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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Tale of a Good Person

A few weeks ago the Eternal Life page was completed at The Speak:Truth Project and I decided to include it here on airō's Eternal Life page as well.  It is also posted below for your convenience:

The Tale of a Good Person

John would be considered a model American citizen. As a 42 year old  paramedic, he was in the business of saving lives and received various  awards for his stellar character and work ethic including Paramedic of  the Year, Rookie Medic of the Year, Community Service Award, Mentor of  the Year, and the Above and Beyond Award. He was a loving husband and a  father of 3 boys, who were fortunate to have a dad so involved in their  education and extra-curricular activities. John served at the homeless  shelter once per month and volunteered his time at the free medical  clinic several times a year. He was loved by many and anyone he came in  contact with would have considered him to be a good person. John would  have considered himself to be a good person for it’s the very thing he  was striven to be.

During his last service as a paramedic, John was responding to a  multi-car pileup on a major interstate when a drunk driver swerved and  hit him from behind. He died instantly at the scene.

Sadly, John is in hell now. Why? Because he thought he was a good person. He thought he was good enough to go to heaven.

This is the mindset of most professing Christians in America today.  Many believe they are Christians by birthright, are Christians because  they have a good relationship with “the church”, or because they are  good people, especially compared to the likes of Adolph Hitler or  Charles Manson. In John’s case, he believed in God (as most Americans  do) and thought his heart for his community and devotion to his family  would earn him the right to go to heaven. But the one thing John never  came to grips with was his sin, especially his pride in thinking he was  good enough to go to heaven.

The Law of God

The Bible tells us that we were born into sin (Psalm 51:5) and there  is no one righteous (Romans 3:10). Righteousness simply means  perfection. Perfect in every way, including behavior, attribute,  attitude, and word. It is God’s standard that He requires of every human  in order for them to go to heaven. In other words, we must be perfect  (Matthew 5:20).

Although in the eyes of men John would be considered a good person,  and rightfully so, he was not perfect. We know this from Scripture,  specifically according to the perfect standard for which God judges  righteousness. These are known as the 10 Commandments found in Exodus  20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21, and God uses these to reveal our sin  (Romans 3:19-20). By going through these eternal laws of God, we can  easily see how none of us have hit the mark of perfection:
  1. You shall have no other gods before me  – if you have ever worshiped a god other than the one true God, then  you have worshiped a false god and are guilty of breaking the 1st  commandment.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol  – if you have ever crafted a god to worship, you are guilty of breaking  the 2nd commandment. Furthermore, if you have created a god in your own  image to cater to your lifestyle, you have broken this commandment.  Most Americans are worshiping an idol god whom they have crafted in  their minds.
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God  – this is known as blasphemy or using the name of the Lord in vain. We  are to treat the name of God with reverence. Any time we use His holy  name to express frustration, anger, flippancy, or disgust, we break this  commandment. This includes “omg”, etc.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy  – if you have not perfectly set aside a day of rest and worship unto  the Lord each week all the days of your life, then you are guilty of  breaking this commandment.
  5. Honor your father and your mother – if you have not perfectly honored your mother and father, then you are guilty of breaking the 5th commandment.
  6. You shall not murder  – perhaps you have never committed premeditated murder, but Jesus said  in Matthew 5:21-22 that if you so much as call anyone a fool, then you  have already committed murder in your heart. This includes hatred,  unjust anger, or cursing someone. If you’ve done this one time, then you  have broken the 6th commandment.
  7. You shall not commit adultery  – it does not take an unfaithful act of cheating on one’s spouse to be  considered adultery. Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28 that if you lust in  your mind then you have committed adultery in your heart. This means any  premarital intimate or  sexual encounter you have had, any look at soft or hard pornography,  any sexual thought toward any person at all in person, by watching  movies, listening to music, or reading books, magazines, or online  material makes you guilty of breaking the 7th commandment.
  8. You shall not steal  – that pencil you stole in elementary school, the pack of gum from your  childhood friend, cheating on a test, illegally downloading music from  the internet, petty theft, shoplifting, or grand larceny – it’s all  theft. If you have stolen anything regardless of its value, then you  have broken the 8th commandment.
  9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor – in other words, you shall not lie.  There is no such thing as a “white lie”. If you have ever told a  “non-truth”, stretched the truth, or given a false statement to anyone  for any reason, then you have broken the 9th commandment.
  10. You shall not covet  – have you ever desired something that was not yours? Have you ever  said, “man, I wish I had that”, or “I wish I had him or her”? This shows  a lack of appreciation for the things you do have, and these wrong  desires could lead to other sins including murder, adultery, or theft.  If you have ever coveted material possessions or people, then you are  guilty of breaking the 10th commandment.
John thought the 10 commandments were a good moral code to live by.  Especially in his adult years, he tried to live with the utmost  integrity and did his best to never lie to anyone. He certainly did not  steal or hate anyone, and remained faithful to his wife during their 20  years of marriage. But John did not consider his secret thought life to  be a big deal. He assumed it was normal to admire pretty women in  bikinis, whether it was at the beach or on the grocery store magazine  rack. And although he was somewhat rebellious as a teenager and  dishonored his parents, he had incredible respect for them now.

