By Alexander Samuels
Michael Bremmer, in an article posted on the Sola Scriptura! Web site ("How Are We Made Right With God?"), writes that although 74 percent of Americans strongly believe there will be a day of judgment (according to a Barna Group study), most seem to be confused when it comes to understanding how to be right with God before Judgment Day and therefore truly misunderstand the way to heaven.
According to the Bible, we will be judged by God's Law, and only those who obey God's law will be declared right with Him. Jesus says, "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). Yet we are all sinners and cannot give a holy God the perfect righteousness He justly demands.
Bremmer goes on to write: . . .
Obviously, understanding the nature of the One who will judge the world, and understanding the basis of this judgment, no one will escape a guilty sentence from God's throne. The Scriptures tell us, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the Law, to perform them" (Galatians 3:10). Left to ourselves, all of us will be found guilty and condemned: "There is none righteous, not even one," "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:10, 23). The problem is not that we have some faults that maybe God will graciously overlook. We are sinners. Moreover, we are not sinners merely because we sin, but because we are inherently sinful. In other words, not only are we not right with God because we sin, but because sin dwells within us (Romans 7:14). How can we, in this dreadful state, ever hope to be right with God? This brings us to our original question: How do I, a sinner, a transgressor of the law, become right with a holy, righteous, and just God? Given the circumstances, it is seemingly hopeless.
Now, the good news. The same God and judge of the world, who is holy, righteous, and just, who must condemn the guilty, is also a God of love (John 3:16), mercy (Ephesians 2:4), and grace (Ephesians 1:5-7); and HE has revealed a way in which He can in love, mercy, and grace freely forgive the sinner, yet remain holy, righteous and just. God's way is by giving to the undeserving sinner His own righteousness--the righteousness of God.
The Scriptures tell us, "But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction" (Romans 3:21-22). "And that I may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith" (Philippians 3:9). "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). This righteousness from God, given to all who believe, is the basis for our being right with God. It is called in theological terminology "Justification." We are declared just by God because of the righteousness of Christ, freely given to all who trust in Him alone. This is the heart of the Gospel. Christ has kept the law for us (Romans 8:3-4), and in our place bore the punishment of our sins (1 Peter 2:24). We are made right with God not by our own works, but by the righteousness of another, the very righteousness of God Himself! Jesus Christ is, for all who trust in Him alone, "The Lord Our Righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:5).
Do you think that attending church is going to make you right with God? Do you think that being baptized will make you right with God? Perhaps you tithe a full 10 percent before taxes; is that going to make you right with God? Maybe you are a deacon or an elder; will that make you right with God?
The answer to all the questions above, my friend, is "No!" You see, in the Gospel there is a righteousness that comes from God through Jesus Christ. It is a righteousness that can only be received through faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. If you truly believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and that He died for your sins, then your sins have been transferred to Him and His righteousness has been imputed to you. This has been accomplished by God in order that on the day of judgment, you no longer bear the filth of your sins, but will have been made pure in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Alexander Samuels is a regular contributor to Carolina Christian Conservative.
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