Peace with God
God is holy
- He is perfect and righteous (Leviticus 11:4, Isaiah 6:3)
He demands perfection of us
- The Law was given to show us our sin (Romans 7:7)
- If we commit one sin we are guilty of all (James 2:10)
- The best of us are abomination before Him (Luke 16:15)
We are sinful beings and fall short of His demands
- The standard Jesus lays out is higher than the ten commandments. He says anyone who looks at a woman with lust has committed adultery or anyone angry with his brother is guilty of murder (Matthew 5)
- All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
- Our goodness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)
- We are dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1-5)
He will judge us
- We will have to give an account to God (1 Peter 4:5, Romans 14:12)
- There is an appointed day of judgement for us (Acts 17:16-34, Hebrews 9:27)
Our sin requires justice/punishment
- The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)
The bad news...We have a problem. What do we do???
- We fail God's criteria for entering heaven
The solution...God is loving. He sent His son to fulfill the requirement of perfection
- God so loved the world that He sent Jesus (John 3:16)
- Jesus is God incarnate (Philippians 2)
- Jesus lived the perfect life to fulfill God's requirements (Matthew 5:17-18, Galatians 3:13)
- Jesus rebuked misconceptions about Himself and affirmed those who understood who He was (Matthew 16:15-17)
- God, as a judge, is both just in that He pronounces a right verdict for our sin, and merciful in that He provides a solution by offering Jesus to take the punishment for us, rather than leaving us helpless.
Through Jesus' death, He substituted Himself in our place and took the punishment for sin. His resurrection showed His power over death
- He made Jesus sin that we might be righteous (have a right standing with God) in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- There is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22, Ephesians 1:7)
- Christ died for us (Romans 5:8-9) and bore our sins (1 Peter 2:24)
We are to confess our sins and trust in Jesus alone to save us based on His completed and sufficient work
- We need to recognize how mch we fall short before God and repent of our sins. Once we turn away from our sins, we turn to God through faith and He forgives us (1 John 1:9)
- We add nothing to God's work, so that we can't boast. All the glory is owed to Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- Trusting Jesus isn't mere belief in His existence because even the demons believe in Him. It means reliance on His work to save you, rather than your own (James 2:19)
- Our wages, what we deserve because of our sin, should be death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23)
- The magnitude or frequency of past sin doesn't matter. Paul considered himself the worst of sinners because he persecuted and killed Jesus' disciples (1 Timonthy 1:15-16), yet Paul was saved
- The key attribute of faith is its object (Jesus). You can walk out on the ice with little faith and it can hold you because it's good ice or walk out with confidence and fall through because it's bad ice. The quality of the ice is what matters. The same is true with salvation - who you trust is more important than how much you trust.
Jesus has specified that He's the only way
- He says that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6) not through anyone or anything else
- Jesus says to enter through the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13)
The good news in summary...By God's grace, He gives us what we don't deserve, which is Christ's righteousness (right standing with God)
- By grace we are saved through faith as a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- Instead of looking upon our sins and fallenness, after we are saved God looks upon Christ's perfection covering us and we are not condemned (Romans 8:1)
- We have righteousness from God (Philippians 3:9)
- We have peace with God (Romans 5:1-2)
The result...because of our salvation, we love God and do good works for Him (good works do not save us)
- Good works are our response to His love and sacrifice (James 2)
- We die to self dailly to serve Him (Luke 9:22-24)
- The nature of humanity matters. God doesn't grade on a cruve or weight the good actions against bad on a cosmic scale. Our sin creates a great chasm between us and Him that we can never bridge on our own. We can't work our way to God...This leads to a dilemma.
- The nature of Jesus matters. He asked His disciples who they thought He was and the answer mattered. Jesus fulfilled God's requirement for a perfect life laid out in the law, took the punishment we deserved for sin and returned to life in His resurrection. Only God could do this work (not a glorified man or an angel). Jesus calls people to trust and obey Him.
- The nature of salvation matters. We bring nothing to the table, so we must depend upon Jesus as our Savior. Salvation is through God's grace received through faith. It is not a matter of baptism or works because His work is sufficient and we add nothing to it.
- This is ultimately a question of truth, not preference or opinion. People can be sincere about their beliefs and be sincerely wrong. God gives us the answer through the Bible, so we don't have to guess and make up religious schemes to reach Him. We don't have the option of denying the parts of the Bible that we dislike; rather we must accept or reject the whole.
- Time is short. James 4:14 describes our life like mist that's here today and gone tomorrow. We must seek God now and not delay. God says "In the time of favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you" Behold, NOW is the time of favor; now is the day of salvation!" (2 Corinthians 6:2) Whoever shall call on the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13).
Is there anything in your life that would prevent you from turning from your sin and calling out to the Lord right now for salvation? There is nothing more important. Today is the day of salvation. Turn from your sin right now and call out to the Lord to save you.