Saturday, 03 August 2013 12:38

Good News!

Written by  Lou Priolo, Eastwood Counseling Center
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Many people believe that getting to heaven is accomplished by doing good things and relatively few bad things. The truth is, however, that even one sin is enough to keep you out of heaven. It really doesn’t matter how much good you do, any sin—regardless of how great or small—is enough to keep you out of heaven and send you straight to hell.

 

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Romans 6:23)

 

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.   For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.  (James 2:10–11)

 

Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)     

 

According to the Bible, for a person to be saved and go to heaven, there must first be the realization that his sin has caused a separation from God.  God, who is both holy and just, must deal with sinners and their sin appropriately. God’s holiness disposes Him to hate sin.  His justice requires Him to punish sin.  The wages or punishment of sin is death (cf. Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12, 6:23).  For Him to simply overlook sin without requiring the proper punishment would go against His holy and just nature.           

 

How just would you consider a judge to be if he, out of partiality to a convicted serial murderer, sentenced him to only a few days in jail rather than sentencing him to the minimum sentence required by the law? 

 

Well, what kind of magistrate would God, “the judge of all the earth” (Genesis 18:25), be if He didn’t punish sinners who transgress His law? For God to let sinners off the hook without demanding that they pay at least the minimum penalty for their crimes would render Him unjust (and unfit for the bench).  Since the minimum sentence for sin (according to the Bible) is death, God must punish sinners. His justice requires Him to do so.

 

And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11–14)

 

Now, there are other elements of God’s nature that dispose Him to be loving and merciful. In fact, the Bible says that God “is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). 

 

“But how can He forgive sinners in love and mercy when His justice requires Him to punish them for their sins?”

 

God had to find a substitute—someone who was willing to pay the penalty in the place of sinners. 

 

Men of Israel, listen to these words; Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know -- this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.(Acts 2:22–24)

 

On the other hand, if God could find someone willing to pay the price for men’s sin, yet who did not have to die for his own sin, He could punish that substitute in the sinner’s place. But, who is without sin?  Only God. So God, in His love and mercy, took upon Himself the form of a man in the person of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:7). The Lord Jesus lived a sinless life and then sacrificed Himself on the cross as the substitute for sinners who were incapable of redeeming themselves.  After He was buried, He rose from the dead, and in so doing demonstrated His power over death and sin and hell.

 

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.

(1 Peter 3:18)

 

This resurrection power is available to those who truly are willing to let go of their sins and believe the gospel (the good news about what Christ did by dying on the cross). The gospel of Jesus Christ provides power not only over death and hell, but also over sin—the very sin that has enslaved them and caused them so much misery.

 

Have you ever turned away from your sin and asked God to forgive you once and for all on the basis of Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross?

 

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For “whoever will call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.”

(Romans 10: 9, 10, 13)

 

 

This article has been adapted from the author’s book entitled, Getting a Grip: The Heart of Anger Workbook for Teens, published by Calvary Press.

 

 

Last modified on Saturday, 03 August 2013 12:48
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