There is an aspect of God’s character that we often overlook. Most of us like to accept that God is good, and that God is love. He is a loving God, a perfect God, and a good God. But we often forget that a defining attribute of goodness, is justice. God is also a just God. When other human beings act unjustly, no one hesitates to speak out against it, calling it evil. With that in mind, as we talk about Gods justice, let’s maintain that same consistency as we apply what we know intuitively to be right, too ourselves.
Gods Moral Standard
Jesus taught in detail about Gods moral standard. He expanded upon Gods moral law (The famous 10 commandments); to reveal Gods legal, ethical, and moral code for the universe he has created. Let’s examine 4 of these:
1.) Do not lie.
2.) Do not steal.
3.) Do not murder.
4.) Do not commit adultery.
These laws seem basic enough. They’ve even been written upon the hearts of all of humanity. Each of us understands that something has gone terribly wrong. Human beings have a tendency towards doing bad things. Sometimes deliberately, other times accidently, but we all make mistakes. But how do we go when we compare ourselves to these 4 commandments?
1.) Lie. Most, if not all human beings have told lies throughout their life. Often times, we cannot even count the amount of lies we’ve told. We call someone who tells countless lies, a ‘liar’.
2.) Theft. Most of us at some point have taken something that doesn’t belong to us, even if it’s something small. Whether it is downloading music illegally or something as small as stealing a tomato sauce sachet. Most of us have stolen. We call someone who steals things a ‘thief’.
3.) Murder. Now most of us at this point would say we are not guilty here. But Jesus says that anyone who hates his neighbor is a murderer in their heart. God is so perfect; he identifies hatred, with murder.
4.) Adultery. Jesus also expanded upon this commandment explaining that if we were to lust after someone else’s spouse, we are committing adultery with them in our hearts. Most people have done this at some point in their lives.
So when we do stand before the God of justice, on the day he has set aside to make all things right; Judgment day. How will we appear before him? The harsh truth is that most of us will be considered to be a lying thief, and a murder, and adulterer at heart. We don’t like to identify ourselves with those words, because they seem such strong words. But when we compare ourselves, not to other human beings, but to the one whom we have committed these crimes – God, this is how we stand; as guilty criminals.
What does a good God do with lying thieves, murderers, and adulterers at heart? Is it justice for a Judge to let criminals go unpunished?
Imagine this; a pedophile who has raped a child stands before a judge in a court of law and pleads; ‘I’m sorry for raping an 8 year old girl. I’ve done so many good things in my life. I help the old lady with her groceries; I support starving children with donations. Will you overlook my crimes?’
If the judge is corrupt, he will let the rapist go unpunished. If the judge is good, the rapist is sent to prison. It doesn’t matter what good deeds he has done. He is on trial for his bad deeds. Good deeds don’t enter the equation when it comes to crime. We cannot bribe a good judge. It doesn’t work in civil court; neither will good works have any effect in the eternal court. Good works are great, but they can’t be used to bribe the judge.
So what must the judge do? The judge must send the rapist to prison, if he is a good, just judge.
What must God do for guilty criminals in the eternal courtroom? God must punish lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness.
God has revealed that he is not willing that any perish. He does not want his loved ones to end up in the eternal prison – the lake of fire, where the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. What did God do to save guilty criminals? God became a man, Jesus. He suffered and died on a cross fulfilling hundreds of prophecies. He died for our sins. God became sin itself, so that our sins might be exchanged for his righteousness. A legal transaction took place on the cross so that he could acquit guilty criminals, while maintaining justice. Jesus was crucified, buried in a tomb, and he rose from the dead 3 days later.
Does this mean that everyone will be saved? Absolutely not! God cannot appropriate his sacrifice to anyone that refuses to repent, and put their trust and faith in him. An un-repentant criminal will continue committing their crimes, destroying the lives of others.
What Must I Do?
How does a person receive forgiveness from God?
The first thing God commands us to do is to repent, and believe.
1.) Repent. Repentance involves 4 aspects.
a. Acknowledging that we have done wrong.
b. Apologizing for doing wrong.
c. Stop doing wrong.
d. Start doing right.
