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Let me first clarify: going to Christ has nothing to do with going to church. In terms of our eternal salvation, church attendance could not matter less.

All of us are sinners. We have broken God’s commandments and come short of His perfect standard: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This means all of us. There is not one exception. A holy God has no choice but to punish sin, so we face eternal separation from God as Romans 6:23 explains, “for the wages of sin is death”. We not only die physically but we are then separated from God forever in what about the Bible calls hell.

But there is good news! Jesus Christ—God’s perfect Son—took the punishment we deserved and died in our place. He was our substitute: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). When He arose on the third day, Jesus demonstrated His victory over sin and the grave.

The price for our sins being paid, God now extends eternal life as a gift to those who trust His Son as their Savior. John 1:12 tells us, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” Believe means to trust, depend, rely on. We must come to God as sinners, recognize Christ died for us and rose again, and place our trust in Christ alone as our only way to heaven. Notice that I said Christ alone, not Christ plus anything we have done. The moment we trust Christ, we are as certain of heaven as though we are already there.

That decision to trust Christ has nothing to do with whether you have gone to church or plan to go. You are accepted by God not based on what you have done for Him or what you plan to do, but what Jesus did for you when He died on a cross as your substitute.

Then why go to church? God says that we should not forsake the “assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25). Going to church is obedience to God. Also, together as believers, we can worship the God who saved us, encourage one another, pray with one another, study and learn the Scriptures, and promote the spreading of the gospel throughout the world. In other words, the people of the church can have a great impact on you and you can have a great impact on them. Church can also help you in your own growth as a new Christian.

I would encourage you to first settle the matter of your eternal destiny by trusting Christ. Until that is decided, nothing else matters. Then once you have come to Christ, let Him direct you to an assembly of believers who can become a meaningful part of your Christian growth.

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