May 28, 2007

Good News

The bad news is that all have sinned (Romans 3.23) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6.23). That is actually horrible news. Sin deserves death. All of us are sinners. Therefore all of us have a death sentence hanging over our heads. And since we can never go back and erase our sins, we can never go back and alter the judgment. We are deserving of death. But is there any good news? Yes! Namely that, though God is rightfully angry with our sin, He loves sinners! He loves to set sinners back on their feet again! He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103.8)!

But, wait. God cannot just simply let us go free, can He? Wouldn’t that be a corruption of justice…to let a convicted criminal go free? How would you feel if the judges in your city began a new policy of letting thieves and rapists go free simply because they felt sorry for them? You’d be calling for a new judge! Letting criminals walk with no penalty is the worst kind of injustice. And if God were to somehow ‘work the system’ and bend the rules for us, He’d be sinning too!

So, we have a dilemma. God loves sinners and wants to set them free. But His perfection demands that He must punish the crime! What is He to do? How will He maintain His impeachable justice and at the same time reach out a hand of mercy to sinners whom He loves?

There is only one solution. Someone else has to pay. If God wants to both punish your sin and rescue you from punishment, someone else has to pay the penalty. It’s the only option. But where could God find a man who did not have sins of His own to pay for? There aren’t any! So the only option is for God to become a man Himself (in the person of His Son) and to be, Himself, the one who would pay the penalty for everyone else’s sins! This is the story of Jesus! He was pierced for our transgression, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him (Isaiah 53.5). Christ’s death purchases for us forgiveness, a right relationship with God, a fresh start, God’s supernatural help to overcome our struggles with sin, and a permanent home in heaven that will never be taken away!

Jesus Christ died to save sinners…even sinners like you. His job is done. That is the best news a person could ever hear! But you must respond. You must lay hold of this free gift by faith. What that means is this: You must rest in Jesus. You must stop running from God…and run to the care and provision of Jesus. And, if you are the religious type, you must stop trying to save yourself with good deeds, or religious activity…and rest in Jesus’ good deeds on your behalf! He is fully capable of rescuing you and restoring you to God. He does not need your help. But He will only perform the rescue when you stop running from Him…and stop striving to save yourself and rest in Him! Salvation does not depend on the man who wills, or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy (Romans 9.16). So, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16.31)!

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