There is a fact that has become crystal clear to me since the Lord opened my eyes to my woeful state before Him, convicted me (through my reading of the Gospel) of the depth of the guilt of my sin against Him, and then graciously granted me repentance and faith unto the forgiveness of my sins around January of 2002. I was reminded of this understanding recently as I read a little book, The Truth of the Cross, written by reformed preacher/teacher R.C. Sproul, one of this generation’s men of God whom the Lord has used mightily in leading us along the pathway of truth. Dr. Sproul also made mention of this observation, and it so resonated in my heart when I read it.
It is that the nearly universal belief within the world today, is that all one must to do to get to Heaven, other than ”not kill anyone,” is die. It seems like every time someone passes away, man’s natural inclination is to respond, ”Well, they’re in a much better place now,” no matter what the dearly departed’s spiritual condition.
However, this understanding is so absolutely, positively contrary to what God has clearly revealed to mankind in the Bible that it is frankly, stunning and shocking to me every time I hear it spoken. The God of the Bible (who has made His salvation and identity known through the supernatural life, death and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ) has made it absolutely clear to mankind — whom He has created for His pleasure, and to manifest His glory — is that in order to have eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, one must be absolutely perfect in every respect… flawlessly sinless in all matters of morals and behavior, motives and intentions, for the entire period spanning from conception through the point of death… as specifically laid forth in the Word of God, the Bible.
Hmmm… that certainly leaves both the irreligious and religious alike with a bit of a major dilemma, doesn’t it..? Having believed the “everyone goes to heaven unless they’ve killed someone” deception for more than 30 years, it is my joy and the passion of my heart, to invite you to consider the Lord God’s provision mankind’s great dilemma. I share what the Bible says about eternal life on the home page of my website, http://www.truthislove.org/.
We have faced no small amount of amazement/displeasure from those nearest to us since our conversions to Christ and the ensuing zeal we exhuberantly poured forth… In our “newborn” excitement, having offending many, sadly enough, we have at times been perceived to be self-righteous jerks (and indeed, that is putting it mildly). The fact of the matter is that calling us “jerks” lets us off easy. However, we must absolutely that we are NOT self-righteous. In fact, we have come to be fully convinced that we are so completely unrighteous and defiled that our only hope is to be clothed with the perfect righteousness of Christ Jesus. And in this cloak of Christ’s righteousness we stand before God confessing ourselves to be something akin to “snow-covered dung,” as the great reformer and theologian Martin Luther once so eloquently said. We are fully deserving of nothing short of eternal condemnation and misery.
The fact of the matter is that by God’s enabling power of grace, we have seen and heard what God has said in His Word about us as members of the human race, and through trials and testings, God has personally proven His judgement upon us to be perfect and precisely correct.
Let us put the microscope on ME for a moment, shall we? Let us see all that God Himself has said proceeds forth from MY HEART — the “heart” is God’s term for “everything that is uniquely me” outside of Christ — that is [I repeat: outside of Christ], the sum of my thoughts, desires, intents, wisdom, etc. This is the “human nature,” also referred to in the Scriptures as “the flesh.”
