Not one of us enters this world through our own power or volition, and despite any wealth, power, or advantage we may accumulate over our lifetime, every one of us must leave this life behind, through no power of our own. Not one of us can prevent this. Yet despite this truth – that you and I have no control over how we came into this world, and you and I have no option not to leave this life – most people today live as though they are free to live however they please, and are answerable to no one. That apparent freedom is not reality. It is an illusion.
The reality is that you have been created by an eternal almighty God, who designed you to fulfil a purpose: to glorify Him and to please Him: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for the pleasure they are and were created (Rev. 4:11). This may seem like a small thing to you – you are used to living for your own pleasure or for the pleasure of someone else, but God – the One who formed you, who gave you life, and brought you into this world, and who has appointed a day for your death – has created you for His pleasure. Have you wondered what that means?
God's standard is perfection.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). His is not the relativistic standard promoted by most people, in which men rank their sins against the apparently greater sins of others, in order to justify themselves.
God demands a pure heart (Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? . . . He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart – Psalm 24:3-4).
God demands that even your thoughts be filled with thoughts of Him (The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts – Psalm 10:4).
God sees covetousness as idolatry (...Covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things' sake the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience – Colossians 3:5b-6).
God regards hatred as murder (Whoso hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. - I John 3:15).
God's standard calls rebellion against authority (which begins by disobedience to God) as witchcraft, stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry (For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. – I Samuel 15:23), and the love of worldliness as adultery (Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. – James 4:4).
In fact, the very failure on your part to glorify God or to be thankful to Him with your life places you presently under His wrath (Romans 1:18-23), and what a terrible thing it is to abide under the wrath of a perfectly just, all-knowing, all-seeing, almighty God – your Creator.
The reality is that you are in trouble.
Society and your own reasoning might tell you that your sin (which includes any and all transgressions of God's law) is acceptable or not altogether terrible. You may even find aspects of your bondage to sin enjoyable, and indeed, sin is said to be accompanied by pleasure for a season (Hebrews 11:25). But even in this fleeting pleasure, remember that you are not fulfilling your created purpose, which is to glorify God and to please Him: a God and Creator who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13), who is separate from sinners (Hebrews 7:26), and who will not hear the prayers of those who regard iniquity (sin) in their hearts (Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:2). Have you ever wondered what kind of creator would allow his creation to go on perpetually not doing what he designed it to do? Would he not destroy that creation and begin anew?
Then, too, the commission of even one sin (though you have committed innumerable sins) is enough to condemn you: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10). The truth is that there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not (Ecclesiastes 7:20). There is none righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10). They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Psalm 14:3). And what is Jehovah God's assessment of this? The Scriptures say, God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11).
Truly, this is a terrible condition.
Many of those around you – perhaps even you, yourself – have decided that, although they did not bring themselves into this world, and although they cannot keep themselves from being taken out of this world, there is nothing beyond this life and no judgment to face. That also is not reality. The truth is that you are alienated from God, a child of wrath, and spiritually dead – dead in your sins (Ephesians 2:1-5). It is true, you may live physically for 80, 90, or even 100 years. But that, too, will come to an end, and the same world which assured you that you have nothing to worry about, and that told you that you should love and glorify yourself (self-esteem), and that encouraged you to remember that “you only live once,” will not be able in any way to keep you from your next appointment: prepare to meet thy God (Amos 4:2). Death is not an escape, but an appointment: ...it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). And will He now be pleased with His creation who failed to live for His glory? Will he now accept from your hands all your “good works,” your “kind deeds,” and your relativistic morality? But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
God will not excuse your wickedness.
He will not see if your good outweighs your bad. In fact, were you to somehow do more good than bad in your life (an impossible feat in light of the sins mentioned above!), it would not change your guilty condition before God. Does a man who murders only one person and then spends the remainder of his life feeding the hungry and clothing the poor somehow become innocent of that murder? Not so! No, friend, your guilt remains, and the guilty must be sentenced. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God (Psalm 9:17).
Hell is a terrible place.
It is a place of fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:43-44). A righteous and holy God has decreed that Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book (Exodus 32:33). What does it mean to be blotted out of that book, the Book of Life? And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). Further on, we read of those who were cast into that terrible lake of fire: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Revelation 21:8). This punishment is not for a short time. It is not a means of rehabilitation, not a second chance. It is, says the Lord Jesus Christ, everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46). Do you not see how dire your state is? Ought you not to repent? Ought you not to grieve over how you continually offend the almighty God? Should it not distress you that you daily violate His holy Law? Should you not abhor the constant rebellion in your life against the Creator in whose image you were made and whose glory ought to be your chiefest aim and highest purpose?
Who will stand in your place, wretched sinner?
