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Principle One: God’s Character
God is BOTH righteous & just AND loving & merciful
First we must look at God's holiness and justice to appreciate His love and mercy. God is a judge and will judge everybody according to what they have done. A good judge must punish crime. If he turns a blind eye to injustice or chooses to ignore the evil that has been committed, then he is a corrupt judge and is not loving or merciful to those the crime was committed against. Think about it, a judge that refuses to punish a law breaker is refusing justice to the victim or those that could have been harmed. In fact the judge would deserve punishment himself for not punishing the law breaker.
"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; faithful love and truth go before You." (Psalm 89:14)
Since God is righteous and just, He must punish law breakers. "For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:14)
Principle Two: Our Condition
"For all have sinned and fall short of
the glory of God." Romans 3:23
"Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law."
(1 John 3:4)
Have you ever sinned (broken the law of God)? Let's take a look at the Ten Commandments, also known as God's Moral Law. (See Exodus 20:1-17)
• You shall have no other gods before Me
• You shall not make for yourself a graven image
• You shall not take God's name in vain
• Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy
• Honor your father and mother
• You shall not murder
• You shall not commit adultery
• You shall not steal
• You shall not lie
• You shall not covet
The consequences for breaking God’s Law:
1st - Our sin separates us from God. "But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God…" (Isaiah 59:2)
2nd - "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). This is referring to spiritual death, which is separation from God in a place of punishment that the Bible calls Hell. Every person will one day die a physical death, but for the person who has broken God's law they will not only face physical death but also punishment in Hell which the bible refers to as the weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Principle Three: God’s Response
God does not want anyone to perish but for all people to be saved from punishment (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4). “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17)
Imagine you had committed a serious crime. A good judge sentences you to life in prison or a million dollar fine. You have no way of paying such an expensive fine when a stranger walks into the courtroom and pays your fine for you.
You did not deserve this kindness, but the stranger paid the fine in full. Justice was still served, and now you are able to go free.
Jesus: That is exactly what Jesus did for you 2,000 years ago on the cross. You broke God's moral law, and the punishment was death. Out of His love for you, God sent His Son Jesus to the earth as a man to pay your fine and to be punished on your behalf so you wouldn't have to be. He died a horrific death by crucifixion on the cross. Three days later, He rose from the dead and willingly offers salvation and this same new life to you. God, being a good God, had to punish sin, but Jesus chose to take that punishment for you.
Principle Four: Our Response
Jesus was willing to pay the fine for our sin, but now we must be willing to receive Him and His free gift of salvation (Merriam Webster dictionary defines salvation as "deliverance from the power and effects of sin"). A free gift will not do you any good unless you choose to accept it.
"But to all who did receive Him (Jesus), He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12).
We can receive Jesus who is both God and Savior (Titus 2:13) into our lives by placing our faith and trust in Him (Ephesians 2:8-9) and by repenting which is turning away from sin and turning to God (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Praying to God is a starting point in your walk with Him. Look how King David prayed to God after sinning greatly against Him. We should have a similar brokenness and desire for God to make us clean:
“Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; according to Your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. Against You—You alone—I have sinned and done this evil in Your sight. So You are right when You pass sentence; You are blameless when You judge. Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me. Surely You desire integrity in the inner self, and You teach me wisdom deep within. Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones You have crushed rejoice. Turn Your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt. God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways, and sinners will return to You. Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing of Your righteousness. Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise. You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.” (Psalm 51:1-17)
If you are now born again, Jesus has promised that He will never leave you or abandon you. Here are some steps to help you in your new relationship with God:
1. Talk to God in prayer daily (see Philippians 4:6-7)
2. Read the Bible often (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
3. Go to a church that believes the Bible to be 100% true so you can be taught and encouraged while meeting other believers (see Hebrews 10:25).
4. Tell others how they too can begin a relationship with God through Jesus Christ (see Matthew 28:16-20).
5. If you know a Christian friend, family member or co-worker, tell them about your new life in Christ. They will be excited for you!