Suppose . . .
YOU'RE IN DEEP FINANCIAL DEBT, with no apparent way of paying
it off. The bill collectors have sent you the last warning, and are
threatening to take legal actions. The situation looks bad, very bad, with
no hope in sight . . . UNTIL! Your rich uncle, with a very large credit
limit, says, "Here take my credit card. Pay off your debts." So you go
to each one of your bill collectors (with a letter from your uncle, giving
you full authority to use his credit), and you pay off all your bills and live
happily ever after.
Now, let's consider what just took place. Your uncle helped you out by, in
essence, giving you his good credit rating. You could say, he traded his good
credit for your debt. And whether you realize it or not, right now you're
greatly in debt, and . . .
Jesus Christ is willing to
make a similar trade!
To fully understand the kind of trade we're referring to, let's first consider how
human nature tends to operate when it comes to getting into Heaven. Most
people naturally assume that to go to Heaven, they have to be a
righteous person in God's eyes. But, how righteous is righteous enough? Well,
Jesus, Himself, told us. He said:
"For I say unto you, That except your righteousness SHALL EXCEED THE
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, ye shall in NO
CASE enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20
Who are these Scribes and Pharisees? I'm Glad you asked . . .
The Pharisees were viewed as the "most righteous" among the Jews. They
fasted twice a week, gave tithes of everything they received, and prayed three
times a day. They were the most zealous when it came to trying to follow
the law. Yet, Jesus said even their actions weren't righteous enough. His
point being, that NO ONE can be righteous enough to earn Heaven. Everyone
falls short of God's perfect holy standard. In fact, when God looks down at
our "righteous" efforts to earn Heaven, all He sees is our sin.
"For ALL HAVE SINNED, and COME SHORT of
the glory of God." Romans 3:23
We are all sinners by nature. Being righteous enough to merit Heaven doesn't
come natural to us. It's not even something we can accomplish. Consequently,
when it comes to meriting Heaven, God says:
"As it is written, There is NONE RIGHTEOUS,
no, NOT ONE." Romans 3:10
Jesus' own Apostles, realizing the unattainable righteousness that God
required, asked Christ, "WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED [go to Heaven]?"
(Matthew 19:25) To which Christ answered:
"WITH MEN THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE; but with God all
things are possible." Matthew 19:26
"With God all things are possible." God provided a solution to our hopeless
dilemma. And to understand what He did, refer back to our opening story.
Remember, you were in deep financial debt. For you, it was impossible to pay
it, but not for your rich uncle. He had the credit you needed to get out of
debt. More importantly he was willing to exchange his credit for your debt.
Likewise, we owe God an enormous sin debt that keeps us from going to
Heaven. We need perfect righteousness. Christ, on the other hand, "Who knew
no sin" (2 Cor. 5:21), has all the righteousness anyone will ever need to get
to Heaven. But, would Christ be willing to trade us His righteousness for our
sin? Is He willing to pay for our sins, and put His righteousness on our account,
so that whenever God looks at us He sees Christ's righteousness acting on our
The answer is: YES! If we ask Him! The Bible says:
"For he hath MADE HIM TO BE SIN FOR US, who knew no sin; THAT
WE MIGHT BE MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS
OF GOD IN HIM." 2 Cor. 5:21
Only Christ can make us righteous enough to get to Heaven. He traded places
with us. That should have been every one of us on that cross. Yet, He took the
blame for our sin, paid our sin debt, suffered the punishment that we deserve,
while at the same time offering us His own righteousness.
We can receive what He did on our behalf, by faith, by believing that He
died for our sins, and by trusting in what has been done for us ALREADY. This
requires repentance on our part. We have to change our minds, stop trusting
in our own self-righteousness, and submit to Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
For example: The Bible says Abraham, as godly as he was, never trusted his
own righteousness, but instead trusted God and his trust . . .
"Was IMPUTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Now it was not
written for HIS SAKE ALONE, that it was imputed to him; BUT FOR US
ALSO, TO WHOM IT SHALL BE IMPUTED, IF WE BELIEVE ON HIM
that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead." Romans 4:22-24
The Apostle Paul, as good a Christian as he was, was NOT willing to trust his
own righteousness either. He said he wanted to:
"Be found in him, NOT HAVING MINE OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, which
is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, THE
RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS OF GOD BY FAITH." Philippians 3:9
Christ is offering His righteousness--the only righteousness good enough to get
you to Heaven--as a gift. Simply admit that your own acts of righteousness are
not good enough and that you are a lost, hell-deserving sinner in need of a
Saviour. You must REPENT AND TRUST Christ, and Him alone, to save you!
"They which receive abundance of grace and of THE GIFT OF
RIGHTEOUSNESS shall reign in life BY ONE, JESUS CHRIST....by
the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF ONE THE FREE GIFT CAME UPON ALL
MEN unto justification of life." Romans 5:17-18
So, whose righteousness are YOU trusting in? Your own or Christ's?
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God," (Isaiah 59:2). In
fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short of the
glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are
all examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he [Christ] saved
us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S
WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us." (Rom. 5:8-9)
THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change
your mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving
sinner and can't save yourself, and call upon
Christ, and Him alone, to save you. "if thou shalt
confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus
[REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart
[TRUST] that God hath raised him from the
dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9
SEND THE LIGHT
P.O. Box 815 Fargo, ND 58107
[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]