A blog series on finding Salvation in Christ Alone
"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. 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
The Road to Righteousness
For all of you that have children, you probably know what a behavior chart is. I’m sure you can guess that I purchased many of these when my first two children were young. Not because they were terrible children, but because of my love of lists and visuals. This chore chart made the rules clear, concise, and to the point. At the end of the day, the boys either received the sticker for a job well done or not for choosing to disobey. In our house, this resulted in many tears because of the lack of reward. Though these boys are now teens, I still remember meeting my husband at the door one day after work with a direct question fueled by frustration and disappointment. “Why can't they just follow the rules.” Now they were and still are outstanding children of whom I am exceedingly proud. But they aren't perfect and never will be.
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it.” Romans 3:21
As much as perfectionism may seem like a gift that drives people toward their goals, as one who has this annoying trait, I will tell you that for me it’s a disillusionment of reality. Perfect hasn’t existed in this world since The Creation and it will never exist here due to one simple fact. WE ARE NOT PERFECT PEOPLE. Even on my children’s best days –the days where they would give all their effort to follow all the rules and obey, that behavior chart would not be filled up completely with smiley faces and star stickers. Because even at their best, they are still far from perfect. Just like me, just like you, and just like the rest of humanity. This idea of what I will call; rule-following for righteousness, isn’t a new way of living. It existed during the Old Testament and contains 613 laws that God’s people were expected to follow. These laws were expectations and rules for the Israelites to live by and follow. And while rules and boundaries are beneficial for giving us knowledge and guidance of our wrongdoings, we will never be perfect. On our own, we are totally incapable. The verse above was the turning point for all people. Paul explains that we can't find Salvation in the legal relationship of these Levitical Laws. God’s righteousness is not deserved, earned, or achieved through our actions. It’s instead a gift that is available for every person. Why do we need this gift?
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23
And just like my children trying to walk a straight line for the reward of pleasing their dad and me, they will eventually step out of line. Not because they are delinquents, but because we have all sinned. God has a glorious plan for us and we all fall short every day probably in many ways. Even if we can have A+ behavior, what about our thoughts? Would they receive the same grade? My guess would be no since we are all sinful and in need of a Savior.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
This pivotal moment when God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to walk the earth, changed everything forever. This righteousness that none of us could ever work hard enough to earn was now gifted to us because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Because of His great love for us on the cross that day, we are now offered forgiveness for all of our sins. How do we accept this forgiveness? We recognize it, ask for forgiveness and turn away from said sin. God’s righteousness simply means that we are made right with God. Not through our own merits and deeds, but only through a relationship with Jesus Christ. I love that there are no exclusions in this verse. It’s not by age, gender, race, or anything else. It says that we have all sinned. This in turn means that Salvation is available to everyone. If we want to receive God's saving grace then we must first confess that we are sinners in need of a Savior. The Bible tells us that mine, yours, and everyone else’s sin separates us from God and our eternal home. But Jesus took the punishment for us and made an opportunity to be right with God.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10
If we cannot see our own sinfulness, then we will not be able to understand our desperate need for a Savior. In addition to this, if we see our sin, but don’t understand the severity of even the “most minor” sins, then we minimize Jesus’ death on the cross. Whether our sins our big, little, public or private is irrelevant because Jesus died for all sins. Any sin in our lives should help us recognize our need for Jesus.
If you have never trusted in God and invited Him to be the Lord over your life, I pray that you would start right here today. Recognize the gravity of the sin in your life and understand that your unforgiven sin will separate you for all of eternity from a Holy God.
If you have never found your hope and Salvation in the ONE TRUE GOD, my prayer is that you would seek him today and find your hope in Him. If you are ready to surrender your life to God here is a sample prayer that you can pray.
Dear God, Today I recognize my need for you in my life and proclaim the truth that “apart from you, I can do nothing”. I humble myself before you and confess to you that I am a sinner and in need of your grace. I believe that you are the One True God and that you sent your one and only son to die on the cross to save me from my sins. I believe that because of this I can have eternal life within you. I ask you now that you would cleanse me from these sins and create in me a clean heart. From this day forward I want to live my life solely for you as my Lord. Thank you for hearing my prayers and making me a new creation.
If you have questions or would like someone to pray with you or for you, please click the contact button below.
Our Bible Reading plan this week will covers God's righteousness and our sin.
If you have questions or things that you don't understand, please email them to me and I will add them to the Q&A section. I can't promise you that I will have all of the answers, but I can promise I will do my best to find them if I don't have them.
Growing in God
Would you like a tool to encourage your growth in God? Check out my newly released 12-month spiritual disciplines book/journal. This journal will give you a brief understanding of 8 tangible spiritual disciplines as well as give you a space to implement these disciplines into your daily walk with God.