Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen? Have you used God’s or Jesus’ name to curse, as a swear word? Or used it in disgust? If you answer yes to even one of these that makes you a sinner…a liar, a thief, a blasphemer. It doesn’t matter to God if you’ve done it once or 50 times. The Bible says that if you break one of God’s laws you have broken them all.
In the Old Testament times God instituted a system of sacrifice to pay for man’s sins (wrongs committed against God and His laws) and this brings (payment/forgiveness) atonement. It meant people had to continually go to the temple and take a different kind of sacrifice for whatever they had done…having to do it over and over, every time they committed a sin. And the Bible also says that no one is righteous, or without sin, not one person. We’d still be doing this today if it weren’t for the promise that God made in the time of the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New. All throughout the Old Testament times God made covenants, very strong, binding commitments, with the people of the earth but the biggest one came (was answered) in the form of God’s son, God himself in human form: Jesus. Jesus came to live like us-fully human, totally able to be tempted and fully tempted, but he lived throughout his life without giving in to temptation and so he never sinned. He didn’t just live to be perfect and then go back to heaven. He came to be the perfect sacrifice for sin. This is what the gospel is.
Even though we have broken God’s law, deserving punishment, we are given a free gift, a FULL pardon, by the sacrifice of Jesus for our sin. Once and for all time. He took our punishment on the cross and all the torture before it and even death after to pay for our wrongs, our evil hearts and deeds. We call it grace, really an undeserved gift.
So, we can say to God, “I am good all on my own. I am in control of my own life and I don’t need You” -complete rejection of an important gift, something we can do nothing to earn. Or we can say to God, “I am a wrong-doer, weak and worthless. I don’t know why you love me and I can’t possibly earn your pardon, but please, God, forgive me. Please, God, let your son’s sacrifice not be wasted on me. Be Lord of my life, the ruler of my heart and mind. Help me to submit to you in humbleness.”
Who really wants to do that, right? Who wants to admit they are wrong? Who wants to give up control of their life to a God they can’t see? No one does. No one. Not even me, not on my own. God says in the Bible that no one wants to come to him on their own. It’s actually God who calls you to him first. He puts the desire into your heart. He’s calling you.
You live in a world full of temptation, hardship and pain. We all do. You have no hope.
Do you want hope? Do you need strength to withstand? Do you want a future that leads to life? Not just life here on earth but one eternally? Turn to Christ. For a heart that trusts only in itself there are countless excuses and objections to embrace, but when your life is over, here on earth, painful as it can be, where will you go? Hell is eternally horrible, separated from anything good since God is good and the source of all good things.
Jesus promises eternal life with him in heaven, but he also says when you are HIS he will never leave you or forsake you here, now. When you belong to him, he says he will never give you more temptation than you can handle and in all hardship, trials, temptations he is with you. He will give you his very spirit to live in you and guide you.
This doesn’t mean life will be easy, that you will do everything perfectly all the time, that you won’t sin. Life with Jesus doesn’t really get “easier” or necessarily “better” in the sense that you never have problems, pain or persecution. You are still you, struggling with your old desires, tempted by your selfishness and suffering consequences of your mistakes, but with Jesus you are never alone in the midst of the troubles. With Jesus you have source of strength, guidance in troubles, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen and unconditional love that belongs to you forever, no matter what you’ve done or will do. Jesus helps us resist temptation, gives courage to say “no” to things we know are wrong and comforts us when we feel like everyone is against us. When you enter a relationship with Jesus Christ, spending your days with him, then he is certainly with you, too.
As I write this I’m thinking that if you are that first person I mentioned who rejects Jesus and his gift then you may read this and think it’s silly nonsense that I’ve been spouting out. If that’s the case I’m sorry to waste your time. If you aren’t that first person but you aren’t the second one either, begging God’s forgiveness and salvation, then you may find me silly or crazy still, but there is still hope! I’m not writing from anywhere but my heart.
Your life is full of good things but a lot of question and loss, too. My life is not perfect either, but any pain or loss I suffer from, I also have a source of strength and love to turn to. I have some security for my physical body, too. I doubt I could fully understand your fears, losses, pain, hurts, joys, hopes or even your thoughts as you struggle. I can have empathy for you as you try to do the right thing(s) when it seems like everything goes wrong. I do have compassion for you. I wish I had the power to change the rotten circumstances of your life, but I don’t have that power, so I pray.
I was saved when I was a young girl and have had the privilege of reading God’s words to us, the Bible, since then. I’ve done my research, too! I’m not blindly following Jesus because somebody told me to when I was a little girl. I know what my life is and where I am going when I die. I love because He, Jesus, loved me first and I don’t care where a person has been or what they have done when I look at them through Jesus’ eyes because he loves them, too. Deeply, with His very life. That’s how He feels about you and even though I don’t really know you or everything you have been through in your life I love you enough to tell you what I have, to lay my own heart on the line and be open to ridicule. I don’t want you to miss the point of the good news of Christ to protect my own vanity and I’m humbling myself to you right now because my life means nothing outside of Jesus Christ. I have no hope without him. He is my hope and strength. The Bible, when you are saved by His grace, is full of truth, wisdom and knowledge. It becomes more than just a book of history when you read it through His eyes, when you are saved by grace.
Grace. Forgiveness. Full pardon from all wrongs- this is the gift of Jesus Christ, paid for with life, punishment, death and resurrection.
Don’t let pride stop you turning to Jesus, to miss out on salvation and a hope that only He can give you…that He wants to give you.