Sue and I are enjoying what we see as a continual honeymoon. The truth is, our honey-sweet, day-to-day adventure has been made possible only because we, personally, are firmly settled in an eternal unbreakable relationship ̶ an Eternal Honeymoon, if you will ̶ with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Susan and I have been born into God’s family by simple child-like faith. Actually, our spiritual birth into God’s family was a free gift. We weren’t “good people,” even though we thought we were. We didn’t earn our way into God’s heavenly family by living a Holy life. We were simply average people; I’m sure a lot like you.
Let me ask you a personal question: Do you consider yourself to be a good person?
There came a time in each of our lives, Sue and I, when the Spirit of God opened our understanding to see ourselves as we truly were; sinners on our way to hell because of our sins against a holy righteous God. You, also, might want to take this opportunity to go back and check the Ten Commandments (commonly known as “God’s Law”) to see where you stand with Him.
For instance, one of the Biblical Ten Commandments says, You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13. ESV.) Most of us would say, “I never murdered anyone.” But Jesus and His apostles taught a deeper understanding of how sinful our heart is when they said,
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:15. ESV.)
I’ve hated people. Have you? Then that makes us murderers in our hearts and in God’s eyes.
Let me ask you another question. Have you ever committed adultery? Although many of us would say no, Jesus Himself taught a deeper understanding of adultery:
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27, 28. ESV.)
I’ve lusted in my heart. Haven’t you? Then that makes us adulterers at heart and in God’s eyes.
“But I only hate and lust once in a while,” you might say. “I’m not really that bad once you get to know me!” That’s like telling God, “I only commit murder and adultery once in a while. I’m not that bad.” (Be careful what you say, God already knows you!)
Look at it this way; If I were to hate and lust (and I have!) or even if I were to do something as minor as telling a little white lie or cursing or even stealing a pack of gum, then by God’s standard you could call me a murdering, adulterous, lying, blaspheming thief! And we haven’t even mentioned the other commandments, all of which I confess to having broken, perhaps many times in my life. And remember, the scripture says,
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10. NIV.)
If God were to judge me based on His Law, would I be guilty or not guilty? I’d be guilty, of course! How about you? Would you be guilty or not guilty?
Please understand, I’m not bragging about my sin here. No, I’m humbled when I think back over my years of sin. I’m only trying to point out that the sins we think of as minor, even normal in today’s world, are viewed by a holy, righteous God as major transgressions of His Law, which He looks upon as sin against Him, deserving of eternal judgment. God is so holy that He could never turn His head when we sin. He could never say, “Let’s just forget it this time.” No, because He IS a perfectly holy and righteous God, He MUST judge sin, no matter how minor we think it is. And yes, He keeps a criminal record of every single sin we ever committed.
As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” … “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. … “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” … (Romans 3:10-12, 20, 23. ESV.)
“Okay, I understand that I am a sinner who has broken God’s Law,” you say. “Because of my sins I understand that I deserve God’s judgment,” you say. “But what about all the good things I’ve done in my life? Surely they count for something.”
The Bible answer to that is:
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us. (Titus 3:5, NKJV.)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8 and 9, ESV.)
Each human being naturally believes that even though they have done some bad things in their life they are basically good and that God will overlook their sins and simply give them a free pass into heaven when they die. But that’s wishful thinking. The Bible says that the wickedness hidden in our hearts is much worse than we could imagine.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9. KJV.)
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; (Isaiah 64:6. KJV.)
And the worst part of it all is that sin has consequences; it has a price. Like any crime sin must be paid for.
For the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23.)
All of the world’s religions except Christianity are based upon the false thinking that since God is love, He will overlook sin and reward good in His court room. Religion therefore teaches its followers that they can earn the favor of God (or of some god) and cover their sin with their religious works or observances or good deeds.
