By Wil Pounds
One of the basic principles of sharing Christ with your friends is that you have to present some bad news before you can share the good news.
The Bible contains both bad news and good news. The bad news is that we have a very serious problem. The Bible says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NET).
The word that catches our eye is “sinned.” “All have sinned.” You can ask grammar school students what sin is and they can tell you in the flash of an eye what sin is. We sin when we lie, cheat, steal, lust, hate, gossip, murder, etc. But it is more than that; it is anything that does not glorify a holy and righteous God in our lives.
The “glory of God” is his standard for people. We keep trying to reach His standard and we come up short. A friend of mine said it is like trying to throw stones at the North Pole. No matter how hard you try you could never hit the North Pole with a rock. We always come up short when try to satisfy God’s righteousness. He is perfect, but we are imperfect. We are sinners by our attitudes, and our actions.
Now if that is not bad enough, our problem gets worse. The Bible says there is a penalty attached to our problem with sin. It is bad enough that we are sinners, but the Bible says, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The "payoff" of sin is death. The "wages" or "payoff" was used in reference to the soldier's pay. "The soul that sins will surely die." That is the payoff.
There is a big difference between working for a salary and receiving a free gift. If you work for a company your employer pays you a salary for the work you do. The Bible tells us that when we sin we earn a wage and it pays in death. It is a spiritual death that separates us eternally from God. The sad truth is we deserve it because we are sinners.
The barrier between God and us is so great that we cannot overcome it in our own power, good works, religion, philosophy, self-righteousness, etc.
However, there is some good news in God’s Word for us.
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ died for us. “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6, 8 NET). This verse of Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ loved us so much that he was willing to die for us. Let’s suppose that you were guilty of murder, and the capital punishment by lethal injection is the penalty. That penalty is going to be paid. You must die. Out of grace I decide to take your punishment on myself and die in your place. You would then be set free because the penalty had been paid in full on your behalf.
The Bible tells us that is exactly what Christ did for you. Christ took your penalty that you deserve for sin, placed it upon himself, and died in your place (2 Cor. 5:21). There is no greater love than that.
The evidence that God accepted the full payment of your sin debt is that Jesus rose from the dead. The Bible says, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation” (Romans 10:9-10 NET).
Salvation is God’s fee gift to everyone who believes on Jesus Christ as their Savior. Again, the Bible says, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NET).
Jesus Christ is the only answer to the problem that separates us from God (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). This is why we must put our faith in Him alone to save us. You must put your trust in him just as you would trust a chair to hold you up and keep you from falling to the floor. You must trust in Jesus Christ to get you to heaven. Trusting in good works, religion, philosophy, keeping the law, going to church, etc. will not help. Salvation is not a wage God pays for your good behavior. It is a gift of His grace, freely given to the sinner who repents and believes on Christ to save him. When you trust in Christ alone, God gives you eternal life as His free gift.
Jesus said, “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24 NET). Ask Jesus Christ to save you right now. Pray something like this if it comes from your heart: “Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I deserve to be punished. I believe that you died for me on the cross to pay my penalty. I know that you are alive right now in heaven and that you are listening to my prayer. I trust you alone to forgive me of all my sins and give me everlasting life with you in heaven. Thank you for saving me. Amen.”
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
God Bless you my friends, Bob
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