The message at the heart of Christianity is really quite simple. It is a message about God and his Son, Jesus. It is about life and death and the choice that we all face. And it all starts with a loving creator God. To learn more about this message, please follow this link, or read below:
The Lord has indeed bestowed His grace and mercy upon undeserving sinners, allowing a way by which one can be saved according to the work of Christ on the cross. What is this Gospel of grace?
"He then brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'"
1) Realize you are a sinner:
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3:23)
"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;" (Isaiah 64:6)
"If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us." (I John 1:8)
The first step in realizing that you need a Savior is acknowledging that you are indeed lost to begin with. Many of us try to take inventory of our lives and count up all of the good deeds and kind words we've ever offered our fellow man. But with regard to our eternal destination, as Isaiah states above, our good deeds (righteous acts) amount to nothing more than rags compared to the righteousness of God.
Indeed, you may have done some praiseworthy things in life. But no man can stand alone against the holiness and righteousness of God. The Bible describes Him as a "consuming fire," sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Up against that, and by the standard of perfection that God demands, we realize that the shiny crown of goodness consists of nothing but sand.
Have you ever lied? Ever stolen? Looked lustfully at another person other than your spouse? Then you have done enough to deserve eternal judgment for your sins.
2) Acknowledge that you can't save yourself.
"As it is written:'There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; no one who seeks God.'" (Romans 3:10)
As we saw above, compared to the holiness of God, our shiny works are sand. Thus, we cannot do anything to redeem ourselves, and do not possess the righteousness to satisfy God's justice.
We are all unrighteous. Our sinful nature separates us from the Lord and makes us objects of His wrath.
3) See what we deserve.
"For the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23a)
That is right. Death. While we are slaves to our sin natures, we are standing dead in our sin. This does not denote a physical death, but rather a spiritual one. One that is marked by separation from God.
But God does not leave us here without any hope for anyone in this world. Rather, God has made a way for His justice to be satisfied through the death of Christ Jesus on the cross. His holy blood secured a purchase for sinners, and His act was one of complete redemption for those whom the Lord would call to Himself. None of us deserve the mercy of the Lord. None of us deserve forgiveness. But yet God, in His great mercy, came down to earth in the form of a man and made the way for man and God to be reconciled. Nothing we could do on our own can save us. Neither can anything we do add to our salvation. God's grace alone saves us, through faith alone in Christ alone. But how do we become followers of Christ?
4) Repent of your sin.
"Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord God, 'Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations.'" (Ezekiel 14:6)
"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:5)
The word "repent" means to "turn away from." So, when we see the Biblical admonishment to "repent" of our sins, it means that we are to turn away from them. Salvation is not fire insurance that gives you the ticket to go on and continue to disobey God. Rather, as Paul states in Romans: "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!" (Rom 6:15). Rather, the desire to be forgiven of our sins by God should be met with a sorrowful heart which desires to obey God and submit to Him.
Does this mean that you never will sin again. No, sadly not. As long as we are still on earth, we will face temptation. But those who truly love the Lord and are redeemed by Him will seek to obey Him and repent when they stumble. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
5) Realize what Jesus did for you.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Romans 10:9)
The death of Christ 2000 years ago was no accident, and did not catch Him by surprise. Rather, Christ's sole mission on earth was to redeem those the Lord would call to forgiveness. And His resurrection demonstrates His victory over death and sin, and His power and might as God the Son. Realize that only this sacrifice from God saved us and acknowledge that it is only by His death that we become righteous before God. Christ was our substitute when He died on the cross, and His death satisfied the demands of God's justice. The Bible tells us that in Acts 4:12, "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." So it is only through His death that we can be forgiven.
6) Submit yourself to Christ.
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Galatians 2:20)
"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.'" (Matthew 16:24)
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 16:25)
Once again, salvation is by no means insurance from hell. Rather, it is a demonstration of God's glory that He can redeem sinners and His mercy, that He chose to forgive these sinners and save them from His wrath through Christ. As a result of this, we die to ourselves and to our sinful nature. Christ's righteousness makes us righteous before God, and as we walk and grow in His truth, we are to continually die to that sin nature and become more like Jesus...until, we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. We take up His cross, and follow Him, as He tells us in Matthew 11:30, "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Consider the burden of carrying our own sin apart from God and compare that to the lightness of submitting to Jesus and nailing our sins to the cross of Christ.
7) Consider the consequences of rejecting Christ.
"Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand." (Matthew 7:26)
"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment... " (II Peter 2:4)
"...then the Lord knows how... to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment." (2 Peter 2:9)
We all stand accountable for our sins before God, but we stand with a suitcase full of sin. Every lie, every time you stole, every time you sinned, every transgression sits in our suitcase that we carry to our judgment. The fact of the matter is that, essentially, we are born with a sin nature... born needing forgiveness. Psalm 130:3 "If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?" Thus, we are sinners in need of a Savior! But what if we reject that Savior?
Isaiah 53:5 says, "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed." If Christ died for our transgressions (or sins), and we reject Him, then we still stand with our suitcase full of sin. Only now, we stand without an advocate, and stand on our own righteousness. Because our righteousness can never come close to the righteousness of God, and against His holiness our good deeds are filthy rags, then we fall under the judgment and wrath of God. Our sentence is eternal damnation.
And hell is no picnic in the park. While many people feel as though hell's just the cozy hangout of non-Christians where they can party and have fun, we see hell described as such in Luke 16:22-26:
Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame." But Abraham said, "Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us."
Look at the words used to describe hell: torment and agony. And look at the finality of death..."between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us." Once you are condemned, you are condemned
8) See that the offer of the Gospel is available to anyone.
"for whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)
The wonderful thing about this offer of salvation is that it is not for "the best and the brightest" but for all. While not all will be saved, the gift of God has nothing to do with your status and stature. Rather, the proclamation of the Gospel is for all men.
If God has called you and is drawing you to Himself, then the Holy Spirit is probably also convicting you of your sin. In our guilt, we think that we are so vile that God would want nothing to do with us. But He does. It gives Him joy to bring us to Himself and to forgive us of sin. None of us deserved to be forgiven, but yet He forgives us, in His mercy and His compassion.
So do not be afraid, and think the Lord will turn you away. Go to Him and confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior! Contact us if you make this decision. We would love to follow up with you.