Just like any other legal transaction has terms and conditions associated with it, God’s redemptive work – which is the biggest legal transaction that was ever made – is accompanied with terms and conditions too.
In the previous post we looked at Man’s Destiny which God had planned all along for us. However, just because a person is predestined to receive something does not necessarily mean that they will actually get what should belong to them…
For example, as the firstborn in your family you might have been predestined by your father to take over the family business when the time is right. However, if you don’t change your conduct where needed, take up responsibility and demonstrate the will and desire to take on that role one day, it could pass you by. Your father might very well look for someone else to hand the business over to instead – even though you were his first choice.
Similarly, just because we have been predestined by God for something does not mean we will automatically inherit it, nor does it mean we will necessarily qualify for it when the appointed time comes. Therefore, it is important to look at the requirements for salvation and restoration, as determined by God.
Trust In Jesus Alone
If you believe Jesus paid the penalty for your sin on your behalf, it is important that it is not a half-measured trust but a complete trust. You trust in the work on the cross in the same way you trust your car is going to stop when you step on the brake pedal; or that a skydiver trusts in a parachute to bring him safely back to earth after jumping from an airplane. In other words, you trust as if your life (and eternity) depends on it.
We have confidence in the work Jesus did on the cross and we trust it was sufficient to save us from the judgement to come.
Only in light of how Jesus legally paid our debt on the cross, can we understand the words of Jesus when He said He is the only way to the Father. Peter understood this and echoed the words of Jesus when he said in Acts 4:12,
“… there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].”
To trust in Jesus alone for salvation also means that we trust in the work on the cross that paid our debt, and nothing else. The fine was paid in full, for all. Nothing can be added to what Jesus did on the cross; nothing can be taken away. The fine that was paid was a gift to all of mankind, and salvation can only be received as a gift. We receive this gift when we truly repent from our sin and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation alone. Ephesians 2:8 says,
“For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God”
This is God’s plan of redemption for mankind. Jesus paid the price for our sin in full, and we can receive salvation as a gift through faith. It is important to note that it is by grace – through faith, that we receive salvation, and not by grace – by faith. If it was by faith that we received salvation, it would still have required work on our part. Salvation is truly a gift to all who would receive it by grace – through faith!
This is why Jesus said He is the only way to God. Since God is a righteous judge who must punish sin wherever it is found, it is only the sinless blood of Jesus Christ that was able to satisfy the wrath of God that should have been exacted upon us.
Since we are all liars, thieves, adulterers, idolaters and the like (see the post on Where Did All The Good People Go?), we are all guilty of breaking God’s Moral Law which is written on our hearts. Our conscience testifies of this fact, and because of our sin we all need a Saviour to save us from this sin.
When we receive the gift of salvation by grace, through faith, we become born again and are made free from the bondage of sin. The person who is born again is adopted as a son into the Kingdom of God and no longer a slave to sin, but a slave to righteousness. Only the blood of Jesus Christ was worthy to pay for our sin. This is why Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father and heaven.
Once you have placed your trust in Jesus alone for salvation, you go before God with all your sin and you give it to Him by confessing it with a contrite heart. When we come before Him we don’t have anything to offer, only the price Jesus paid on our behalf. It is the only legal ground we have to stand on, and the only ‘legal document’ that will release the grip the Law has on your life.
The next step to receive salvation is to confess your sins, repent from your old and wicked ways as you trust in Jesus alone for salvation. 1 John 1:9 say,
“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose].”
Ezekiel 18:32 says,
“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore, repent and live!”
To repent is an action whereby we demonstrate sincere regret or remorse for the things we have done wrong. More specifically, repentance is an acknowledgement of our sin before a holy and just God. We acknowledge that we have violated God’s Moral Law which is written on our hearts, and thereby offended Him greatly. We realise we cannot save ourselves and are in dire need of forgiveness and deliverance from our sinful nature.
In Psalm 51 we see an example of someone who came before the Lord with a contrite heart, and in Psalm 51:1-4 we read,
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to the multitude of Your tender mercy and loving-kindness blot out my transgressions. 2Wash me thoroughly [and repeatedly] from my iniquity and guilt and cleanse me and make me wholly pure from my sin! 3For I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them; my sin is ever before me. 4Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified in Your sentence and faultless in Your judgment.”
Confess Jesus As Lord
The Bible says in Acts 2:36 that God has made Jesus both Lord and Saviour. While Jesus is our Saviour because He paid our fine and debt on the cross, God also gave Him the authority to be the Lord of our lives.
To be Lord means to be the owner, the master and the ruler of something or someone. Romans 10:9-10 say,
“… if you acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation.”
To confess Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life is to acknowledge that you no longer live for yourself, but for Jesus Christ who took your punishment for your sin upon Himself so you can be restored back to God. Ray Comfort said,
Have you pictured Jesus Christ crucified? Have you seen the precious blood pouring from His hands and His feet, and cried, ‘For me He dies’? If you have, horror mingled with unspeakable gratitude will drive you to your knees, and you will whisper, ‘Oh, God, because You did that for me, I will do anything for You!’
When Jesus becomes Lord, we no longer live for ourselves but for Him and Him alone!Read Next: When Christians Contradict Christ