First, let’s start with your nature, who you are.
A. You are sinful by nature.
Do you consider yourself to be a good person? Most people do. I have talked to many people one-on-one about their spiritual state, and almost everyone says ‘Yes, I am a good person.’
Unfortunately, the Scriptures do not say that about you. Let’s start with God’s Law as a standard of what’s truly good. If you believe you are a good person, I have a simple test for you to take. It’s called the ‘Good Person’s Test’, and it’s based on the Ten Commandments (from Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5):
1. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me.
Have you always loved God above everything else? Without fail and without exception? Be honest.
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
Have you made a god in your mind that suits your? Have you truly known the biblical God? Or have you changed him to make him more suitable to your lifestyle?
3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
Have you ever used the name of your Creator disrespectfully or as a filthy cussword? God is Holy, and His Name is glorious. Have you ever tossed his name around casually, used it as a swear word, or used it to express anger or disgust?
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Have you kept one day a week aside for the Lord and for His worship? Have you done this every week and given God his proper worship?
5. Honor your father and your mother.
Ever since you were a child, have you always honored your father and your mother? Always? Did you ever disrespect them or their decisions, even once?
6. You shall not murder.
Jesus said: “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
The Bible also says: “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1John 3:15)
God judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart, not just the outward actions. Ask yourself: have you ever hated?
7. You shall not commit adultery.
Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
Again, this shows that God judges your heart. Be honest with yourself. Have you ever looked upon someone with a lustful heart?
8. You shall not steal.
Ask yourself, have you ever stolen anything, no matter how small? What do you call someone who steals? A thief.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (You shall not lie).
This is a big one. Have you ever told even ONE lie? What do you call someone who lies? A liar.
10. You shall not covet.
Have you ever looked at something someone else owned with jealous desire?
If you’re a visual learner, here’s a video presentation from Way of the Master of this same concept:
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”(1John 1:8)Also consider:
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)Now that you’ve examined your own heart, let’s consider God:
B. God is a Holy, Just God. His Law is perfect, and it is He who exercises His Righteous Judgment.
Consider the following Scriptures:
“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12)
“For the LORD is our judge, The LORD is our lawgiver, The LORD is our king; He will save us.” (Isaiah 33:22)Not only is God our lawgiver, He is also perfect. Jesus said:
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)God as the perfect, holy Judge, will judge you one day. Consider this:
“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”(Hebrews 9:27)
“You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48).C. Because you have broken God’s holy Law, you deserve death.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)This is a hard one to swallow. Many people (maybe even you) object to the idea that you deserve death for your sins. I’d like to cover the two main objections people have.
First, many people say that because God is good, He would not give them death for their sins. But this is bad logic. It is precisely BECAUSE God is so good and so just that He will give you what you justly deserve.
Think about it this way: Imagine a murderer killed your family, and was caught. The man is brought to court, and on the day of his trial, you sit in the front of the courtroom anxiously awaiting justice to be served. The judge enters, and he hears the case. The murderer admits that he killed your family, and along with the forensic evidence, it’s plain to all that he did it. However when it comes time for the sentence, the judge says, ‘I am a good judge. There’s no punishment needed for this man’s crimes. Case dismissed. You’re free to go.’ Do you see that this judge would not be a good judge at all, but would be a wicked, corrupt judge?
If that’s the case with a human judge, how can we consider our Holy, Just, Perfect God to be Good if we think He will sweep our sins away and not deal with them? It’s impossible.
The Scriptures tell us:
“He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 17:15)It is God’s GOODNESS that will prevail, and that means that His justice will be satisfied.
The Scriptures tell us:
“The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good. The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:1-3)Therefore, because you have broken the laws of the very Creator who made you, you are deserving of death. His wrath (fierce and righteous anger) is upon you for your treachery and your evil acts committed against Him.