Outside of Christ, I am utterly defiled because of what naturally flows out of my heart, to include evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness and slanders. The only thing that would restrain me from acting upon all these impulses is the grace of God. Matthew 15:18-19
Outside of Christ, my heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. In the shallowness of my understanding, I can’t even come close to fully comprehending the depth of my depravity. Jeremiah 17:9
Outside of Christ, not even one good thing dwells within my flesh — nothing good comes from what I am. Romans 7:8
Outside of Christ, even when I want to do what is right, the overpowering inclination within me is to evil instead. But for the grace of God, it would be impossible for me to do anything that is pleasing to Him. Romans 7:21
Outside of Christ, everything in my flesh rebels against the Spirit of God, and is at constant war against God. Galatians 5:16-17
Outside of Christ, my flesh continually only wants to please itself; it wants nothing to do with the things of Christ Jesus. Philipians 2:10
Outside of Christ, the sinful desires of my flesh are in a continual battle against my eternal soul. 1 Peter 2:11
Outside of Christ, my own heart is so wicked that I am a complete idiot if I listen to its counsel. Proverbs 28:26
Outside of Christ, the thoughts and ideas that my heart contrives are mutually exclusive of God’s thoughts and ideas. My thoughts are low and dark and wicked, and God’s thoughts are high and perfect and righteous. Isaiah 55:6-9
Outside of Christ, I love myself above all things, and I don’t truly love others. I trust in my own resources, and those of the world around me, rather than on God; I am boastful and proud, arrogant, disobedient and disrespectful. I am ungrateful. I am unholy. I am cold-hearted, argumentative, and would prefer to hold a grudge rather than make peace with others. I am a malicious gossip. I lack self-control. I am brutal and I hate what is good. I am unfaithful, reckless and conceited. I love tending to the comfort and satisfaction of my own flesh rather than submitting to the commands of God and choosing to desire the things that He desires. I am a hypocrite. 2 Timothy 3:2-5
Outside of Christ, in my flesh (when I live according to my human nature, “following my heart,” or so to speak), I am completely unrighteous. I have no understanding. I do not naturally seek God, but rather, turn aside and prove myself to be useless to God and His purposes. I can do nothing good. I am deceitful, and the intents of my heart rise up out of me like a putrid stench. Out of the overflow of my nature, my mouth speaks forth lies, poison, cursing and bitterness. My thoughts are murderous and bring forth destruction and misery. I do not desire the ways of peace, and I boldly rebel against God continually, thinking my ways are out of His sight. Romans 3:10-13
Outside of Christ, even though I know God, I do not honor Him as God nor give to Him the reverent honor for which He is worthy. I am ungrateful for all that He is, and for all that He has provided. The theories I contrive are useless, and my heart is foolish. Because I disregard the counsel of God in my decisions, my heart wanders further from Him and I become increasingly unwise in my judgements. I create for myself a God that is an image that is acceptable to me, that is like me, that approves of the things that I approve, and the more I continue to do so, the more God gives me over to my sinful ideas and desires. If I determine to walk in this path, God will eventually completely release me unto complete wickedness and rebellion, the end thereof is my own destruction, which is the consequence of my sin and what I fully deserve, for it is the path that I myself have chosen. I am filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed and evil. My heart is full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. I am a gossip, a slanderer, a hater of God. I am rude, disrespectful, contemptuous, insulting, arrogant and boastful. I skillfully invent ways to do evil. I am rebellious to those in authority over me. I am without understanding. I am untrustworthy, unloving and unmerciful. Although I know the commands of God, and that those who practice the things that break His commands are worthy of death, I not only do them, but in order to justify my actions, I also tend give hearty approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:21-32
On each and every one of these charges that God makes against me, I stand guilty as charged before the perfect and holy Judge. God Himself has shown me that these things are all true, and that His condemnation of me is just and fair. Therefore, I must cast myself at the foot of the cross of the Lord Jesus and enter my guilty plea, confessing His righteous am in hopeless, desperate need of a perfect Savior if I am ever to be made clean. And glory be to His holy name alone, my Redeemer is faithful. He has paid my ransom, and made me clean before a God whose eyes cannot behold even a whisper of impurity.
What joy and peace and thankfulness there is in knowing that Jesus did not come to save the righteous, but sinners like me. I have been chosen by God Almighty since before the foundation of the earth, to be holy and blameless in His sight… can you imagine?
According to the Scripture…
God the Father gave me to the Son, and called my name.
Jesus Christ, God the Son, took on human flesh, lived a life of perfect obedience to God and His Law, in my place, and then offered Himself as a substitutionary sacrifice to pay the penalty for my sin.
God the Holy Spirit drew me, allowed me to believe and repent, and sealed me until the day of redemption.
I am so unworthy of such a calling, and I live so far beneath the standard to which I have been called. God, forgive me, have mercy upon me and help me, a sinner, to bring glory to your name… and not disgrace.