Whatever your reason for visiting my blog, I want to tell you about something that changed my life. I want to introduce you to the one person who can give purpose to your life, peace in your heart and mind, and eternal life after death. That person is Jesus.
Before you shrug that off as religious jargon or superstitious nonsense, would you consider His claims for a few moments? Would you pause and listen to the message that brings joy and hope to millions of people? Would you allow me to share the truths that have changed my life and the lives of countless others who have believed in Him?
Have you ever looked around or turned on the news and thought, “There is just something wrong with humanity”? Perhaps it was a horrific crime that was committed or a conflict between nations. Let me take you a step further. Have you ever surprised yourself because of a thought or desire you had that you knew deep down was wrong? You don’t have to look far without or within to find that there is a fundamental problem with every human being. The Bible calls that problem sin.
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; –Romans 3:10
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God –Romans 3:23
The gravity of our sin is directly related to the position of the offended party. If I were to slap you, you might be upset and even retaliate verbally or physically. If I were to slap a police officer, I could end up arrested. If I were to attack the president, I could end up killed. A similar offense can bring about quite different consequences. The greater the power or authority of the offended party, the greater my offense and consequences.
Friend, we have not sinned against a colleague, or a police officer, or an important political figure. When we sin, we sin against a holy God who created all that is and possesses supreme authority over all the universe. Because of the gravity of our offense, the Bible reveals that there is an equally grave consequence: eternal separation from God in a place of torment called hell. This punishment is not reserved for the “really bad” ones. It is the final destination of every human being as a payment for their sins.
For the wages of sin is death…–Romans 6:23a
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. –Revelation 20:15
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. -John 3:18
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Where is the good news in that?” I’m glad you asked. You see, the only way any person escapes that destination at the end of his/her life is to pay the debt for the sins committed. I have even better news than you’ve read thus far: it is impossible for anyone to pay that debt. Sin against the holy God demands a payment equal to the offense. No works that I could do in 1,000 lifetimes could fully repay my sin debt before God.
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. –Romans 3:19-20
If our sin-debt were to be paid, it would require the power of someone equal in greatness to the God we’ve disobeyed. Here’s the good news: Jesus is the only one capable of paying such a debt for us. Because He was God in the flesh, lived a sinless life, and shed His innocent blood for us, He is capable now of atoning for our sins and declare us righteous before God. Having established that all have sinned and that no amount of self-effort could atone for sin, listen to how Paul describes the righteousness available through Christ:
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [full payment] through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. –Romans 3:21-26 [emphasis and definition mine]
My righteousnesses could never atone for my sin. In fact, the Bible calls our righteousnesses “filthy rags” before a holy God. We need the righteousness of Jesus to atone for our sin. His righteousness was sufficient to pay for the sins of the entire world (remember, He was the eternal God in the flesh) and now the forgiveness of sin and eternal life are offered freely to ANYONE who would believe.
Perhaps you’re wondering, “How could the death of a man 2,000 years ago have that kind of impact on the world? How can you know what He said is true?” I would beg you to consider Jesus and these truths for one compelling, remarkable piece of evidence: His resurrection from the dead.
Consider the external evidence for this truth. The fact that Jesus was a real person who really had a following and whose death and (proclaimed) resurrection are documented by Christian and non-Christian historians alike. No historian would negate that the first disciples of Jesus spared no expense and were willing to die horrible deaths because they truly believed Jesus rose from the dead. If anyone would have known about a hoax, it would have been them.
Paul, a devout Jew once called Saul, persecuted and hated the Christian church. Yet he came face to face with the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus and became the most devout Christian and proclaimer of the Gospel ever to have lived. In fact, he wrote the majority of our New Testament, including one of the clearest presentations of the Gospel in the book of Romans.
My point is simply that there is compelling evidence outside of the Bible for the claim that Jesus lived, died, and indeed rose again from the dead, starting a wildfire spread of the Gospel throughout the world. But let’s consider logic here as well. You really only have two options. Either Jesus is who He said He is and therefore should be believed on and followed by every man, or Jesus isn’t who He said He is and therefore has no meaning for your life or future. If Jesus rose from the dead, it would be sufficient proof to once and forever establish His lordship and the truth of His teaching.
Putting the evidence and the logic aside, may I momentarily appeal to your heart? If this is true, it means that even though I offended God with my sin, God responded with love! Think about it. We were lost and the ONLY way we could have been forgiven of our sins and given the opportunity to have a relationship with God was for God Himself to come down and pay the debt for us. And He did just that and so much more. He came to our world, wore our flesh, carried our sorrows, experienced our weaknesses, died in our place, rose again, and now is offering forgiveness to anyone who would believe. That, my friend, is sacrificial love.
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. -John 3:16
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. -1 John 4:10
There are two more crucial words I want to share before concluding this presentation. The first word is “gift.” To be forgiven for your sins is the free gift of God to everyone who places their trust in Jesus. He paid for the gift. He prepared the gift. Now He is presenting it to anyone who would take it. The second word is “grace.” We must realize that we never deserved this love. We didn’t (and cannot) earn God’s love. A gift can only be given by the goodwill of the giver, not by any coercion of the recipient. You can’t earn it. You can’t buy it. You certainly cannot take it by force. It must be given by grace.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9
So what now? I’m infected with this sin problem and my efforts could never sufficiently pay for my offense against a holy God. God loved me and made a way of atonement through the death and resurrection of Jesus. So what is left for me? How can I receive the gift?
The biblical answer is simple: Turn away from your unbelief and self-effort (repent) and turn in faith to Jesus, the only one who can promise eternal life (trust). There’s no magic prayer, no ritual, and no cost. If there were a cookie-cut thought process, it would go something like this:
1. Admit that you are a sinner before a holy God. Reject any notion that you can earn God’s favor. Accept that, on your own, you are condemned and deserving of God’s judgment.
2. Reject any previous object of faith other than Christ. This could be church attendance, good works, or actual false Gods. If I asked you right this moment why you think you should be allowed into heaven, how would you answer? If anything other than Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s grace came to mind, reject it. The only faith that saves from sin is the faith placed solely in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. –Acts 4:12
4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. -Titus 3:4-7
3. Trust in the work of Jesus and the promise of God’s Word. As we saw before, Jesus’ work was complete and pleasing to God. His resurrection validated His message and demonstrated that He has the power to save all who will believe. You can either believe and trust Him, or you can doubt His claims. If you choose to believe, you can rest confidently in the promises of the Bible:
11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. -1 John 5:11-13
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: –John 1:12
Will you choose to follow Jesus today? Will you turn from your sin and self-righteousness and trust rather in the death and resurrection of Christ? It is my prayer that you will begin your relationship with Christ today!