Where salvation is explained in plain English–from why we need to be saved to how it works.
So, the central story of the Bible is about God reconciling a rebellious people. You, whether you like it or not, are one of those rebellious people.
You say, “I’m only human—nobody’s perfect.” That’s correct. Romans 3:23 says the same thing: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Our Problem: Separation from God
You and I both do things that we know are wrong. That’s what conscience means: sinning with knowledge.
But you say, “I’m a pretty good person. I’m not as bad as the guy down the street who drinks whiskey and beats his wife.”
You wanna bet?
More than likely, on any given day, you are guilty of blaspheme, lust, murder, lying and stealing. [Don’t believe me? Take this quiz to find out.]
No wonder you feel estranged from God—He’s holy and good. You and I, on the other hand, are not.
But your sinful acts have alienated you from God; your sins have caused him to reject you and not to listen to your prayers. Isaiah 59:2
And you were dead in your tresspasses and sins. Ephesians 2:1
So, whether you break one or all of God’s laws, you are guilty of sin. And it doesn’t matter if you stole a pencil from work or slit a toddlers throat: God punishes all sin.
What Happens If You Sin
Just as criminals must pay the penalty for their crimes, sinners must pay the penalty for their sins.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
If you continue to sin, in the end, you will stand before the Judgment seat of God and He will declare you guilty. Your punishment? Spiritual death.
Spiritual death separates you from God. This is called hell, a physical place where unforgiven sinners experience physical torment. For eternity.
Now, does it concern you that you’ve sinned against God? It should.
You’ve actually angered God by your sin. The Bible says that His wrath abides on you and that you are an enemy of God. What can you do about it?
Futility of Our Works
You might think you can do enough good deeds to outweigh your bad deeds. Or lead a good life and God will then play nice with you.
This attitude is called “works by salvation.” And it’s unbiblical.
The Bible teaches no amount of human goodness or human works can get you on the good side of God.
For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Salvation Is a Free Gift
Imagine one morning you were arrested for torturing dogs, maiming them, even killing them. You were a respectable, clean fellow, yes, but you just couldn’t stand dogs.
In court, the judge finds you guilty. He sentences you to 17 years in prison. Without parole. You weep. But just before you are ushered out of the court room by the guard, a stranger walks through the door.
The stranger takes off your handcuffs and puts them on his hands. He announces to the judge, “I’m going in his place.”
You watch dumbfounded as the guard carts the stranger away.
What just happened? The stranger just paid your penalty and his sacrifice was a demonstration of his love for you.
Jesus did the same thing for you and your sins over 2,100 years ago.
Christ Has Paid Your Penalty
The Bible says that Christ loved you enough to die for you–even when you were rebelling against Him.
But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
This is the good news of the Bible: God gave His own Son to become a man, live a sinless life and die on the cross to satisfy the penalty for our sins.
Moreover, to prove that Jesus was in fact God-man and that His death in fact meant substitution for your sins, God raised Jesus from the dead.
Why did He do this?
God does not want you to perish. In fact, He’s provided a way for you to be forgiven.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Right now, God invites you to come to Him for a full pardon.
How Do You Receive This Free Gift?
The Bible teaches that all you have to do is follow His command to accept this free gift:
Repent…that your sins may be wiped out and times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19
If you will confess and forsake your sins and trust in Jesus Christ, God will forgive you and you’ll pass from death to life.
It’s a free gift. And it’s your choice: you can either accept or reject this free gift. What do you want to do?
What Does It Mean to Put Your Faith in Jesus Christ?
It means to trust in Jesus the same you’d trust in a lifeboat cast on a raging sea.
Today, with all your heart, surrender your life to Jesus Christ. Confess your sins. Ask God to forgive you. Say that you’ll trust in Jesus. And thank Him for the gift of everlasting life.
Pray now. There is nothing magical about the words you use. It is the attitude of your heart that God cares about.
And don’t put this off. You could die the instant you turn away from this screen.
If you are making this commitment to Christ today, please let me know. I want to hear from you.
**Part of the Curmudgeon’s Guide to Sharing Your Faith series.**