Mankind is fundamentally and fatally flawed apart from Christ. “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). Everyone is depraved and guilty of sin. This does not mean that man will always act as wickedly as possible, but rather that wickedness so permeates his entire being that he is enslaved to it and is therefore inherently unable to respond to the Gospel in faith and repentance.
Sin produces death and demands a penalty. God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death (Ezekiel 18:4). Simply changing our patterns of behavior cannot solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. Prideful rebellion against an infinitely holy God deserves an infinitely holy punishment.
We cannot do anything to make ourselves good enough to please God. No amount of sincerity or good works is capable of overcoming even the smallest of sins. We cannot rely on anything we do to earn salvation. Doing helpful and sacrificial works will not erase the guilt and penalty of sin. Sin taints all our thoughts, words, and actions, and God is too holy to excuse any way in which we have fallen short of the perfection of His glorious standard (Isaiah 64:6, Ephesians 2:8–9, Titus 3:5).
While God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided great sinners with a great Savior. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross atoned for the sin of everyone who believes in Him, satisfying God’s wrath by paying sin’s penalty (Mark 10:45; Isaiah 53:4–6; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:20). His death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, and His perfect life satisfied the demands of God’s holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21). He alone can forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26).
The resurrection is God’s undeniable proof to all men that Jesus is Lord, and His sacrifice is sufficient to provide salvation for everyone who would believe (Acts 17:30–31; Philippians 2:9–11; 1 Peter 1:3). Therefore, Christ is the only way of salvation. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He is the only one who can save us from hell, forgive our sins, and restore us to the Father (John 3:36; 10:9; 8:24; Acts 4:12; Romans 5:2).
True repentance recognizes that you have broken God’s law and responds to Him in obedience. Repentance involves: confession of sin to God that results in forgiveness. To confess is to say the same thing about sin that God does; to acknowledge His perspective on sin. We recognize it is heinous in His sight because we have broken His law and offended a holy God (Leviticus 19:2). Repentance involves seeking and pleading with God for forgiveness (Acts 8:22).
To be forgiven is to have complete purification from unrighteousness on the basis of Christ’s righteousness freely imputed to us. Forgiveness from God means that He releases us from sin’s penalty as Christ has paid that penalty by bearing God’s wrath against our sin. He also sees us as holy, because He credits the righteousness of Christ to our account (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:18–19). Therefore the stain of our sin is blotted out and replaced with Christ’s righteousness. There is no limitation to His forgiveness for those who are repentant (Matthew 6:12; 1 John 1:9).
The Christian life is marked by continual turning from sin and forgiveness granted by God.
Repentance does not stop with a solemn recognition of sin. Nor is it merely a decision to trust Christ for eternal life, but a wholesale forsaking of everything else we trust and a turning to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Saving faith is in Christ alone, not dependent on any of our abilities or efforts (Ephesians 2:8–9).
Jesus is alive today. This is good news for sinners! You can be saved from sin’s death-penalty by confessing your sin and turning to Jesus in faith and repentance. Therefore, God invites and commands you to turn from your rebellion against Him.
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. — 2 Corinthians 6:2
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