Even within the realm of so-called Christianity there are vast numbers of leaders and followers who call themselves Christian and yet strive, according to some man-made set of laws or requirements, to earn a righteous standing before God. It doesn’t matter if they call their “laws” the Biblical Ten Commandments, church rules, church dogma, church tradition, church sacraments or “good deeds” of your own personal choosing. They are still all man-made works done with the idea of buying a ticket to heaven.
It’s as though religion sees God with a balance scale in his hand on judgment day. If a soul has more good works to outweigh the sins of his or her life, God will let that soul into His heaven. And even though that soul might have more sin than good deeds, well, they think God is so good and loving He will just smile and usher them in anyway. They reason that only the very worst of sinners, like Hitler, will be turned away and face hell fire. But the truth is, all of that religious thinking is of the Devil.
The Bible says:
But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’ (Galatians 3:11. NKJV.)
Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified … I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (Galatians 2:16 and 21. NIV.)
And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, (Romans 4:5. ESV.)
But why has God made it seemingly so difficult. Why won’t He accept our good religious works or a good life as payment into His heaven?
For by grace (that which we do not deserve) you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the (free) gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8 and 9. NKJV.)
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:27 and 28. ESV.)
You see, God has a much better plan! Please listen carefully:
God the Father sent His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. Jesus stood in God’s court room 2000 years ago and took the sentence for our sin and guilt upon Himself. He then suffered the full weight of God’s judgment, dying in our place on the cross. His death as our substitute made it possible for God the Father to dismiss our case, absolving us of any guilt that He had held against us from our heavenly criminal record of sin. Christ took our death sentence for us so that we could be forgiven of all our sins and go free. Like a sacrificial lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ BECAME sin for us and we BECAME the righteousness of God!
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21. ESV.)
But there’s more, much more. Once we simply believe that Jesus died in our place to pay for our sins, we are “born again” (born spiritually from above) into God’s family as one of His children to spend eternity with Him.
In that same instant God the Father washes away the criminal record of all our sins, as though they never happened; He transfers the very righteousness of His Son, Jesus, to our heavenly bank account; and He sends the Spirit of His Son to dwell in our heart forever as a comforter, a guide, and a seal that we are now a child in God’s family.
And if that were not enough, He also allows us to share in the full inheritance which He gave to His Son, our Lord Jesus. In other words, everything that the Father gave to Jesus now belongs to us, His family, as well.
To sum up; because of His Love for all of mankind God the Father extends grace and mercy to us all as a free gift. If we truly believe in our heart that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross in our place, taking our sin and punishment on Himself, we will be accepted into God’s family as His child. (God knows when we believe!) We will then be bound together with Jesus in an everlasting relationship that will take us to heaven to spend eternity with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Just before He died on the cross Jesus cried out, It is finished! (John 19:30. ESV.) From that point on for eternity nothing more could be added in order to receive the free gift of eternal life … nothing more, that is, but our faith that He died in our place to pay for our sins.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV.)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23. ESV,)
Would you like to receive the free gift of eternal life and become a child of God today? If so, go to God the Father alone, in prayer (no rules or religion involved) and talk to him about your sin. Pour your heart out to Him. Tell Him that now you finally understand that Jesus died in your place to pay the penalty for your sins. Then ask The Heavenly Father to forgive you and to give you the free gift of eternal life. What He has promised He will do.
Next, ask your Heavenly Father to give you strength to repent of (turn away from, give up) any sin that He makes clear you should stop. God’s Holy Spirit, Who now lives in your heart, can certainly give you the desire to change whatever He knows is necessary. Just ask Him.
We also suggest you start reading your Bible, beginning in the book of John. And don’t neglect to talk to your Heavenly Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus, on a daily basis. Ask Them to walk with you, guide you and bless you every day.
Last, tell another Christian you know, maybe a friend or family member, that you prayed and asked God for eternal life. Tell them you are in God’s family now. They might offer to help you grow in your new faith by answering questions you will have and by taking you along to a Bible preaching church or Bible study with them.
Carl and Sue