John thought his outward actions of being a model citizen and family  guy would be his ticket to heaven. He thought God would approve of his  “goodness” and the scales would tip in his favor to give him access to  the streets of gold. But what John did not see in himself was that his  heart was deceitful and desperately wicked above all things (Jeremiah  17:9). His heart deceived him and he never knew the God of the Bible –  the One and Only True, Holy, Righteous, and Just God of all creation. He  was thus guilty of breaking the first two commandments.

The Problem of Sin

In James 2:10, we see that anyone who attempts to live by the law is  guilty of breaking every law when they break one law. To make matters  worse, any time we don’t do what we should, we are guilty of sinning  (James 4:17). And that’s our problem – sin. Sin is the breaking of the  Law of God, whether we do so willfully or unintentionally. If we sin  once in our entire lives, we are considered lawbreakers (1 John 3:4).

The penalty for breaking the Law of God one time is death (Romans  3:23). In fact, it was one single sin that made all of creation fall  when Adam chose to disobey God in the Garden  of Eden (Genesis 3). It is sin, therefore, that has separated us from a  right fellowship with God, and it is sin that has condemned us to an  eternal hell (John 3:18).

From the moment we were conceived, all of mankind was condemned,  including yourself. Each of us deserve the justice of a Holy God for  having failed to meet His perfect standard of good. If left to receive  the punishment for our crimes, God would be just to send every person to  everlasting hellfire. The consequence for our sin would be conscious  torment forever and ever because of Who we have offended (Matthew 25:41,  Revelation 14:9-11, Revelation 20:10-15, Revelation 19:14-16, 2  Thessalonians 2:8-10, Matthew 5:29-30, Matthew 10:28, Mark 9:48).

There Is Good News

But God is rich in mercy! His eternal plan before He created the  universe was to send His one and only Son to be the propitiation  (satisfaction) for sin’s punishment (1 John 4:10; 1 Peter 1:20-21). Over  2,000 years ago, a virgin Jewish teenager named Mary gave birth to the  Son of God (Luke 1-2). Jesus was 100% man and 100% God (John 1:1-18).  After walking a life of perfect obedience to His Father, Jesus of  Nazareth went up to a trash heap called Calvary to lay His life down for  His sheep (John 10:11).

No other sacrifice could appease God’s wrath against mankind. It  required the blood of an innocent, perfect sacrifice to be a substitute  for the sins of man (Hebrews 9). As the unblemished Lamb of God, Jesus  actually became sin and was punished by His own Father (2 Corinthians  5:21; Isaiah 53:3-6). God’s furious wrath poured out on His own Son as  if Jesus was sin personified. This atoning sacrifice has now made a way  for you to be forgiven of your sins. And why did He do this?


In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

To fulfill God’s promise to Himself to raise His Son from the dead,  after Christ had paid for our sins in full, God resurrected Him unto  life! (Matthew 28:5-6; 1 Corinthians 15:20). Jesus now reigns in heaven  at the right hand of His Father (Hebrews 12:2), and is waiting to come  back again to establish His Kingdom on earth (Revelation 19:11-16;  20:4-6).

That is the good news, dear friend. Jesus Christ paid a debt He did  not owe because you have a debt you cannot pay. There is nothing that  you can do to add to the work that Christ has already done. That is why  He said,

It is finished. – John 19:30

If you try to be justified by your good deeds as John the Paramedic  did, you will surely experience the same judgment as John in the lake of  fire for all eternity (Galatians 3:11, 5:3-4).

