This week, I want to go over the Gospel (the good news) of grace and forgiveness versus religion or works (being a “good person”), and what really saves.
In the Bible, it says that there is NO ONE righteous on earth—no, not one (Romans 3:10). There is no way we can earn our way into heaven; it is only by faith and God’s grace. Because of the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to be transformed into the likeness of His Son (the living Word), and we can have a new nature, enabling us to not desire to want to sin, but to please God (John 1, Ephesians 4:24).
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
God wants you to know that you cannot EARN your way to heaven by being good. Why? Because our best is like a filthy rag, according to the Almighty God’s standard of Holiness. That is why God has to send himself down in the form of a human as Jesus (the Son of God) to die for us (through the Holy Blood and the blameless sacrificial lamb), who would cover the sins of the world. How do we get to heaven, then?
Doesn’t it matter that we need to be good? Yes, to honor God and to obey with our actions and how we live is our sacrifice of worship, but we are only Holy by the power of the blood of Jesus that cleanses us. The death angel will pass over us, much like the Jewish Passover, where they were to put the blood of the best lamb (sacrifice) on the doorpost of the home (Exodus 12:7). We are the temple of God and we carry the presence of the Holy Spirit as believers by faith, once we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (the awaited Messiah as spoken of in the Old Testament). Once a person receives the FREE gift of salvation, they need to know that the work was ALREADY done more than 2,000 years ago on the cross when Jesus said, “It is finished.”
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
Righteous behavior is the fruit of believing in Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit. You see, when you receive salvation, you become a new person. No, not overnight do you change, nor do you act perfectly, but your heart changes and your desires become what God desires for you!
For example, I have been a believer my whole life. I was baptized at the age of 12, started writing worship songs at the age of 12, but then by 15, I started getting pulled into temptation, partying and so forth. What happened was that I felt I was being lukewarm. I had one foot in the church, but one foot in the world. God knew my heart was really to serve Him, and that over time I would come around and really surrender once I was mature spiritually. Once the scales came off my eyes, and I started to see the darkness of Hollywood around me and how toxic some of the people around me were, God pulled me out of the world and into His marvelous light.
God showed me that He had BETTER for me. I thought I wanted to be on MTV, but God said I have a channel that represents me and good, positive music, and years later, around age 22-23, I started writing worship music, got my music video on a Christian network and now am in full-time ministry! God will do beyond what you can imagine, and you can’t earn it, He just gives it to you because He is a good Father and wants to bless you! Yes, actions do matter, but being a “good person” varies by opinion…what you think being a good person is differs from my opinion of what a good person is. We can only be righteous by being born again by the spirit.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
Do you know God’s standard? The Ten Commandments was given, not to give us rules, and not that we can be perfect, but to show us how to live, and that if you’ve broken one law, you’ve broken all the laws. It is IMPOSSIBLE without the Savior Jesus to obey all of them and to be blameless without the fulfillment of the blood covenant. So, yes, you are only good by faith in the finished work of the cross. Actions matter in the sense of obedience and willful disobedience, and honoring God versus making little mistakes and repenting. Remember, with obedience comes blessings, but with disobedience comes curses. God gives us FREE WILL, and He wills for us to follow Him so we can have the abundant life He promises (John 10:10).
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)
Don’t fall into the trap of religion, because it doesn’t work! It will fail you! Only the blood of Jesus can save and only the power of the cross can truly heal us! Amen!
Comment below, and message me at facebook.com/ChristiGiven with any questions regarding salvation or Jesus being the final sacrifice from God for the sins of the world, or with any prayer requests you need.