The Bible teaches that God is the Creator of all that is. In the beginning he created everything “very good.” Man lived in perfect fellowship with his Creator. But the first man, Adam, broke God’s command, bringing death, suffering, and separation from God into this world. We see the results all around us. All of Adam’s descendants are sinful from conception and have themselves entered into this rebellion (sin).
God is absolutely holy and pure. And because this is his nature, he hates sin of any kind. God is also perfectly just in all he does. And because his justice is perfect, he cannot permit our sins to go unpunished. Finally, God is a loving God. And because of his great love, he still desires to save us from the punishment we deserve, even though we have rebelled against him.
Because of our sin and rebellion, we cannot live with this holy God but are condemned to separation from him. The Bible says that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). According to Scripture, the punishment for sin is death (separation from God).
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The only hope for humanity is if God were to provide some means by which sinful people could be forgiven and made pure in his sight, so that they could then spend eternity in his presence. God has made a way, but there is only one way! This only way is found in and through the person of Jesus Christ.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
1 John 5:11–12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
But how is Jesus able to provide forgiveness and still satisfy God’s justice? The answer is that God himself took the punishment we deserve upon himself when he died on the cross.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God the Son left heaven, became a man born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, performed many miracles that testified to his deity, and then gave his life as a sacrifice for sin. This innocent Lamb is the one who died as a sacrifice in mankind’s place so that as many as believe in him might receive eternal life.
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Of course, if Jesus just died, he would be little more than a martyr or well-meaning prophet who gave his life for a cause. What makes him unique is that he was sinless and also rose from the dead. Christianity is nothing without the Resurrection!
1 Corinthians 15:3–5 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
John 11:25–26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
So, God offers us eternal life through his Son; but like any gift offered, it must also be received. So how does one receive this gift? The answer can be summarized with three words beginning with “R.”
- Recognize your condition
- Repent of your sin
- Receive God’s gift of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ
First, we must recognize that we are a sinful people in need of God’s forgiveness.
1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Secondly, we must repent of our sin. This means that we must turn away from our sinful, selfish ways, so that we can then turn to God.
Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”
Luke 15:10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
Thirdly, we must receive God’s only provision for our cleansing and forgiveness. This involves placing our trust in Jesus’ death and Resurrection as our only means of salvation and entry into God’s heaven.
John 3:16–18 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
It is important to clarify at this point that there is nothing we can do to earn the gift of eternal life. Simply deciding to “turn over a new leaf” or to “do your best to live a good life” is not enough, and is tantamount to saying that God’s provision of a Savior was unnecessary. Whoever holds such a view is deceived and is actually trusting in himself, not in the work of Jesus on the cross. If we choose to trust in anything other than the finished work of Christ on the cross, including our own good deeds, we have rejected God’s only way of salvation.
Titus 3:4–5 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
Ephesians 2:8–9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast.
Trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation is the most important decision anyone can ever make. But it is not one to be made without careful consideration of the cost involved.
Matthew 10:37–39 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Luke 14:33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
God’s desire is that anyone who has placed their trust in Jesus Christ be confident that their destiny has been forever altered.
1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
And once you commit your life to Christ, God’s Holy Spirit comes and lives within you to teach, comfort, convict, and assure you of your salvation.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Ephesians 1:13–14 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession to the praise of his glory.
The Bible also warns that there is a place, commonly referred to as hell, which is the eternal destiny for all who will not repent of their sins and come to God through his Son, Jesus Christ. It is a place that was originally created by God for Satan and his demons. It is a place of eternal torment away from the presence of God.
2 Thessalonians 1:8–9 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.
Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
For the follower of Christ, however, there is no longer the fear of death that unbelievers continually experience. For those who have received God’s forgiveness, a huge weight of guilt is lifted off their shoulders, and they are free to serve God, without fear of what lies beyond the grave.
1 Corinthians 15:55–57 Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In fact, the Christian even looks forward to death and the return of Jesus (whichever comes first), because when that day comes, he or she will be free from sin, and will be ushered into the presence of God forever.
2 Corinthians 5:6–9 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
If you have never recognized your sinful condition before God, repented of your sin, and received God’s gift of eternal life by trusting in Jesus as your Savior, then you need to do so. Please don’t wait until it is too late.
If you have decided to trust in Christ alone for salvation, please contact us or another local Bible-believing church in your area.
Community Fellowship Church
505 Bielby Rd • Lawrenceburg, IN 47025