Eight years ago, my husband went for a swim in our pool … and stepped into eternity. At that moment, the only thing that truly mattered was the decision he had made as a 5-year-old boy in vacation Bible school to trust Jesus as his Savior. As a result, he knew for the rest of his life that his sins were forgiven, he possessed eternal life and he had peace with God.
Without the cross, not only Danny, but his family and friends, would be devastated by the hopelessness and finality of death. Instead, we know we will see Danny Lotz again in our Father’s house—not because of anything that he did, but because of the difference that the cross makes.
The Cross Makes Possible a Personal Relationship with God (John 17:1)
- From the following Old Testament passages, how was God addressed? Genesis 15:2; 32:9; 1 Samuel 1:11; 2 Samuel 7:27; 1 Chronicles 29:10-13; Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm 7:8-9.
- How did Jesus address God in John 17:1?
- Describe the difference between the way people had been addressing God and the way Jesus addressed God.
- What is necessary before we can address God as our Father? See John 1:12-13.
- How do the following verses emphasize the personal relationship that God has with those who receive Him by faith through Jesus? Galatians 3:26; 4:6-7.
- When did you establish a personal relationship with God?
The Cross Makes Possible a Permanent Relationship with God (John 17:2)
- What word in John 17:2 indicates your personal relationship with God is also permanent? Give phrases from the following verses that confirm this: John 3:16, 36; 4:14; 5:24; 6:40; 10:28; Romans 6:23; 1 Timothy 1:16; 1 John 2:25; 5:13.
- From the above verses, what is the condition for receiving eternal life?
- How does Ephesians 2:8-9 indicate that receiving eternal life is apart from anything we can do?
- If you could do nothing to earn, buy or deserve eternal life, what do you think you could do to lose it?
- If you could lose eternal life, why would it be called eternal?
- Would you take a moment now and thank God that your relationship with Him is permanent and cannot be broken, even by death?
The Cross Makes Possible a Privileged Relationship with God (John 17:3)
- How does Jesus define eternal life in John 17:3?
- How did He confirm this privilege in Matthew 11:27? Revelation 2:2, 9; 3:8? John 10:14-15; 17:23, 26? Give the phrases.
- How does John describe this privilege in 1 John 1:1-3; 4:13, 17-19; 5:19-20?
- List as many different aspects of this privilege as you can from: Hebrews 10:19-22; Ephesians 1:3-9; 1 Peter 1:3-9; and 1 John 5:11-12, 14-15.
- Is it possible to be religious, yet stop short of this privilege? See John 7:28-29.
- How much do you value this privilege? What difference does it make in the way you spend your time? Set your priorities?
- When you step into eternity, what regrets will you have because you were casual in your pursuit of knowing God?
After establishing a personal, permanent relationship with God the Father through faith in Jesus Christ, His Son, don’t stop short of the privilege! Make every effort to grow in a vital love relationship with Him, as this Easter you celebrate the difference the cross makes! ©2023 Anne Graham Lotz
This article is adapted from a study originally published in October 2015.
Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her newest book, which she co-authored with her daughter Rachel-Ruth Wright, is “Jesus Followers: Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation.” It is available from major booksellers online.