You are reading this as a result of God’s grace and providential care. We here in the United States are highly blessed by God. Perhaps the greatest of these blessings is our access to the Holy Scriptures. Let us not, however, be as ancient Israel who ignored and despised God’s goodness. The goodness of God is for a purpose. That purpose is stated by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Roman Church: “Do you think lightly the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God (is designed) to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)
Yes, God demands of us, as a result of “His kindness, and forbearance, and patience,” that we cease our stubborn rebellion against His law and submit to His claims over our lives.
That you may evaluate your present relationship with God and know what is ahead for you in the future, the following four Bible facts are presented for your consideration.
FIRST, in your natural condition you are a sinner and unrighteous in the sight of God. (Romans 3:9-10, 23) This is not only true of you, it is true of me; it is true of all men. This is why Paul says to the church in Rome that “all the world is guilty before God.” (Romans 3:19)
But let us not generalize and somehow find refuge in the fact that “we’re all in this together.” True as this might be that we are all sinners and equally guilty before a Holy God, yet this should not be a comfort to you. For it is you who must answer individually and personally to God for your life and conduct.
Born into the family of man, you are a sinner (Romans 5:12); and you alone must answer in the roll-call of the righteous judgment of a just God, “Who will render to every man according to his deeds.” (Romans 2:6)
What a bleak picture. If the Bible told us no more than what has been said above, then our condition would be eternally hopeless. Our sigh would be one of hopeless despair. But thanks to a gracious God there is more! And that more is good news to hopeless sinners like you and me.
This brings us to the SECOND vital fact. The name of “Jesus Christ” is a name above every other name. It is in this name that those without hope find hope. Jesus Christ is God, who, as a result of His own purpose and love, came into this world as a man to settle once and for all the sin question.
The fact is that Jesus Christ came into this world and lived and died for such as you and I. He came that men who are dead in their sins might have life.
Apart from the saving work of Christ, you have no hope. Nothing else will do to make you right with God. God accepted Christ as the perfect Substitute for sinful man. He said of Christ, during His life on earth, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) The final proof, that what Christ did for sinners was accepted by God, is seen in the fact that God raised Him from the dead. (Acts 2:23-24; 17:30-31; Romans 1:1-4)
The THIRD vital fact which you must know is that God has a claim on your life. You are His creation. He has a right to demand of you – indeed He does demand of you – submission to His will.
There are two ways to eternal life: by your own good works and by faith in Christ. If your works are perfect before God, He will accept you. (Romans 2:7, 13) But you and I both know by experience – even without God’s revelation concerning us – that we are far from perfect. Your thoughts are impure; your motives wrong; you have neglected your first duty to love God above all else; and you have shunned your duty to love your neighbor as yourself. In all honesty you must confess, “Yes indeed, I am a sinner!”
Honesty demands that you admit your guilt and also indicts you in harmony with God’s infallible indictment: “All have sinned; there is none righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:9-10) Since salvation by works is impossible, that leaves only salvation by faith. Faith involves two things: a turning from idols and at the same time a turning to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. (I Thessalonians 1:9-10) Turning from idols, in the Bible, is called repentance. Idols include the world and anything that stands in the way of or takes the place of total allegiance to God. Turning to Jesus Christ means trusting Him to save you from your sins and submitting your life to His will.
There is no other way, for “there is salvation in no one else.” (Acts 4:12) And just as “He commands all men everywhere to repent,” He also requires of you faith “in the Lord Jesus Christ” in order to be saved. (Acts 17:30; 16:31)
FOURTH, God’s demands of repentance and faith are not optional. They are mandatory. You have broken God’s law and are guilty of rebellion against the King of the universe. For this God is going to bring you into judgment.
Today you are at enmity with God and God Himself is angry with you. (Romans 8:6-7; John 3:36) But all is not yet lost. He is still – even NOW – giving you the gospel of salvation. He is still calling on you to be reconciled . He still beckons you “come,” “believe,” “be saved.” For truly “today is the day of salvation.” (II Corinthians 5:20-6:2)
As certain as today is the day of salvation, tomorrow is the day of judgment. Don’t be deceived. You will die. “After that the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) And without Jesus as your Substitute and Mediator, the Scriptures warn, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)
Your only hope for now and the future is the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone can save you. Turn from your idols! Turn to Christ! Believe! Be saved!