2.) Believe. Place your faith in Jesus. Trust in him; give your life to him. Accept him to be your Lord, your ruler, your King. He is your creator.
Prayer is the way mankind communicates with God. We talk to God, and God will reply if we approach him in the right manner. Cry out to God; apologize for everything evil that you’ve done. List before God everything your conscience is telling you to be sinful, and ask him for his forgiveness. Declare that you accept Jesus to be Lord of your life, and that you believe that he was raised from the dead.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10
When we repent and put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ – we are marked in Jesus with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. We cannot live up to Gods perfect expectations in our own strength; so we have to rely on Gods power working in us. He transforms our desires from the inside out, and each day conforms us more and more into the likeness of Jesus. It’s a daily walk, but God created us to live in relationship with him.
I’ve made the Decision!
Great! The angels of heaven rejoice in uproar as one sinner passes from death to life. God’s joy cannot be expressed with human words. It’s also now important for you to be involved in a community of believers so that you can grow together with likeminded people, and have your faith strengthened by a closely connected loving family.
When we stand before God on judgment day, he won’t see our sins any longer, but he will see the righteousness of Jesus upon our lives; our sins, having been exchanged for Gods righteousness.
The next step after this is baptism. Jesus was baptized, and all New Testament believers were also baptized. Peter, as he first preached the gospel, having been filled with the Holy Spirit said;
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”Acts 2
The word ‘baptize’ means to dunk, immerse, or submerge. Scripture tells us to do something physical to permanently identify ourselves with what Jesus did. We are told to be baptized or dunked under water, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It’s a spiritual burial. The old nature is buried with Christ through baptism. It also means that we are raised spiritually from the dead to newness of life through faith. Baptism is a foreshadow of what is to come – those who are in Christ, will all be physically raised from the dead, at the return of Jesus.
If you want to be baptized, feel free to contact our ministry – or a local church.
Without the sacrifice of Jesus, unless what he has done is appropriated in our lives, we will serve the full penalty our crimes deserve. Jesus declared this;
“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
There is only one way to God, and that is through God himself – Jesus Christ, God who became man. Physically, we know that not all paths lead to the same destination. Everyone seems to understand that except when it comes to eternity. The only path that leads to the destination of eternal life – is Jesus. There is no other name under heaven, given to mankind whereby we must be saved.
It’s important to get connected with other likeminded believers. If you live nearby, you are welcome to join us, or – find another church closer to where you live. We meet at 3:30pm at the Mooloolaba State Primary School on Sunday Afternoon.
There are five important things you need to understand now that you have decided to follow Jesus.
1.) Be unashamed. Don’t hide your faith. Be open about it. Tell others about it. Jesus warned that if we are ashamed of him, he also will be ashamed of us. Jesus tells us that he was persecuted, and that as we follow him, others will also persecute us. Nevertheless, we are unashamed because God loved us and died for us, and we know that Jesus is the truth.
2.) Walk in humility and repentance. To follow Jesus means we must deny the old nature. We must walk in continuous repentance of sin, and reliance upon God. For more understanding about what brings glory to God, and what does not – visit our website: www.glorifygod.com.au, get connected with a local church, and read the bible. The discipleship journey has just begun! The New Testament is a great place to start. The book of Mark is a short book about Jesus life that will help you grow in wisdom, faith, and love.
3.) Forgive others. Jesus warned us that our forgiveness from God depends on our willingness to forgive others. Our unwillingness to forgive is something we must repent of. He has commanded us to forgive others, just as he forgave us.
4.) This is how others recognize that we belong to God – by our love for one another. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. But what kind of love? We must repent for loving with reservation. Gods Holy Spirit empowers us to love radically, unconditionally, unreservedly. All human beings can love reservedly, but only through God can we love even our enemies unconditionally. As Jesus died on the cross he proclaimed about those who crucified him; ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do’.
5.) Endurance. It’s a hard, narrow path that leads to life. Jesus tells us that few find it. Many turn from it, towards the path that leads to destruction, which is broad, many go in by it. But if we abide in Jesus, he will abide in us, and we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. We can be confident on the Day of Judgment.