The Good News
The gavel sounded as the judge pronounced his sentence--Guilty! The defendant's heart sank. He had hoped that his impeccable driving record, community service, and charitable giving would cause the judge to be lenient. After all, it was only his first offense; he had no previous record of serious crime.
As you read this, if you have any conscience, you are probably thinking that the judge did right in declaring the verdict. He upheld the integrity of the law and pronounced a judgement befitting the crime. Any good judge would have done the same.
I am the Christian who gave you this booklet. I go to church; I do some good things. However, as I think about the previous story, I recognize my own lawlessness, my own lack of obedience to the laws of God.
God says, "Don't steal." I have.
"Don't lie." I have.
"Don't commit adultery." I have. Matthew 5:28b tells us, "Whosoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." God calls these things sin. I John 3:4b--Sin is lawlessness. I stand in company with the entirety of humanity and bear the title "sinner." I have shattered God's laws. Romans 3:10b--There is none righteous, no, not one. In other words, nobody has kept, or can keep, God's laws is their entirety. The Bible takes it even further. James 2:10--For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
So, even if I had never stolen, lied, or committed adultery, but had used the name of God in vain (e.g. using God's name as a curse word), I would still be guilty of breaking the law.
In the judicial system of heaven, God alone is the righteous judge, and with Him the guilty verdict carries a penalty. In our case, the penalty for breaking God's law is death and hell. Romans 6:23a--For the wages of sin is death. Revelation 21:8--But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. There is no amount of good things I could do to change the reality that I have broken God's laws. No matter how many times I've attended church in the past, done community service, or acted generously, I cannot change my verdict and the reality of the offense. But there is someone who can.
2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ walked this earth in perfect obedience to God's law. Jesus carried the sins of sinners to the cross when He suffered that bloody crucifixion. He was innocent, but yet He was dying in place of the guilty (us)! When He rose again from the dead the third day, He did so to give life to all who will believe. 2 Corinthians 5:21--For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. In other words, a substitution can take place. Your sins can be paid for in Christ; in return, you can receive His perfect record--His righteousness.
So what's the point? If you have read this far, I'm sure you realize that you have broken God's law, your verdict is guilty, and you deserve the penalty of death and hell. However, Jesus has already paid the penalty for sin and is offering you His righteousness--His perfect record. So how do you get it? Mark 1:15b--Repent, and believe in the gospel.
Repent: Agree with what God says about sin--that it deserves a just punishment. Turn from sin to Christ.
Believe: Trust Christ to pardon your sins and give you his perfect record.
Need a Changed Verdict?
Need Jesus' perfect record? Cry out to God right now, believing that Jesus can provide you forgiveness. Confess that you have broken God's law, express that you want to turn from your sin, and simply ask Christ to forgive you and be your Savior.
If you would like to talk to a Christian about what you have read here, please contact us. We would love to talk to you!