You Must Repent and Believe

If you have yet to be made alive by the grace of God, then you are  still dead in your sins (Ephesians 2:1, 5) and the wrath of God hangs  over your head (Colossians 3:6; Ephesians 2:3). Yet, out of the infinite  mercy of God for His children, He has paved the way for His sheep to  receive eternal life – through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ  alone! God has called all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). God is  calling you to repent. He is calling you to turn away from the sin that  separates you from His holiness. He is calling you to turn from  your idols, to turn from the control of your life, to turn from serving  yourself, and to turn toward Him to receive His gift of grace through  faith. This type of faith is a repentant faith where you must give up on  yourself and your sinful lifestyle to trust in God to save you from His  wrath and the enslavement to your sin.

That is what you are – a slave. You are either a slave to your sin or  you are a slave to the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:16-18;  John 8:34), but you cannot be a slave to both (Matthew 6:24). Neither  can you love God and love the world and the things of this world (1 John  2:15). The Bible says in Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your  mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised  Him from the dead, you will be saved. You must call upon the name of the  Lord (Romans 10:13), but this is not mere lip service, dear friend.

It will cost you everything (Luke 14:33). Jesus has called His sheep  to deny themselves, pick up their crosses daily, and follow Him (Luke  9:23). He has called His sheep to forsake all for Him, and to value Him  and love Him more than their family, their friends, and even their own  lives (Luke 14:25-33; Matthew 10:37-39). Jesus has called you to lay  down your life for Him, to count it as nothing, and when you do by the  grace of God, He promises you eternal life!

The Promise of Eternal Life

This is what Jesus said of those who recognize their sins against God  and desperate need of a Savior. These are people who feel conviction  and sorrow, a godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10), for breaking God’s Law  and being the very reason for the crucifixion of the Son of God. If that  is you, He is speaking these words to you, dear friend:

I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. – John 6:35
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30
Whoever drinks of the water that  I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him  will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting  life. – John 4:14
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. – John 17:3
Enter by the narrow gate. For  the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and  those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is  hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. – Matthew  7:13-14    
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one. – John 10:27-30
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. – John 3:3
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39  This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me  I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40  And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son  and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up  at the last day. – John 6:37-40
I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6
I am the resurrection and the  life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and  everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe  this? – John 11:25-26

Do  you believe this, dear friend? Are you weary? Are you looking for rest  for your soul? Is the weight of your sin bearing down on you? Do you  feel the Spirit of God drawing you into His embrace? It does not matter  what you have done or who you have done it with, God has called you to  repent from your sins and throw yourself before the cross of the Lord  Jesus Christ. If you are one of His sheep, listen to the voice of the  Good Shepherd and follow Him. You must be clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ so that God can declare you not guilty  of your crimes against Him. If you have been born again, then cry out  to God, turn away from the things that are separating you from Him,  trust that He is your Savior, and yield yourself to the Lordship of  Christ! Knowing this of Jesus:

there is salvation  in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men  by which we must be saved. – Acts 4:12

If God has poured out His grace upon you (1 Peter 1:3) according to  the riches of His mercy (Ephesians 2:4-5; John 1:12-13), this is what He  promises:

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us. – Psalm 103:11-12

He removes the sins from His children as if they never sinned and  sees them only as righteous, holy, and without blemish because they have  been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. The most marvelous thing  about this is you don’t have to wait for eternal life, and it may be  yours today – instantly!

New Life in Christ

Now friend, think on these things. Diligently seek after God in faith  and He will reward you (Hebrews 11:6). If you have believed on the Son  of God and trusted in Him alone as your Lord and your  Savior, He has planted His seed in you to empower you to hunger and  thirst for the things of God (1 John 3:9) that you should no longer walk  in darkness (1 John 1:5-10). Begin reading your Bible and obey what you  read. Spend time with God in prayer every day so that you will walk in  the Spirit and be prepared for whatever comes in your path. Surround  yourself with mature Christians so they can instruct you and encourage  you. Find a solid, Bible-believing church so you can be shepherded in  the faith, and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy  Spirit. Be submissive to the work of the Holy Spirit so

…by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which isyour reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:1-2

We’d like to hear from you if the amazing grace of God has set you  free from the bondage of your sin (John 8:36) and saved you from the  fury of His wrath (Romans 2:5). If you have any questions about anything  you have read or are struggling in the assurance of your salvation,  please do not hesitate to contact us through our Contact page. You might also find our Resources page to be beneficial to you.

May our great God and Savior Jesus Christ be glorified in your life today and the life to come…Soli Deo Gloria!

We were buried  therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ  was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk  in newness of life. – Romans 6:4

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