A godly man named Job cried out, O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour! (Job 16:21). Who can advocate on your behalf before a righteous and holy God? Not another sinner! And who will take your guilt? Can a condemned lawbreaker plead with the judge to transfer the condemnation of another upon himself? Not so! Only a perfect man can take your guilt and give you freedom. But–! Can a mere man mediate on your behalf with almighty God? Not even a perfect man can conquer the curse of death, being subject to it himself. Must we then die in our sins? If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? (Ezekiel 33:10)
This is where the gospel comes in.
Gospel means good news, and there is good news. God is a good God; a merciful and compassionate God. He has never left us without a testimony to Himself. The very Creation around you testifies of His handiwork. He has given you a conscience, and His works of providence are evident everywhere you look. He has given you the Bible – the perfect revelation of Himself. He has provided for your salvation, a way of deliverance from your immense guilt and the weight of sin that you carry. Moreover, He has provided a perfect Mediator to intercede on your behalf: Jesus Christ. Jesus is completely God (I Timothy 3:16) and completely Man (I Timothy 2:5). As God, He undertook to humble Himself, setting aside His glory and coming to earth to redeem (buy back) mankind from the bondage of sin and death (Philippians 2:5-11). As Man, He provided not only a perfectly sinless example (I Peter 1:21-24), but He was also the perfect substitute, taking upon Himself the sins of the world (Isaiah 53:1-12; John 1:29), because He had no sin of His own (Hebrews 4:15), and interceding on behalf of sinners (I John 2:1). Being both God and man, He had the power to die and to rise from the dead (John 10:18), thus conquering death (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish (Luke 13:3).
To repeat an earlier question: How should we then live? In answer to this, God reveals the love He has for mankind: As I live, saith the LORD God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked: but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways... (Ezekiel 33:11). This command to turn, which was in the preceding verse given to Israel, is known by the term repentance, and the command is repeated many times in Scripture and extended to all of mankind (Acts 17:30). This repentance – evidenced by a heartfelt sorrow and grief for sin and rebellion against the Creator, for usurping His throne, for robbing Him of the worship, love, and adoration that is due Him alone – is not accomplished simply by your efforts to reform yourself or make yourself a better person. Instead, it is, by grace, wrought — accomplished — in the sinner's heart in conjunction with believing faith in Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ and Him alone (Acts 4:10-12), there is no hope for salvation and no prospect of deliverance from our sin and guilt, and from our miserable expectation of judgment and wrath. Do you think your sins are a small thing before a thrice holy God? Do you not see how you ought to hate them and turn from them, trusting the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation?
You must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Not only are you commanded to repent, you are commanded to believe in Jesus Christ (I John 3:23), the perfect Substitute and Mediator (I Timothy 2:5), and the One to Whom all honour and judgment belongs (John 5:22-24). By the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, those who believe on him no longer live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (II Corinthians 5:15)
Faith is not merely assenting to certain facts of Scripture.
Scriptural faith is summarized succinctly in Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Saving faith recognizes and submits to the reality that Jesus is the Christ – the King Who is Lord and Saviour of all, and who will return on the clouds of Heaven to rule over all. Saving faith accompanies true repentance in dying to self and self's delusions of its own sufficiency (Mark 8:34-38). True faith believes on Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour (Luke 14:26-27). Saving faith rests in Jesus Christ's one perfect sacrifice and shedding of blood for the sins of the world (Hebrews 10:10-14). Saving faith does not trust in one's own works, but trusts in Christ alone (Romans 11:6). Saving faith has as its Author and Finisher – its beginning and end – Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36), perfectly God and perfectly Man (Hebrews 12:2). Only through Jesus Christ can we obtain righteousness, forgiveness of sins, peace with God, and eternal life (Romans 5:1; II Peter 1:1).
Eternal life is ever-lasting.
The Lord Jesus promised that those who came to him would never be cast out (John 6:37). He assures His sheep (John 10:27) that the life they are given is eternal - everlasting - and that no man (themselves included) can be plucked from His hand (John 10:28-29).
What a loving God to have mercifully spared you and I from instant and everlasting condemnation for every rebellious breath we've taken without thankfulness to him! What grace to have freely provided for our repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. What richness of love to have promised an everlasting inheritance in Heaven to all those who by God's grace turn from their own self-sufficiency to place their hope, their trust, and their confidence – yea, themselves – in the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
A prayer will not save you...a confession will not deliver you...and no amount of penance will keep your soul from Hell. Only faith in Christ can assure you of eternal life...an inheritance that cannot be lost....secure in your Lord and Saviour for ever.
What is your position for eternity?
If you have more questions about what it means to believe in Jesus Christ, we encourage you to contact us for more information. You are also encouraged to study through the free Bible study lessons on our website to learn more about salvation and eternal life.