The Way to Be Good Again

December 28, 2015 at 4:17 pm / by

 

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There is a way to be good again…  –The Kite Runner

Run, John, run, the law commands but gives neither feet nor hands.
Better news the gospel brings;It bids me fly and gives me wings
     –Attributed to John Bunyan

Introduction
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote:

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17).
The Good News of God’s Kingdom is that because of God’s love and grace and because of the cross of Christ, we who justly deserved eternal condemnation have now become heirs of eternal life through faith in Him.

God’s Goodness
God is infinitely good. On one hand he is holy, righteous and just in a way which is far above us. And just as a surgeon of character and competence is ruthless against a tumor which threatens the life of his patient, God has taken an uncompromising stand against evil in the world he created to be good. He has justly decreed the death penalty for sin.
Fortunately for the human race, God is also loving, merciful and gracious. His love and grace are so great that he sent his only son to pay the death penalty in our place, so that he might offer forgiveness and reconciliation as gifts. In this way he is able to be perfectly loving and gracious without in any way compromising his integrity or the demands of justice.

Man’s Depravity
God created man in his own image. Since God is sovereign and free, man was endowed with a will. Inherent in that freedom to chose was the possibility of sin.
And tragically, man chose to believe the lie of the Devil, and reject the truth of God as recorded in Genesis 3. See the section on the Bible for a fuller discussion of sin and redemption. Because our first parents, Adam and Eve, fell from perfection into corruption, and because like reproduces like, moral pollution infected the entire human race. By Genesis 6, God was grieved that he had ever made man in the first place, because “every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5).
Not only is man in a fallen spiritual and moral condition, he is utterly unable to save himself. Since a bad tree can only produce bad fruit, and since the leopard cannot change its spots, man was impotent to save himself from his ruined condition. Yet there was hope…

God’s Solution
God’s solution to the root universal human problem of sin was to send his son to die on the cross. From the point of view of the wisdom of the world, the crucifixion of Christ appeared to be a crushing defeat for Christ and a thwarting of his mission. The truth is the cross was the greatest triumph in history. In one stroke, Christ conquered evil on every level, saved sinners by the millions and revealed the glory and power of God to a fallen, impotent humanity.
Satan was the spiritual force behind Judas Iscariot’s betrayal, and the Roman and Jewish effort to murder the Messiah. But God was sovereignly using his evil actions as part of his great redemptive plan to save a people for himself. Satan unwittingly participated in the event which smashed down the gates of his kingdom of darkness that the people of God might stream into the kingdom of light.
On the cross, our old sinful nature was put to death, so that those who unite with Christ experience the dethronement of the sinful nature. Furthermore, Christ removed the shame and guilt of sin so that those who believe in him are no longer under condemnation. We who were alienated from God have now been reconciled with him if we accept Christ.

Why God Become Man
The incarnation is a stumbling block to some and a mystery to all. Some imagine it impossible for God to become a man. They think God is too great to become a man. In reality, it is their misconception of God which is too small to allow for the possibility. Actually the incarnation was necessary for our salvation. Since man sinned, man had to die to satisfy the demands of justice. But if the one sent to die had been a mere man —even a perfect man, he could have paid only the price for the sins of one other man. Therefore, the one who would die for the sins of the world also had to be God. The sheer weight of the magnitude of trillions of sins demanded a price no mere man could possibly pay. And so “the Word, who was with God” and who “was God” became flesh (John 1:1,14). God revealed what he was like by dying on a cross, and we revealed what we are like apart from his grace by putting him there.

Our Response
God has graciously given us the salvation we so desperately need but are utterly unable to accomplish for ourselves. However, even though God himself has done the hard work of accomplishing our salvation, we have a critical role to play. God offers salvation as a gracious gift, and like all gifts, it must be received in order to be possessed. And we can only receive the gift through faith and repentance.
Saving faith is not mere intellectual faith. Merely believing that there was a historical Jesus will not enable us to receive salvation. Rather, we must transfer our trust from ourselves and anything else over to Christ alone. We must trust in him and in his work for our salvation. We must forsake trusting in our own goodness, good works or religiousity. We must recognize the futility and inadequacy of our own efforts to do good as a basis for salvation. As the Bible says:

…no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify (Romans 3:20,21).

As we turn toward God in faith, we must simultaneously turn away from sin. This is repentance: having a change of mind, heart and will about sin. Repentance involves seeing sin, sorrow for sin, confessing sin, shame for it and hatred of it, and turning away from it. When we begin to see something of the infinite goodness of God through the cross of Christ, faith is ignited in our hearts. And as the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, we begin to turn from them in repentance. We begin to stop loving, denying, or justifying the things we know in our hearts to be wrong.

Let me invite you to repent of your sins and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior right now. The Bible says there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved, and no one can come to the Father except by him. And as you trust him, turn away from the things you know to be wrong. See them for what they are, and give them up. If you would like to receive Jesus Christ, bow before him now, and say this prayer to him:
Lord Jesus,
Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I turn away from them now as I open my heart to you and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Please come and fill me with your Holy Spirit, and enable me to live a Christian life by faith.

More About the Good News of Jesus Christ
If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you may be sure you will never regret it. God promises abundant life here and now, and eternal life as well as forgiveness in the hereafter. May you and your family know the blessing of God as you receive Christ.
If you have turned from sin to Jesus Christ, please turn to the section on the Bible is About for more information about this great salvation in Jesus Christ. Let me encourage you to follow through on your faith by doing these things:
1. Pray daily

2. Read the Bible

3. Join a Bible-teaching, Spirit-filled Christ-centered local church

4. Worship regularly

5. Live for Christ, being his witness by your words and actions wherever God places you
For help with specific problems, such as bad habits, please see the section on Counseling . In that same section, you can also find help in dealing with various types of suffering. Finally, we want to invite you to be a witness for Christ, wherever he has placed you, as a “tentmaker.” A tentmaker is one who practices his occupation for Christ. Just as the Apostle Paul made tents to support himself as he spread the gospel, modern tentmakers are self-supporting witnesses for Jesus.

If you have received Christ as your savior, please let us know so we can send you additional helpful material and pray for you. If you have have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, please contact through the contact form for additional help.

 
 

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