“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:16-17
The good news of Jesus Christ is that he has provided us the means to be reconciled with God and the opportunity to come to know him as our loving father. Because of his sacrifice on the cross, we can enjoy peace with God and reap the benefits of being one of his beloved children. Benefits that we enjoy both in this life and the life to come.
“for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
Born spiritually separated from God, we spend our lives pursuing our desires. Things that come to us naturally attest to our adversarial standing with him. Our natural inclination is to sin, transgress against God’s law, and rebel against him. We see this clearly and dramatically in the immorality and depravity in the world. We also see it in our daily lives as we live for our own pleasure and comfort. We prioritize our interests, desires, and love of things in this world ahead of God. Jesus tells us that the most important commandment is: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Read Matthew 22:37-38 Who of us does that or is even capable of doing that?
“For the wages of sin is death; . . . “ The first half of Romans 6:23
God’s holy nature demands justice; he cannot condone sin. He is the essence of righteousness, the foundation and source of right and good. He is the stark contrast to what is wrong and evil in the world. Being a just God, he cannot allow sin to go unpunished or forgive without proper atonement. If God were to let any transgression stand, he would be no better than us. The bad news is that the penalty for sin is death, and we all deserve the wrath of God that is coming when we stand before him and face his judgment.
Man’s Attempt to Reconcile
Some don’t see the need to reconcile anything at all with God. They go through their lives without giving this any serious consideration. Many others, who have a notion of God, feel they are in good standing with him if they try to live a good life and be a good person. The presumption is that if you generally treat others well, think good thoughts, and rely on the good things you have done in life, that should be sufficient. Surely a person who has tried to live a good life does not deserve an eternity in the hell of the Bible, right?
The religious man’s instinct has been to do something to make things right with God. In man’s consistent overestimation of the good in himself, he tries to win God’s favor by doing what he believes, or has been told, pleases him. He tries to appease through self-righteous attempts to follow the rules and rituals of religion, living a pious life, or doing good works. But to God, it is futile nonsense.
The truth is, there is nothing anyone can do to earn God’s forgiveness. We are incapable of measuring up to his standard of righteousness. No matter how good you try to be, how good you think you are, you are not good enough. In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah tells us that our very best is no better than filthy rags to God. Read Isaiah 64:6
God’s Incomparable Gift
“ . . . but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The second half of Romans 6:23
If we are incapable of attaining a righteous standing with God, is our fate then sealed to experience God’s judgment and wrath and suffer eternity in hell? Thankfully No! God so loves the people in the world that he provided the means to become righteous in his eyes, be forgiven of our sins, and be reconciled to him. He accomplished this for us by sending his Son, the person Jesus Christ, to live a perfectly obedient, sinless life and then be nailed to the cross to die for our sins. Jesus bore our sin and paid our debt, redeeming (purchasing) us from the penalty and power of sin with his blood on the cross.
“But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him.” Romans 5:8-9
Faith in Jesus saves us from God’s wrath and provides us the means to become what we were meant to be, his beloved sons and daughters. The depth of God’s love for us, paying such a costly price for those who are by nature his adversaries, is hard to grasp. But the clearer you understand the essence of your sin, the more you realize how profound and precious this gift is. This understanding, magnified as you come to know the Lord and understand what he did for you, produces deep, humble thankfulness for an underserved pardon. By his grace, unmerited and undeserved favor, God offers this gift to deliver us all from the condemnation we deserve and instead provide redemption, the forgiveness of sins, and an eternity in heaven with him.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9
God’s gift of salvation is available to all who choose to receive it. To accept this gift is easy, but the decision must be rooted in what you believe in your heart. This is to understand you live in sin and ask God to forgive you. Believe that Jesus Christ is his Son, who died on the cross for your sin and was raised from the dead three days later. Change the direction of your life (this is to repent) and trust, follow and obey Jesus Christ for the rest of your days on Earth. Accept his gift of salvation to save your soul and live forever with all the benefits of a beloved child of the God of all creation. Ask him to fill your heart with his presence and guide you, direct you, and sanctify you. Do this in prayer, from conviction in your heart, and you will be saved.
Know that this is not a magic chant or an act of religious emotion; instead, it is an act of faith, believing God’s word. The result of that faith is justification, being made righteous in God’s sight. This is the beginning of a new life for you. God gives you a clean slate, everything is forgiven, and you are now reconciled to God forever. Now seek him in his word, in congregations of true believers, in prayer, and you will find him. Read Matthew 7:7-8
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:1-2