interceded on their behalf, shielding them. Tragically, the explosive’s powerful detonation killed Ralph instantly. For saving the lives of my dad and his team, Ralph was awarded the Medal of Honor and the Navy named a ship after him. His sacrifice never fails to bring John 15:13 to my mind: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13NIV).
Ralph saved the men on his team from physical death, but Jesus Christ, God’s perfect Son, did something even more selfless. He interceded for all humanity by voluntarily dying on the cross, thus taking the punishment we deserved for our sin, to save us from eternal death.
Deep down, we all know that we’re guilty of violating Creator God’s laws and are separated from Him because of it. As much as we try to justify ourselves, our consciences tell us we’re guilty. That, in fact, is why we tend to run, grow defensive, or to lie to cover up our wrongful deeds.
Humans have been choosing sin since Adam and Eve, our common ancestors, disobeyed God in the only way they could (see Genesis 3). The whole human race has since been infected with sin! But God is so holy that even one, seemingly tiny, sin is enough to separate us from Him. To understand why, suppose someone offered you an ice-cold glass of water on a scorching hot day. But then, just before he handed it to you, he made a show of squirting a drop of raw sewage in it. Even if you were desperately thirsty, that polluted water would be repulsive to you. You’d have nothing to do with it. Similarly, the presence of sin in us makes us abhorrent to God.
Thankfully, God is in the business of purifying. Because He doesn’t want anyone to remain polluted, to be separated from Him, or even to have to live out his or her days with a guilty conscience, He sent Jesus Christ as the ultimate Savior. First Timothy 2:5 says, “There is one … mediator between God and mankind … Christ” (NIV). Jesus came to die in our place so that all who would place faith in Him could be cleansed of that raw sewage in our lives called sin. When we admit that we’re incapable of removing our sin on our own and call on Him to save us, Jesus will answer that prayer with forgiveness and acceptance and will shield us from the punishment that we deserve. He reconciles us to His Father, making God our Father too.
If only you’ll confess your need and ask, God will wash away your sin and guilt by crediting the perfect righteousness of His Son, Jesus, to your account. Putting your trust in Him can free you from the tendency to hide or run from God and can ensure your entry into Heaven when you pass from this life and into eternity. The Creator is pleased to welcome you with open arms because of what Jesus has done on your behalf (see 1 John 1:9; John 3:16-17).
If you’re ready to admit that you have sin in your life and you know that you must depend on the Lord to remove it for you, then call out to Him:
“Dear God, I know I’m a sinner and deserve eternal punishment. But, God, I’m tired of running from You. I repent of my sin and ask Your Son Jesus to enter my heart and make me clean. I believe that He died on the cross and rose again three days later as the Bible says. I thank You for sending Him to give His life in my place so that I don’t have to pay the penalty my sin earned. I put my trust in Jesus as the Savior and Lord of my life. Please, God, make my life what You want it to be. Amen.”
My father and mother prayed a prayer like this in 1968, and God not only forgave them and adopted them into His family but also changed their lives. Clean and made new in Christ, they have been telling others the good news about Jesus for the last 50 years. My sister, Christa, and I, and our husbands and children, have also made the decision to trust in Jesus. And I know firsthand that it’s the most important decision anyone can make.
What each person chooses to do with Jesus will determine his or her eternal destiny, whether blessings and life or endless sorrows and condemnation will follow their last breaths. Please, if you haven’t already, choose today to trust in Jesus as your Savior. If you wait, you may never have another opportunity. And if today you have made the decision to accept Him, please let me know through this form. I’d love to rejoice with you and to help you get started in your Christian journey.
In His grip,