August 05, 2011

One Question

The Question

Eternity - when is the last time you took the time to stop and think about it? I know people don’t want to think about death, but it is inevitable. Are you ready to face God to whom you are accountable? I want to stop you and ask a very important question. If you were to stand before God this very minute, and He asked you, “Why should I let you into my Heaven?”, how would you respond? Now stop before reading on, and really give it some thought.
Crime & Punishment
Now we know the way the judicial system works in this world. Quite simply, you do the crime, you do the time. Now God also has a similar system. He says, “for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap,”(Gal.6:7) or, in another place it is said, “The wages of sin is death.”(Rom.6:23)
 Very simply then, the equation says, if you have ever sinned, no matter how insignificant that sin was, and we all have, then we have been put on death-row by God. For God says we are already condemned (John 3:18) When we have finished sitting on death-row, we will be cast into the torments of Hell immediately after we die.
Our Problem
                Our problem is simple. We are sinners facing an eternity in the Lake of Fire because we have sinned. To put it in a nutshell, sin = death. I ask, can this situation be resolved, or is there no hope? Stop, and think about it. Is there a way to get you off of death-row? (Pause and think about it.)
One Way
            Yes, there is a way! However, God makes it very plain that there is but one way. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”(John 14:6) Again we read, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Gal.1:8)  What then is this one way?

Thinking It Through
                Firstly, we’ve seen that we are sinners, and that as such we are sitting on death-row waiting for that day when we will be tossed into Hell. We’ve seen too, that there is but one way to be pardoned, and go to be with Jesus Christ after this life. The question really becomes, who will take my place on death-row and be punished in my place, and I thus be pardoned? For the problem after all is my sinfulness and its consequence.
            Let me give you a multiple choice question, and see if you can figure out which is the correct answer that deals with how to be saved.
a)      Go to church regularly
b)      Read your Bible and pray every day
c)      Stop sinning
d)      Ask everyone to forgive you
e)      Ask Jesus Christ into your heart
f)       Say the sinner’s prayer
g)      Go to an altar call
h)      Have a experience
i)        Sell your possessions and give to the poor
j)        Do lots of good things
k)     Believe that Jesus is the Savior who took your place on death-row so you could   be pardoned and have everlasting life
 l)      Avoid the wrong and do the right  
m)   Go to rehab to get rid of your addictions
n)      Get counseling
o)      Obey God
John 3:16

            God makes the answer clear in the Bible. He says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) We also read that, “without shedding of blood [death] there is no remission [pardon of sin].”(Heb.9:22)
            As can clearly be seen, none of the options above can be substituted in the above verses. Only option “k” works. Only Jesus Christ who is innocent could take the place of your guilty self. None of the other options could be put to death as your substitute. Jesus Christ is the only one who could be your substitute. If anything else would suffice to save you, Jesus Christ would not have had to die by capital punishment! If one could get saved in any other way, it would make Christ’s work useless. Yet, from Adam & Eve on, God has been talking about the Substitute who would come to take our place, the innocent for the guilty.
            You see, all the other options are dependent upon mankind. Only option “k” looks to God.
                As we have seen, the equation is very simple, sin = death. We know that I must face death and Hell for my own sinfulness. We have also seen that Jesus Christ is the only one who can be our substitute. We saw that He is the one who died, taking our place in order that we could be pardoned. You ask, then why are not all people pardoned? Once again God is very plain. He says, “For by grace [favour] you have been saved through faith” (Eph.2:8a) Again we read, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him [God]” (Heb.11:6a) Someone may ask, how much faith? I say, how much faith before you climb into a plane, and trust the pilot to take you to your desired destination? Quite simply, either you believe, or you don’t.
            I know it is hard to swallow one’s pride and admit that you were never saved. Yet God says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mat.11:28) Rest in the fact that Jesus Christ did  a “finished” work for you! Trust Him as your Substitute! Rest in the fact that you are pardoned, and that you are the possessor of eternal life. Rejoice that your name is written in the Book of Life. Rejoice that you’re “sealed with the Holy Spirit guaranteeing your inheritance.”
            So what is the one true gospel? What is the ONE way to be saved? Believe that Jesus paid your debt of sin in full by His death in your place. Nothing else will be sufficient.

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"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

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