PJ Smyth & Pete Kropman
C. Through Receiving from Jesus
The only way to be saved from the penalty of sin is to receive by faith God’s gift of righteousness. Check it out:
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed…Now a righteousness from God apart from the law has been made known…it comes from God through faith in Christ Jesus.’ (Rom 1:17, 3:20-22)
In the Gospel is God’s gift of righteousness that needs to be received by faith. Let’s back up a bit and ask a fundamental question:
Why do I need to receive righteousness from Jesus?
- Because your problem of sin is massive. You are guilty on two counts: Firstly, you are guilty from inherited sin. Paul writes, ‘By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners’  referring to how Adam’s sin brought the DNA of sin into the human race. We are natural born sinners. Have you noticed how kids never need to be taught how to sin? And then, you are guilty from intentional sin. Solomon, the wisest man in the Old Testament said, ‘There is no man living who does not sin’.  Paul concurs saying, ‘All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’.  Guilty on two counts!
- Because you are spiritually dead. Outside of receiving the gift of righteousness from Jesus the punishment or ‘wages’ that you will receive for your sin is death.  Death refers to being spiritually dead in this life towards God, meaning no connection with your Creator, and no righteousness, peace or joy that comes from knowing Him. And, it means continuing on that same trajectory through the moment of death into eternal living death in hell, totally cut off from God forever.
- Because ‘doing good’ doesn’t count. Our defence mechanism kicks in saying, ‘But I am not that bad, I mean I have done good things too’. Not relevant. In God’s eyes good things do not cancel out bad things. So then we point out that we are not as bad as other people. Again, not relevant, as God is not comparing us to others but to the sinless standard of Himself.  The essential problem is that God is holy and even one sin defiles us and makes us an affront to His holiness. A million good deeds could never solve that. Another solution is needed.
- Because you are much worse that you thought. The good news of the Gospel is always preceded with the bad news that we are sinners deserving death. You are:
- A sinful corpse (Eph 2:1)
- An object of God’s wrath (Eph 2:3)
- Darkened (Eph 4:18)
- Ignorant (Eph 4:18)
- Worthless (Rom 3:12)
- Deserving of death (Rom 1:32)
If you are thinking, ‘but I don’t deserved to be called those awful things,’ then you don’t know awful you really are. The glorious message of the Gospel is that you are more awful than you ever realised, but God is more kind than you ever knew; you are more wicked than you ever realised, yet more loved by God than you ever knew; you are more undeserving than you ever realised, but God is more gracious than you ever knew.
In Mark 2 a paralysed man is brought to Jesus on a stretcher. Jesus first words to him are ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’. To be honest, I expected the paralysed man to respond, “Er, thanks man, but you seem to be the only person in ear shot who didn’t hear what I asked for…not sins forgiven but healing…there’s a clue to be found in the fact I can’t move anything except my mouth. I’ve got more of a pressing problem here than sin…I need healing!” But Jesus is trying to teach him that his primary need is to be forgiven of his sin. Paralysis can hinder a short life on earth but sin can destroy a life for eternity.
More next time…