This is the most important question you will ever consider, and the way you answer it will impact eternity. How are you made right with God? James 4:14 says “…what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Life is short, and we have little time to prepare for eternity. Hebrews 9:27 says that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Are you ready for that day? Allow me to take a few moments to answer three critical questions that tell us God’s simple plan of salvation: Romans 4:24 -25; 5:6-10 “…If we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, [then] we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God…for when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth [demonstrated] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Why do I need to be made right with God?
- I am a sinner: No matter how we view ourselves, the Bible is very clear about our spiritual condition. Isaiah 64:6 says that “…we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses [righteous acts] are as filthy rags.” Jeremiah 17:9 says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:” And Romans 3:23 says that “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We tend to compare ourselves to one another, but God’s word is clear, that it is God’s perfect standard by which we are compared. We are all guilty of lying, covetousness, immoral thinking, anger, disobedience, backbiting, gossip, pride, and a host of other sins. This passage emphasizes this truth, when Paul says, that Christ” was delivered for our offenses” literally, because of our blatant disregard for God’s laws, Christ went to the cross. Again, Paul writes that “while we were yet sinners” Christ died for us. And a third time, Paul writes that Christ died for us, the ones who are “ungodly.” We need to be made right with God first because we are sinners who have violated God’s perfect laws, but there is a second reason why I need to be made right with God:
- My sin separates me from God because He is holy: When the Bible says that God is holy, what it means is that God is set apart. Because He is holy, He cannot have fellowship with sinful man. Isaiah 59:2 says: “…your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Sin separates us from God, and until our sin is removed, it is impossible for us to walk in fellowship with Him. This passage emphasizes that through the death of Christ, we can have “peace with God.” Through His sacrifice, we can have “access into His grace,” while at war with Him, we can be “…reconciled to God by the death of His Son,” and then Paul mentions that Christ provides a means of reconciliation to God. Paul emphasizes the gain of “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” because apart from His work, our sins separate us from God, but there is a third reason why I need to be made right with God:
- My sin must be judged by God because He is impartial: When we say that God is just, we are saying that God must judge impartially. The punishment will always fit the crime committed. Romans 1:18 says that “…the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” Romans 2:2-3 says that we are “…sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” Verse 6 says that God will “…render to every man according to his deeds:” and then verse 11 says that there is “…no respect of persons with God.” God is impartial, and the consequence for our sin is eternal damnation. John 3:18 says, “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.” Jesus stated again emphatically in verse 36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Why was Christ “delivered for our offenses” to be crucified and humiliated unjustly? It was because God chose to pour out His wrath on Christ as our substitute. Why did Christ have to “dare to die?” It is because the penalty for sin is death. The Bible does not just teach that our sin separates us from God, but it also must be judged. God cannot be just and excuse our sin; however, there is a fourth reason that I need to be made right with God:
- There is nothing that I can do to remove my sin and make me righteous: No matter how hard we may try in our own strength, there is nothing that we can do to erase our sin. It cannot be eliminated by our efforts. Titus 3:5 says “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…” Roman 3:20 says that “…by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Roman 4:4-5 says “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” This passage refers to us as being “without strength” and Christ’s sacrifice as “in due time.” All men who are sinners are absolutely helpless and desperate apart from the mercy and grace of God.
How has God provided a way for me to be made right with Him?
God has graciously provided one and only one way that a man can have his sins removed, his sin debt paid in full, and be given the righteousness of God. In John 14:6 Jesus boldly stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Isaiah 53:4-6, 10-11 said that Christ would “bare our griefs, and carry our sorrows…he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement [the discipline that brought us peace] of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes [His wounds] we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin…He shall see of the travail [agony] of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Romans 3:24-25 says “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [the one who appeased His wrath] through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God…” II Corinthians 5:21 says “…he [God the Father] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” I Corinthians 15:3-4 says“…Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” This truth is why Paul said that Christ was “delivered [to die] for our offenses,” and that He was “raised again for our justification [our being declared righteous in the eyes of God based on the righteousness of Christ on our behalf],”that “Christ died for the ungodly [us],” that “God demonstrated his love toward us,” that “Christ died for us,” that we are “justified by his blood,” that we are “saved from wrath through him,” that we are “reconciled to God by the death of his son,” and that we are “saved by his life.” There is one and only one way that a man can be made right with God, and it is by means of the sacrificial death of the perfect Son of God, and His resurrection that demonstrated that He was that perfect Son of God.
How am I made right with God?
Notice the one condition that Paul mentions in this passage. “If we believe on him,” then and only then “we have peace with God.” He says that we are “justified by faith,” and that we have “access by faith.” The condition for being made right with God is not our works or sacraments, but faith alone in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf. Romans 3:22 says that God’s righteousness and our salvation is received “…by [the] faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…” John 1:12-13 says that “…as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” And John 3:16 says “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.” This faith in Christ is not simply an acknowledgment of the facts of the gospel but a humble dependence upon the righteousness of Christ alone and His work on our behalf. In Acts 17:30-31 Paul preached in Athens that God “…now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” And in Acts 20:21 Paul“…testified both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” This repentant faith, the condition of salvation, is a dependence upon Christ alone that comes when a man has a change in his thinking about his sin, his righteousness, and the person and work of Christ. Until a man sees himself as an unrighteous sinner who has no place to turn for salvation but Christ alone, he is not in the place to place his dependence in Christ. He has not yet believed on Christ. If you have not yet understood the gospel and placed your faith in Jesus Christ alone for the salvation of your soul, then I invite you today to do that. Romans 10:13 promises that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”