D. God Himself made a way for you to be right with Him.
If everything I’ve said so far is true, then what shall you do on Judgment Day, the day on which you are face to face with your sovereign, creator God, the One who made you and has a righteous claim on your life? When your day before the Lord comes, what will be your plea? In honesty, your answer must be that you are 'Guilty' of breaking the law of God.
If that’s true, then how does any man obtain peace with God? After all, God’s justice demands death.
Here then, is the Good News:
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ was born. He is God the Son, and He condescended to come to this world. (Read Matthew 1-3). He lived a sinless, perfect life. He fulfilled the Law of God completely. After approximately 3 years of ministry, Jesus was crucified on a cross, and He died there.
“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:4-11, my emphasis)Jesus Christ bore your sins on the Cross! He DIED for you. He took your place. He drank up the wrath of God, and God’s justice is satisfied.
It doesn’t end there, though: Jesus rose from the grave! After the crucifixion, Jesus was laid in a tomb, and three days later He arose!
How could this be?
Why did He die? After all, He was, and is, God.
But since He did die, how then could He be raised from the dead?
Why He died. He died, or more accurately, He gave up his life willingly, as a ransom payment for sinners. He did this out of the great love with which He loves sinners. He lived a perfect, sinless life, a life that none of us, in our fallen and sinful condition, could ever live. Because of this, he would have never died, because the Bible tells us that “the penalty of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). All of us have sinned by breaking God's moral laws, and all of us are therefore under the penalty of death. But Jesus never sinned. He incurred no death penalty, and therefore had within his possession a life of perfect righteousness. Jesus took that sinless life and offered it up to God as a complete and perfect payment for our sins.
“No one takes my life from Me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:18)Why He rose from the dead. Simply put, death couldn't hold him. Death had no claim on Him because He had broken no Law.
“God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (Acts 2:24)After Jesus rose from the dead, He spent a brief time here on earth afterwards, teaching his Apostles, then He ascended to Heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God the Father.
With all this being said, what will YOU do? You cannot earn this salvation from God:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, my emphasis)You cannot strive to somehow may yourself appealing to God, who then saves you. No! Instead, listen to this:
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:8-10)You don’t deserve salvation. You deserve death. Yet God offers salvation!
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”(John 3:14-18, my emphasis)
“Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.'” (Mark 1:14-15, my emphasis)
“But what does it say? 'THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART'–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, 'WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for 'WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'” (Romans 10:8-13, my emphasis)Friend, if you have read through all of this, you have read the Gospel (the word Gospel means the ‘Good News’). Indeed this news is VERY GOOD. It’s the best news you will ever hear.
God has provided the perfect sacrifice to make a way for you to be right with Him, if you will just repent (turn away from sin) and believe. Turn from your wickedness and throw yourself on Jesus Christ, the Savior. There is NO OTHER WAY.
“Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'” (John 14:6, my emphasis)There is no other way to have peace with God, forgiveness of your sins, and true joy except through the death of Jesus Christ on your behalf.
There is no “Sinner’s Prayer” in Scripture. Instead people have been born again for thousands of years the same way:
Repent from your sins. Turn AWAY from wickedness. Turn TOWARDS God. Throw yourself at His feet and beg God to be merciful to you, a sinner. Cry out to God. Plead with Him. Believe the Good News that Jesus Christ saves undeserving, wretched, miserable sinners, just like me, and just like you.
The amazing part of this is that all who humbly recognize their own sinfulness and need for a Savior, and who place their faith in Jesus' perfect payment made on their behalf, will not only be cleansed and forgiven, but will become sons and daughters of God. They will also be given new hearts and new desires, including the desire and the will to increasingly turn from sin. Glory to God for his great and unfathomable goodness and mercy.
Let me close with two passages of Scripture, which contain a warning, and an offer:
“Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, 'Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.'” (Luke 13:1-5)
“The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let him who thirsts come and take the water of life without charge.” (Revelation 22:17)
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Note from Sola Sisters: If you have any questions regarding anything you’ve just read, please feel free to contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will be happy to answer any questions you have.
The Only Road To Heaven (John MacArthur)